Enjoying life's adventures in a secluded mountain cabin

Posts tagged ‘bugs’

The Sound of Silence

Fall is imminent up here at the cabin.  The days are getting shorter, the air is crisp and cool instead of sticky and hot, and the bugs have fell silent.  The God-awful dreaded bugs of summer.  They’re dwindling away and the nights have become silent again.  Walking outside a month ago was, at times, a shock to the ears with all the katydids singing their majestic songs of summer.  I happen to love that sound, while some others in my house loathe it.  Hearing those little green bugs makes me happy and lulls me to sleep in the summer.   It’s one of my favorite things about the hot months of the year.

But, alas, I’ve noticed for the past few evenings that the katydids have quieted down.  There are no more glorious songs coming from the trees around the cabin.  There’s still the occasional cricket and maybe a frog or two off in the distance, but for the most part, it’s become very silent up here on the mountain.

Don’t get me wrong.  Silence is good, too.  Silence means that pretty soon the leaves will begin their metamorphosis into a brilliantly, magnificent, colorful work of art that surrounds and envelopes the cabin on all four sides.  The heavens will keep getting clearer and clearer with every passing day.  They’ll be filled with those wonderfully white clouds that pop against the background of the vivid blue sky.  The flowers of fall will be glorious in their rich colors.  Afternoons will be spent gathering the last of the summer’s bounty from the garden in preparation for the long winter ahead.  And it’ll be time, once again, for comfy, cozy, warm jammies and socks, curled up with blankets and loved ones in front of the fireplace.

Yes, the sound of silence is a good thing.

Carrying On An Old Family Tradition

I grew up not too far from where we live now.  In the next county over, as a matter of fact.  And like most people ’round here, my grandparents were close by.  They didn’t live next door like a lot of my friend’s grandparents did, but they were only a short drive away and we were there most every single day of my life for as long as I can remember.  Most of my childhood memories involve Granny and Paw in some form or fashion and I wouldn’t have it any other way.

One of those memories that’s been replaying in my head over the past couple of months involves helping Paw in the garden and then, later on in the summer, sitting on the porch with Granny and my Mama, either breaking or shelling beans to be canned.  Even though I absolutely loathed this task as a child, I sure do miss those hot afternoons spent listening to Granny and Mama gossiping back and forth while we all messed with those beans ’till our fingers were raw and in bandages.

As a young child, I never really understood the value in all that painstaking, backbreaking work in the garden and then later in the sweltering hot kitchen.  I didn’t understand why on earth they didn’t just buy their food at the grocery store like “normal” people.  Didn’t they have anything better to do than work their fingers to the bone?  Literally, to the bone at times, I might add!  Weren’t they absolutely exhausted after working 8 hours on their jobs?  Didn’t they just wanna come home, relax and unwind, like “normal” people?  Wouldn’t they rather spend their weekends doing anything other than planting, weeding, watering, weeding, feeding, weeding, harvesting, breaking, shelling, shucking, peeling, cooking, canning, and freezing?

Whew…  Just typing that was exhausting!

Now… Fast forward about 25 years or so, and here I am, living a very similar kind of life.  On a much smaller scale, of course.  We don’t have the space for a huge garden like Granny and Paw had.  Our garden may not be huge, but it keeps us busy enough, that’s for sure.  Living on the side of a mountain, we didn’t exactly have the luxury of just plowing up a little plot to make us a garden.  Mountain Man and I literally built our garden!  We have a raised bed garden that required dirt to be moved from one area to fill it in.  And let me just tell ya, that was no easy task.

Then of course came the task of sectioning off different areas for different things, the planting, the watering, the weeding, the feeding, more weeding, more watering, and so on, and so forth.  You get the picture.  But, you know what?  I’ve gotten more enjoyment and fulfillment out of this garden than I ever thought possible.  Mountain Man and I walk out there every afternoon to tend to our creation and take care of any weeds or bugs that might be threatening our harvest.  We fight off the little flying winged devils that threaten to carry us off every time we set foot outside and we withstand this scorching heat that’s taken over here in the mountains.  And we love every minute of it.

We’ve now started to see some of the fruits of our labor and with each delectable bite, I’m starting to see why Granny and Paw always insisted on growing their own vegetables instead of just settling for whatever the grocery stores might be offering.  And what good would a garden be for people like Mountain Man and myself if we weren’t going to try to preserve some of this wonderful goodness to enjoy when Old Man Winter decides to show up?

So, along with the gardening, we’ve also ventured down the path of canning and preserving our harvest.  Neither one of us has ever canned anything before, even though my childhood is rich with memories of this process and his parents can food every year.  As you can imagine, this has been an interesting endeavor to say the least.  We’ve studied up on the subject, perused the internet, bought a book, bought all the necessary equipment, bought, picked and harvested all the necessary ingredients needed, and set out on our task.

We both made phone calls to our families for extra tips and helpful hints.  I called Granny, of course, and he called his Mom and Dad.  And you know, with a little help from them, a few recipes, a little luck, and a wink and a nod from the canning gods, we managed to make it through our first canning session and we have many more planned for the very near future.

This latest adventure has given me a whole new appreciation for my grandparents and all the hard work they put into making sure we all had food for the winter.  Even though we never really would’ve gone hungry since we only lived about 15 minutes from the nearest grocery store!   All that hard work paid off when the first chill of fall set in and then later, with the biting cold of winter knocking on our door.  Eating those beans, tomatoes, pickles, corn, soups, sauces, jams and jellies that Granny had canned and we had helped her to prepare not only nourished our bodies, but they fed our souls as well.  Honestly, nothing you can buy in the grocery store will ever taste as good and be as soul satisfying as something you’ve poured your heart into.   And to think, it only took me a couple of decades for this little epiphany to occur and settle into my existence!

Up next:  Adventures In Canning!!!

He Was a Big ‘Un!!!

I’m convinced that the government is conducting some sort of strange experiment involving those pesky little winged spawns of which I’ve written about in the past.  I know that we’ve never had this many flying insects in these mountains before in all my years of living here.  At first, I thought I was just imagining all the extra activity going on outside that required either, a) hunkering down inside and hiding from all the little winged spawns, or, b) spraying a shiny, thick, stinky layer insect repellent on all exposed, and some not so exposed, areas.  But, after much deliberation and thought on the matter, I’m going with the government experiment theory.

My son and I were driving home last night just after dark and I personally think we both witnessed history.  Something neither one of us has ever before seen.  And I don’t think either of us will ever be the same again.

First of all, we had to drive around, and through, one of the worst thunderstorms I think I’ve ever encountered in my life.  We were a long way from the sanctuary of our little cabin here on the mountain and were in the somewhat flat lands of a nearby county, and let me tell ya, when they get a storm warning down there, it’s not to be taken lightly.  It was absolutely amazing!  We could see the lightning shooting out of the black thunderheads out of the side windows of my little car as we were driving along and we were racing to get ahead of the storm.  The sky started turning that eerie green color that only happens when the conditions are just right for a tornado and my son is sitting next to me, visibly shaken and telling me to drive faster.  I don’t think he’s ever actually seen weather like this in real life and he was more than a little freaked out by the whole thing.

I wasn’t tore up too awful bad ’cause I’ve seen some pretty nasty storms in my day.  Wow, “in my day”.  How old does that make me sound!!!  Nevertheless, I was starting to get a little worried when the trees lining the highway started swaying unnaturally and bowing way too close to the ground.  So, onward we traveled in the blinding rain, with the radio blaring my newly acquired 80’s playlist and my poor son in the passenger seat trying to act cool.  Bless his little heart.  I hate I didn’t have my camera with me to capture all of this, but I’m sure he’s glad I didn’t.

The storm had let up when we finally got closer to home and turned down a familiar country road that I’ve driven both in the daytime and at night quite a bit and that’s when we were completely blown away again.  Now everyone who’s ever driven a back country road after dark in the summer can attest to the sheer volume of bugs that lose their lives by splattering into the front of your vehicle and especially your windshield.  And I personally think the really big ones know exactly when you’re just about out of washer fluid and they aim right smack in the middle of your line of sight on the windshield.  But honest to goodness, last night was a sight to behold.

And keep in mind folks, I worked 3rd shift for 4 years and had to drive at night in all sorts of conditions, but this beat anything I’ve ever seen.  The bugs were so thick at certain points in our journey home that it looked like it was snowing!  My son commented that it looked like we were driving through space!  It’s a good thing he recently filled my washer fluid in the car, ’cause I couldn’t go more than a few hundred feet without having to clean off the windshield!  It was absolutely awful.  I swear I think I heard some of ’em go splat as they hit!  I almost felt as though my son and I should have a moment of silence when we finally made it home to acknowledge all the tiny corpses on the car.

Whatever the reason for all these winged demons out there this year, I certainly hope that this is a one time occurrence and that next year, things will go back to normal.  Perhaps I should just get out on that country road every night and tackle the problem head on.  Nah, gas is too high for that kind of approach.

*Just to show you one of the more intriguing winged specimens, I’m sharing this pic with you that I took late last night.  Mountain Man called me downstairs to show me this beauty and we were both just mystified by how stinkin’ big this thing is.  He didn’t have antennae of his head, he had freakin’ feathers!  Honest to goodness feather looking things were sticking out of this thing’s head just above his beady little eyes!  And not only was he big, he was kinda dumb, too.  Bless his heart.  We tapped the glass and Mountain Man even touched it with the door and the poor thing stayed right there.  He barely moved at all.  So, we decided that he was either in stealth camo mode and thought he was on a tree, or he was a mentally challenged bug and he’s resorted to licking the glass.  🙂

We used Mountain Man's wonderfully sexy manly hand as a reference to show just how big this thing is!

Stupid Bugs

I’m convinced that there’s a conspiracy amongst the flying insects this year.  It’s almost as if they’ve went into hibernation over the long, frigid winter and came back out with an unnatural urge to aggravate every living soul that dares to set foot outside in their turf.

I know, I know, every year we go around muttering the same thing to ourselves and anyone else who’ll listen.  “The bugs sure are bad this year.”  Well this year, the bugs really are bad!  It’s almost as if a plague has been unleashed upon us and try as I might, nothing can stop these annoying little creatures from driving me to the point of madness, or worse, back inside the house.

They’ve become immune to most every line of defense we’ve tried against them.  No amount of insect repellent, citronella oil, flaming lanterns, profanities shouted, or prayers sent up have seemed to thwart their unending attack on me and my family.  Summer’s not even started and already, those stupid little winged spawns of Satan are working hard to keep us all penned up inside.

I, being the ever forgetful creature that I am, left my sunglasses, (one of the eyes only lines of defense against the temporary blindness that comes when one the little devils flies right into your cornea,) in the house yesterday afternoon and I’ve never been more miserable in my life.  Oh, wait a minute, there was that time I was so sick I couldn’t get out of bed for two days, and then there was the time I had whiplash from a car wreck and couldn’t move my head from side to side, oh and I have had two children.  Ok, so maybe I have been more miserable in my life a few times, but trust me, it ranked right up there.

The little winged demons are so vexing.  They kept flying right into my eyes!  So, naturally, I kept squinting my eyes until they were just barely open enough for me to see, but it really wasn’t helping.  I eventually had the entire upper portion of my face contorted in what could only be described as something totally unnatural, to try to keep the little flying nuisances from permanently blinding me.  This went on for only a few minutes, but for my poor face and forehead, it seemed like it lasted for days.   My forehead started hurting and I ended up giving myself a headache.

Needless to say, this didn’t deter the stupid bugs one bit.  They had no pity for me.  They felt no remorse for making me so miserable.  They couldn’t care less about the permanent wrinkles set deep into my face from the unnatural facial contortions I was trying, in vain I might add, to keep them from blinding me.  Once I waved the white flag of defeat and headed inside the sanctuary of the mostly bug free house, I’m pretty sure that they went on to aggravate some other poor creature.  My misery was no longer high on their list of things to do.  They had won.

But I won’t go down without a fight!  I’ll keep coming back and eventually I’ll win the battle with the winged spawns!  Will these horrendous flying menaces get the best of me and keep me prisoner in the cabin all summer?  No.  For I will come out the victor.  I will figure out a way to end their evil reign and I will enjoy being outside once again!

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