Let’s state the obvious … it’s been a hotter than average summer. And drier. At the barn this means a smaller hay crop (boo!) and a larger crop of flies (double boo!)
Horse flies, barn flies, deer flies, mosquitoes, wasps … you get the picture … thrive in the uncomfortable conditions we’re experiencing. Horses and humans alike must endeavour to survive them.
The manager at the barn where Bear is a long-term resident has a pest control regimen, every day spraying a safe insecticide over mounds of horse manure (where the blighters like to breed). This is in an effort to put a crimp in their reproductive cycle. And it reduces the population somewhat, but not enough to knock them out completely. This leaves me wondering what it would be like if he didn’t spray at all!
Perish the thought!
One day a couple of weeks ago, as I was hand grazing Bear after bathing him, a massive horse fly the size of a silver dollar landed on the top of his rump. Bear could feel that sucker but no amount of tail swishing or foot stomping could dislodge the winged fiend. He became very agitated so it became my task to rescue him without, I might add, giving him anything else to be upset about.
It took a couple of strategically-placed swats, but I finally got the rascal and Bear, feeling greatly relieved, went back to grazing.
Occasionally the airborne blighters turn their radar on me. When pillaging horseflesh just isn’t enough they’ll sink their proverbial teeth into some soft part of my person and remove a nice bite-size chunk or syphon a ration of blood. Somehow they know I have no defences. Perhaps it’s payback for my shooing them away from Bear all the time. Somehow I wouldn’t put it past them.
But really, the defence against flies is limited at best.
There’s the aforementioned spray of the manure piles to curtail reproduction. A daily spray of citronella fly repellant all over Bear’s body can help to keep the pests at bay, and a fly mask keeps them out of his eyes. He usually doubles his defence with a generous roll in the dirt pile out in the paddock. Truthfully, his way is probably the most effective … and least expensive … but as his de facto mother I feel compelled to try at least to rescue him from the voracious fly population.
So, oh Lord, the flies, is right … and it doesn’t end until the wasps are finally dormant come the fall.
Oh well …
On a brighter note you may recall that about 10 weeks ago I had to have my other old cat, Princess, euthanized because of kidney disease. It was a sad time, to be sure. That, along with a family member’s attempted suicide, sent me reeling for a while, which is the reason for my limited creativity and extended break from blogging.
Well, a few days after returning from Calgary in early June I adopted two seven-week-old kittens, boys, who, along with their two sisters, had been abandoned in a card board box (why do people do this?) on the side of a major road not far from where I live. They’d been rescued by woman from a nearby barn and I found out about the kittens through my veterinarian’s office.
Their names are Jasper (Jj) and Indiana Jones (Indy) and already they’ve brought so much joy into my life. A lovely animated distraction during a difficult time, they’ve really settled right in and become part of the family. They adore the collies and greet us at the door just as if they themselves were dogs. They’re so funny.
They are one little part of a welcome silver lining and I feel incredibly blessed.
Thanks for visiting.
Nurture what you love …
Copyright Aimwell Enterprises, 2012