Down in the valley, I could tell it was the first of September without looking at a calendar; flies would suddenly appear where none had been before. Up here, the pesky things show up in the month of June, and they have arrived. Do they migrate? Do they lie dormant? Flies do not seem to bother goats as they do horses. Horses in the neighborhood all look like they've either gone incognito or have been invited to a Mardi Gras party, sporting masks of various colors to keep flies from clustering at their eyes.
Once again I was hanging turtleneck sweaters on the clothesline while wearing a tank top yesterday. Laundry hung out at three was dry by six, with the temperature still at eighty-four in the shade at sundown. It was fortunate that my recent guests were here during the week or so of spring, because we're dead into summer already. The tall weeds in the extended goat pen and south pasture are browning in just one week.
After the labors of the day before, weeding was the chore of choice yesterday, but it was higgledy-piggledy, here and there, depending on what section was in the shade at any particular time. Too early in the morning and the dratted, blood-thirsty mosquitoes that hide in tall grass come out. Working in fits and starts, I did get the front rock garden exposed by the driveway and down in front of the junipers by the kitchen. I had a sister-in-law who wore a lab coat at work and so would iron just half of her blouse. Like her, the yard looks pretty good from the front.
I made a tactical error at dusk by allowing Bessie Anne, chicken herder extraordinaire, to accompany me to the pens. Thinking I would leave the Silkies til last so they'd be more amenable to bedtime, I started with the pullets. The little kids were clustered quietly by the dog crate, and some had even gone in on their own. This was going to be a piece of cake. Not. "I've got this, Mom!" Bessie darted and raced at the pen and the chicks scattered and squawked, flying every which way. I'd not locked the chain-link gate behind me, thinking that certainly the chicks weren't going to storm out on their own. Wrong. In their panic, the chicks dog-piled in the corner and three were pushed outside. Then I panicked as Bess dashed to pin down the escapees. I was able to grab her collar first and throw her into the cab of the truck and turned to try to find three little chickens in the high grass behind the pen. Fortunately, they were hunkered down in a clump not far away, and I could capture one and herd the others (without the help of my dog) back to safety. Gratefully, the Silkies, hens, goats and sheep all went in without incident. Trial and error...live and learn. Bessie will watch from the sidelines tonight.
Frank stayed out last night to hunt by the light of the full moon. It was one of those double-take moments when I turned out the light in the bedroom...the room was nearly as bright after I flipped the switch as before. Didn't keep me awake.