Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Under attack

We are at war. Nature, which we thought to be our friend, is assaulting us daily.

Mosquitoes are everywhere and I bear several large, extremely itchy bites to prove it. Flies too, hover in the kitchen, forcing us to keep our fruit bowl in the fridge. More to the point, forcing TLOML to leap about like a lunatic brandishing his electric bug-killing tennis racquet. Which in this heat (we are also under attack from the hot hot sun) is ill advised.

Worse, I think, than the flying bugs, are the horrid, stripey, creeping, munching bugs. The ones who took down my entire tomato crop and all the collard greens too. We returned from our month away to this depressing sight:
A Biblical plague of beetles...

..decimating the crops of which I was so proud
Elsewhere, though, there is abundance. The grapes are going nutso. So, sadly, are the raccoons. There again, we are under attack. They wake us at night as they scurry about the arbor snaffling our grapes. And they are totally undeterred by a loud 'pssssst'. Last night one of them pretty much flipped me the bird. To be frank, I'm a bit afraid of them. They're as big as foxes, bold as brass, and they can climb, too. Yikes!

Every morning the table is covered in the raccoon rejects, which ushers in another wave of attack: wasps hovering about getting drunk on grape juice.
Our previously pristine tables, after a night of raccoon partying

I shouldn't really complain about the raccoons and the wasps, as there really are plenty of grapes to go around. I snipped a few random ends of grapes just to tidy it up a bit and harvested 5lbs in about 5 minutes.
Thick clusters of grapes everywhere you look (and the arbor is about 15ft long)

The solution

So we're fighting back. Our defences are  up. The Executioner bug zapper is still wielded daily, and we've put up flytape too. Citronella in each room gives the mosquitoes a firm 'not here, not now' message. And we spray ourselves liberally with Off! every evening.
For every flat surface, a citronella tealight
As for the garden, well, I'm afraid we went nuclear. We paid a local gardener to spray an undisclosed volume of chemicals we'd rather not know about all over the infested crops. He's coming back to remove them and again, we're asking no questions about his methods.

Honestly, I'm not afraid of some hard labour in the garden, or a few beetles, but there are so many it gives me the heebie jeebies. Once they are gone - and with the help of some earplugs so I can ignore the raccoons - I may sleep peacefully again.

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