The chickens, geese, and guineas love their new quarters. They go up as soon as it gets dark, find their favorite roosting spot, and tuck in for the night. Then everyone barrels out when I open the door at first light, and spends the afternoon chasing bugs, exploring interesting bits of grass, and running around on urgent errands. And while all this is going on… horseflies are invading the coop.
They must have just discovered it, because I check on the coop a lot. Two days ago, it was particularly hot, so I went to top off the waterers – and was perplexed to hear a strange low buzzing noise. Not being one to get distracted easily, or for that matter to notice that the screen hung over the doorway appeared to be moving, I pushed my way through it… and entered the 7th ring of hell. So. Much. Buzzing. Then I looked back over my shoulder and realized I walked through a literal curtain of flies, and that I would have to do it again to get out. I can’t even. It was beyond.
Good thing I always wear my hoody, even when it’s almost 90. Yes, the bugs are that bad, and yes, purchasing a summer weight hoody is on my to-do list. I took a deep breath, gathered the hood shut around my face, and ran out. When dousing the entire inside of the coop with non-toxic fly spray only succeeded in creating clouds of drunkenly wafting flies, I told Gene he needed to break out the big gun – AKA our industrial sized shop vac.
Lord of the Flies, indeed. Between the two of us, we sucked up hundreds. Possibly thousands. Enough that the shop vac is never allowed back in the house, and I’m definitely not going to be the one that empties it. I may just buy a new one. It was that many flies. I’m surprised the shop vac isn’t angrily buzzing, to be honest. We had to repeat the process again tonight, but there were way less of them. I’m putting a mark in the “W” column for Battle Horsefly.
Besides – we’ve got another, bigger, shaggier problem on our hands. In the form of a bear. Last night Gene heard the goats screeching, which isn’t unusual, being that they’re goats, but they usually don’t sound off at 3 am.
He thought maybe a coyote had gotten into the pen, so he grabbed a gun and went to check it out. As he was walking back toward the house, our motion light went on and illuminated the back deck. And the bear that was lumbering around on it.
Now don’t get be me wrong, I’m not a bear hater. But A) it was like 350 pounds B) it was less than 10 feet from where I was sleeping on the other side of a sliding glass door and C) does anyone ever really want to realize they just walked past a bear, in the dark, and didn’t know it? Since he couldn’t shoot it (know your backdrop, first rule of range safety, especially when it’s your lovely sleeping wife), he shot into the ground and scared it back into the woods.
This morning I realized the bear had emptied all the hummingbird feeders it could reach, destroyed my finch feeder, ate all the sunflower seeds, and bent all the petals on the beautiful flower feeder Bess Bess bought me for my birthday.
I was especially vexed about that, I mean even a bear should be able to figure out how to open the little flap that allows access to the seeds. He didn’t need to stomp Tokyo. Churlish and rude. At least I was able to mostly fix my flower feeder.
But bears aren’t the only forces of destruction around here. The squirrels managed to chew off the entire window of my other favorite feeder, the one that hangs by the living room window and gives Chupi a reason to bark all day. They also dragged it off, so somewhere out there is a squirrel nest with a plastic window that lets plenty of light into the nest. But since I couldn’t fill it with seeds any more, I asked Gene to fix it – which he did, with his usual trademark sense of humor. Too bad the squirrels can’t read…
And don’t even get me started on the geese and their ability to absolutely wreck a pool. Despite it being 85 today (probably 112, if you factor in the hoody), I spent 10 minutes bailing out the water with a bucket, then refilling it with clear, tasty water. They hopped right in… and within 5 minutes, no exaggeration, it was back to looking like a brackish swamp. Let’s just say geese must have an impressively efficient digestive system, because dang.