It is so quiet this morning I can hear the ticking of my kitchen clock – when I woke up in the wee hours the rain was drumming against the eaves.
Now I see blue sky out the windows, but I guess I’ll wait for the sun to get out from behind my neighbors’ trees before I make any predictions.
Today I’m on mosquito patrol. My husband climbed up on our various roofs on Friday to blow out the gutters. It only takes one leaf to block the gutter and create a fantastic breeding pond for the bloodsuckers. My husband has done this regularly, so it’s a quick morning’s work. This will probably be the last time he has to climb on the roofs, as our trees are bare of all their old leaves. He sure timed it right – as soon as he climbed down from the last section of gutter the rain drops started falling.
But there are still areas of interest around the yard. The other day when I went to get a shovel out of the shed, I noticed a small cloud of skeeters hanging around the dog’s pool – tipped up on it’s side against the shed, it had fallen back just enough to allow about a quart of water to collect in the rim, and the baby-mama’s were crowding around. I didn’t see any wigglers when I dumped it out, but I smelled that “pond scum” smell that says the water is just right for laying eggs. I tipped it back against the shed and laid our heavy iron digging bar against it so it would not tip back again.
I even dumped the water out of the over-turned plastic planter buckets standing next to the shed, they hold enough water in that tiny rim to breed at least a couple dozen bugs.
Today I have to dump out all my plastic sheets I’ve been using to kill my lawn, move them around, make sure there is no water trapped. They have gotten all blown around by the last few storms, some whole sections have become tangled and twisted, and I know there’s water in there. Wow – water trapped in black plastic in the sun, that will bring the baby-mamas singin’ in!
Our local weatherman Anthony Watts reminded me that mosquitoes live and breed in old, soggy leaf piles. I find he’s so right – just disturb one, and they will attack. So, this time of year, I turn my mulch piles with a rake or a pitchfork, neaten them up, get them drying out faster – this will also speed their transformation into compost.
I don’t like using chemicals to deter mosquitoes for a few reasons – for one thing, it’s easy enough to clean up your yard. Chemicals that kill mosquitoes will kill anything else in the proper quantities, you never know how that stuff might build up in your bloodstream, and your pets are more sensitive. They’re not cheap either – not as cheap as a 15 minute inspection of your yard.
Finally, try to remember, God made mosquitoes. Yeah, no kidding, I’m going religious on you. Actually, I attend the Church of Mother Earth, but I hear she’s in good with The Big Man.
Mosquitoes are part of the chain of life. Eat, AND be eaten, I always say. If you have ever been fishing, I can stop here. But if you are the indoor type, just bear with me. Mosquitoes are eaten in huge quantities by animals that do other things for us, or are eaten by bigger animals.
I want to keep mosquitoes from swarming my yard, I don’t want any in my house, really, but I’m not on a mission to wipe them from the face of the Earth.
So, I act early, and I act often, to inspect my yard and my house. If you pay attention now, Summer will be alot more comfortable.