Friday, 15 March 2013

Then came the winged plague...

Now that the weather is more clement, not only the plants appreciate it, but all the assorted animals. Birds are busy everywhere, feasting on seeds, caterpillars and blossoms. The dogs are running around crazily, chasing each other with mouths laughing and tails their pennants. 

The animals we don't appreciate, though, are the arthropod kind. Apart from some lovely late butterflies, most of the insects are the biting, stinging varieties. A lady I was talking to from Kalbar, down the mountain, says she is besieged by small black flies with green eyes and the fiercest bite she has ever met. Here I dodge mosquitoes, the huge March flies that wield a blunt syringe to make really good punctures on your back, and a modest fly similar in appearance to a housefly but with a rapacious appetite for blood.
The March fly comes in two colour combinations, the above being the green-eyed monster version...

On the News last night came warnings about plague  mosquito numbers and the large number of Ross River Fever cases in Queensland this year. It is hard to eliminate the pests, given that water is everywhere after all the rain we've had, so it's a matter of putting strong insect repellent on and constantly being vigilant.

This is just when the garden would be fun to be in, darn it! The dogs largely ignore the pests, but the goats are distinctly cranky, Parsley butting the others as if he blames them for the bites. Hopefully the willie wagtails will come to the party and eat themselves fat on the insects. At night, when I walk the dogs, insects zoom at the torch and are a real pain, swarming round my face. You certainly learn why farmers are known for keeping their mouths tight shut when outside - moths have a suicidal need to jam your throat with their irritating bodies and fluttering wings.

Changing the subject... today I found a prickly cucumber on the end of a withered piece of vine. I think it's edible, so that is the first actual fruit achieved from plantings of cucumbers, melons, pumpkins... However, despite the pumpkin vine having given up after the mower man ran over it's main stem last week, I think I shall shortly be able to harvest the four pumpkins that I fertilised. Hope springs eternal!

Now it's time once more to let my (cranky) goats in for their evening hay.

Take care, stay safe.

Cheers - Fliss

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