Friday, 13 June 2014

There Will Be Flies

"Do what you can, summer will have its flies."

                                Ralph Waldo Emerson

I was a little surprised to think the esteemed scholar concerned himself with flies.  Some people are  thought of differently; I picture him sitting in a leather wing-back chair, sipping cognac and wearing tweed waiting for the next great thought to drop into his brain.  Swatting flies and whining about them is not how I  picture him, even if this thought of  his is so prettily expressed.
Yes, we are thigh-deep in flies right now.  You name them and we have them.  Hubby is supposing their increased numbers have to do with the long wet spring and he is claiming, in true farmer style, that it is the worst he has ever seen them.  I, with my womens' memory powers, know he said the exact same thing last year.
 The mosquitoes are the worse for they have the ability to bite with or without accompanying sound effects.  You don't want them in the bedroom at night for that is when their minuscule noise gets amplified somehow and you find yourself balancing precariously in places trying to swat the offender.  At home we appropriately call them 'nippers', but there they seem to have a season, a few weeks and then mostly disappear.  Here, with a swampy area to the right and a creek to the left of us, their season is basically all of summer.
Not long after the mosquitoes first appear come the deer fly.  They are not as plentiful as nippers, but their bite can cause more problems.  One summer, I was sporting a large bump on one cheek (think Angelina Jolie's cheek bone in Maleficent) thanks to a deer fly bite.  Luckily I didn't feel ill or have an adverse reaction, but the bump lingered and I worried it would spoil my natural beauty, ha, ha.  Again, at home, we have another name for them...stouts.  Apparently you would have to live in Iceland to entirely avoid these critters.
In between, there are the black flies which are small and menacing in their own way.  They bite people too.  There are warnings in the paper and on signs around about ticks.  I always wear slacks and my high rubber boots when I walk our trail to protect from a tick latching on.  We check the dogs' ears daily and usually find a couple during the season.
I am loathe to wear bug repellent with deet but sadly, that is the only thing around we have found that truly works.  I have doused myself in vanilla, lavender essence, lemon juice, worn Bounce dryer sheets, anything of a more natural nature that claims to ward off the flies, but none of these things work well.  I will say these things repel the odd fly but not enough for the kind of swarms I'm talking about that I encounter on my walks in the woods. 
I've never thought of having one of those special hats with the netting attached...but this just might be the year of the bee-keeper hat fashion for me.