Monday, 10 June 2019

Smoke 'Em If You Got 'Em

-- mosquitoes, that is. These days the little buggers here are unbearable without a good repellent. But my choice of mosquito discouragement does not come from a pharmacy. It resides among my beekeeping equipment. The smoker works just dandy for chasing away biting insects. Back in the good old days, when we harvested firewood from our woodlot, dad always started a small fire to 'smudge away the mosquitoes'. Worked beautifully! When the chainsaw was started, it seemed to produce just enough smoke to keep the operator protected as well. I like to pass my hat and gloves through the smoke. The fuel I burn is wood shavings (the same bedding preferred by pampered ponies) and I must say it is not unpleasant. Fondly reminds me of campfires and fishing trips.

My trusty old smoker reliably deters mosquito attacks.

The 'off switch' is simply a few blades of grass stuffed into the spout.

For shorter term weeding/watering chores, the veil is the thing.

My jam feeder continues to be a hit with the sweet-toothed set. If I don't refill it quickly enough, a female Baltimore Oriole peers into my kitchen window as if to say, "Hey, where is my waitress?"

The alarm calls of this Gray Catbird sound much like a distressed young kitten.

Honey bees hover as a Baltimore Oriole takes a hearty helping of jam.

The abdomen of this honey bee is looking stretched pretty full.

Barn swallows were declined in recent years but I'm happy to see that last year and this year they are again constructing their mud nests. There is a pair nesting in the barn and a pair starting a nest on a rafter of my garage. They add mud and then let it dry for a bit before adding another layer. When they take little breaks from nesting and hunting mosquitoes (yay-y-y for Barn Swallows) they like to perch on my clothesline and burble sweet conversations with each other. In flight, they are acrobatic marvels! I absolutely love them!

A Barn Swallow's nest under construction in my garage.

Perched on my clothesline, a Barn Swallow burbles a message to it's mate.

Please, pretty please Ellie May, do not harm my bird friends!