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We always know it’s time to set the live trap when the cat food in the barn starts disappearing too quickly. Usually, it’s a raccoon, but this week Bruce caught a skunk which was rather upset at being in jail and fully expressed displeasure. The dogs have learned to leave them alone, but this time there was so much perfume on the ground that whoever stepped in it carried a reminder. One of our dogs got a bath, and Bruce’s shoes had to live on the deck for a while.

Other wildlife has moved in, as well. I have a hard time convincing the dogs not to chase deer that hang around the yard, but they are at least learning to deal with garter snakes. 

A box turtle kept coming back for several days. Daisy was so curious she kept carrying him off and then dropping him on his back.  I finally got him put away where she couldn’t find him, poor thing. I suppose an encounter with a big snapper would teach Daisy a lesson, but there haven’t been any up close since we got her.

Dragonflies are early this year, apparently. The yard has been full of the small blue ones, which are my favorites, but they have largely disappeared since the miller moths moved in. This is apparently one of the years when millers had a good hatch, and we are inundated. The neighbors to our north say they have only a few, and I don’t know whether to hope ours move on or be thankful for their good fortune. There’s no use washing windows until the influx dies off. I go around picking up sleepy millers all day long, and they are surprisingly hard to squash. We prefer the house dark for sleeping, but have had to set a miller trap every night lately.

Miller traps, for the uneducated, are simple to build. Just take a pan of hot sudsy water and place it beneath a bright light, turn off all other lights, and go to bed. Do this nightly until such time as the water in the morning contains only a half dozen or so drowned bugs. One comfort is that most years, the influx is about over by the Fourth of July.

So far, I’ve only seen a handful of grasshoppers. I’m knocking on wood, because if there’s a summer plague worse than millers, it’s grasshoppers. Millers are just messy, but grasshoppers are destructive.

Mosquitoes haven’t been much of a problem because we have lots of barn swallows. Of course, they like to nest under the eaves so the windows and porches are well decorated. Maybe I’ll just skip window washing until fall, but that always becomes a battle when wasps swarm.

You’d never know how blessed I feel to be able to live in the country, would you? I do feel sorry for town dwellers, with no wildlife to complain about. Oh, I forgot. You have loud motorcycles, and cars with rap music on their stereos, and firecrackers starting in a couple of weeks.

I’ll shut up now. At least the millers are quiet.

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