Thursday, August 29, 2013

It bugs me

When my wife and I purchased our current house, we traded a somewhat rural environment for a more urban one.  That is to say, our old house was in a development about five miles from Lexington, and we now live within the city of Lexington itself.

We wanted to live in the city, as that put us both closer to our jobs and a lot of other things we needed or wanted to have nearby, like shopping, dining, etc.  We also bought a newer house, which we felt would give us some advantages in the way of maintenance upkeep costs.  And we were also glad to be connected to a central sanitary sewer system, instead of the septic tank and field drain bed setup we had at our previous home.

But one thing we did NOT count on was insects.  Bugs.  And I don’t mean your garden variety flies or mosquitoes or even bees and wasps.  No, I’m talking about all kinds of critters that we had never seen in our years in the country, near a farm.  These creatures must surely originate in the sewer system and use our drains to enter the house, as we almost always see them in the bathrooms.

We see such exotic varieties as craneflies, harvestmen, centipedes, beetles, moths and a host of others for which I don’t know the names.  And I stand by my assertion that they enter via the sewers, as I routinely spray the perimeter of the house each spring and fall to ward off ants and other traditional pests.

I suppose we’re used to it now, just reach down and grab the offending parties and return them to the drain with a little water behind them for incentive to move on.  Just so surprising that we would have MORE pests in an urban setting than we did living adjacent to unused farm land for many years.  Back in those days, if one of us referred to a “pest,” we were most likely talking about a gopher or mole, not a bug or something akin.  To be fair, those required some effort to eradicate, too, but they were much less frequent than the centipedes (I think the correct name for what we see is “house centipede”) or other creepy-crawlies that visit us now.

I think I’ve mentioned in this space that my wife became fond of feeding the local birds soon after we moved in, and we have continued this practice for about fifteen years.  Among these birds were and are cardinals, bluejays, robins and finches, as well as the generic black birds that come in bunches and generally make a mess of the yard.  The list of animals receiving food expanded to also include the local squirrels and chipmunks, although recently we stopped buying separate products for them to eat.  About the only thing that keeps the birds away (the squirrels do not) is a hawk that visits our yard periodically.  My wife will often comment that the hawk must be nearby, since the birds aren’t coming around. 

Just yesterday she tapped me on the shoulder and told me to quietly look outside, and, sure enough, there was a young hawk perched on our fence.  He was watching our yard VERY intently.  Back when we used to have a cat and would allow him to rove around the backyard, my wife worried that a hawk (most likely an older, bigger model than the young one who just appeared) would grab our cat and carry him off for dinner! Fortunately, that never happened, but we still talk about it.

So if you receive an invitation to visit, please don’t assume that you’ll need a beekeeper’s suit or a falconer’s glove. 

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