Pine cone surprise

Christmas, in Louisiana, is generally a hot, humid celebration. We don’t don Christmas sweaters or fuzzy boots or scarves – unless you want to sweat to death. Granted, this doesn’t happen every year, and every now and then the temperature will dip to the high 30s – but in my 30+ years of life, I have never experienced a Louisiana white Christmas.

But we still participate in Christmas activities – looking at Christmas lights, drinking hot chocolate, making snowflakes out of coffee filters (since we don’t have real snow). Last year, I thought it would be fun to make pine cone birdseed ornaments. We live on the edge of the woods, and we frequently have an assortment of animals besides birds and squirrels – deer, raccoons, possums (which is how I spell and pronounce “opossum”). In fact, just a couple of weeks ago, I had a raccoon hanging from my door – no joke. And the wildlife has never bothered me; I enjoy seeing the little animals outside, as do my kiddos.

So, anyway – these pine cone feeders. By the grace of God, the person who built our house also determined that pine trees are evil and removed every single one of them off of our four-acre property.  I literally live in the “Piney Hills,” and I have no pine trees. So to acquire pine cones, the girls and I headed to Tech, where I teach, to collect pine cones.

We grabbed about 12 and placed them in paper bags in the back of the car. We drove home and went outside to work on our sweet feeders. I grabbed the birdseed and peanut butter and placed it on our outdoor table with the kids, then I grabbed the pine cones. I handed one to The Engineer and one to The Artist. The kids giggled and had peanut butter and birdseed everywhere. It was a hot mess, but it was sweet and precious.

They finished their first pine cone ornament feeder, and I tied a red string around it to hang outside. I was thinking how picturesque the day was — nice temps in the upper 60s, my girls placing peanut butter to help feed the animals this winter. The kids did a few more pine cones and then we got to the last one. I took it out of the paper bag.

There was a wasp in it.


It was dadgum middle of December, and there was a LIVE WASP HIDING IN ONE OF OUR PINE CONES. I mean, WHAT THE HECK???? Those things are supposed to be dead or hiding (okay, maybe it was hiding, but I digress) in the winter. And I had brought that wasp home with me IN MY CAR.

I fight wasps all summer in our backyard – and often in our house. They’re everywhere. They should be our state bird because THEY ARE EVERYWHERE. But I do not expect to see them in the winter. It’s like mosquitoes (which are our state bird). If we have to deal with a snowless winter, we shouldn’t have to see mosquitoes – or wasps.

But that day last December, we did.

Suffice to say, we did not do any more pine cone feeders.

Also, truth be told, I may not let them create the feeders this year, either. I’m not all for holding wasps in my hand like that. Granted, maybe that was a fluke experience, but I’d rather not repeat the experience.

We’ll just stick to our snowflake coffee filters this year.



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