Mother Nature must have heard my sad lament in this morning's post regarding our lack of warm weather in these here parts.
Our high temp today (are you ready for this?) hit 76° . . . IN THE SHADE. It must have been at least 80° in the garden. At least.
Unfortunately, the heat and humidity caused an explosion of our first hatch of the dreaded black flies. We knew it had to happen and we've been almost giddily (did I just make up that word?) enjoying our bug-free time so far this year.
In a normal year, the pesky black flies first make an appearance around the middle of May. They bite with a sting that causes one to smack one's self on one's body where contact is being made so hard it about knocks one off one's feet. (No foolin'. Their bite is that hurtful.) So we've gone a whole month longer into the season this year without having to do battle with the black flies. Until . . . dum-da-dum-dum . . . today.
They appeared in swarms. Squadrons. Battalions.
I started work in the garden wearing an old light, white shirt which was soon nearly covered with their hateful little black bodies. Since most biting insects are attracted to light colored clothing, I changed into a dark, long-sleeved shirt buttoned all the way up to my neck. This apparently was the signal for those darn buggers to attack my head. In the ears, up the nose, in the eyes. Yeeeow. I couldn't stand it so gave up and put on a hat and head net.
Too bad I didn't let Papa Pea take a close-up shot. I was indeed the fetching figure swathed in long pants (sweating), the long-sleeved, dark shirt tightly buttoned with collar up (sweating), a baseball cap and head net (sweating), and gloves (sweating) as any exposed skin was fair game for the blood-thirsty varmints.
Papa Pea was mowing the poultry pasture and I was using the gathered grass clippings to mulch under the fruit trees. 'Twould have been nice for both of us to throw in the towel and work inside today but the pasture had grown to such a height that our birds were getting lost in it. So we both toughed it out to finish the job while trying to ignore (ha!) the black flies and just about literally being able to watch the plants in the garden grow. "Warmth! Sunshine!" they shouted. We could almost hear them jubilantly reveling in the good growing weather.
Could all this possibly mean summer time has finally arrived in the north woods?
Garden Bounty ~ King
3 hours ago