I was cheerfully cleaning off a big ledge which has wonderful, natural steps against the back side that leads off into the woods behind a barn. It had been a few years and they needed to be cleaned out again. Trees ARE a renewable resource!
All of a sudden I realized I'd been stung and then again. I threw the rake down and ran like a mad woman far away, turned around to see if they'd followed me and, realizing that I still can run really fast, found I was safe. And then one more sting right between my fingers! But not to be daunted, I slowly crept back to the scene and lo and behold there was a lovely paper nest full of mad hornets right at the bottom step of the ledge. Daringly (or is it stupidly?), I stepped close enough to grab the tip of the rake and went off to lick my wounds.
This is a dark picture but the nest is visible (now!) just to the right of the green branch, a whitish area, some of those are the hornets!
Looking back I realized I'd been extremely fortunate as they could have really done me in...up my pant legs, down my shirt. Usually it's Jack that finds the nests and many a time I've seen him doing the high step out of the woods or a field. And I always get such a kick out of watching him escape. When he heard the story he was sorry he hadn't been able to return the laughter as I fled down the lane!