Moving Mountains. Of Dirt And Bug Corpses.

We finally finished moving and have fully engaged in transforming this new house into our home and becoming a functional farm. Sleep is lacking, muscles are sore, sunburns – well – burn, and dirt & bugs proliferate.  I love the new house. I love living more than 10 feet from my nearest neighbors. I love seeing the neighbor’s horses come running back to the barn when he rings the bell at dusk. I love watching the long grass blow in the breeze while I eat my breakfast on weekend mornings before the rest of the house stirs. THIS is the life.

My only issue so far has been the overwhelming variety and volume of bugs. And the dirt. Technically, dry red clay. I tried planting some bulbs our first weekend in the house and was driven away by Harley, the motorcycle riding carpenter bee. I kid you not, you can hear him coming from across the driveway. I gave him a fair shot that weekend and was willing to declare a truce and set the boundaries. He was free to hang near the only flowering bushes in the garden while I planted the new roses and bulbs nearby. He mostly hovered watching me and regularly stopped to attack any other bug that wandered into His Territory. Frequently, he’d forget I was harmless and dive bomb me into retreat across the front yard. I tried discouraging him with a bottle of highly-diluted Windex which worked amazingly, except it’s virtually impossible to plant anything while holding and aiming a spray bottle. Trust me on this one. (I thank God no one was video tapping this scene.)

Intellectually, I know he’s not likely to sting me, but instinctively, well, he sounds like he’s riding a freaking motorcycle and he’s gunning it right at me! I gave up and let him have his turf for that weekend. I have PLENTY of other things to do so it wasn’t a stretch to put that one task on the back burner. When we finally tired of Harley’s ever-expanding turf (he quickly claimed the driveway and any cars parked in it as well as the front porch and started to tackle the garage), DH introduced the real bug spray and his little Napoleon act was quickly cut short. Who knew his throne would be quickly reseated by yet another carpenter bee. We named the new king Harley as well. Apparently, the motorcycle conveys.

The good news is that the current version of Harley is much more tame. This one plays more of a supervisory role with occasional surprise visits. Otherwise, he’s harmless. So far. The bad news is that we are apparently THE breeding ground for every “mosquito hawk” (crane fly) in the state. We’re also the hot new spot for wasps who are scoping out their next site for hive construction. I’m not having that. There is NO room for wasps in my world. In fact, while house-shopping, a wasp in or near the prospect house immediately raised red flags. I don’t care what wondrous thing they may do for nature. I’ve been stung by far too many to have any tolerance for them.

And then there are the ticks. We’d seen several of them traveling while working in the yard. (ALWAYS wear jeans in the long grass even if it is 90+ degrees outside!) I was fine just using caution and concluding all activities with a full-body TSA-quality inspection until the morning I had to remove one of the nasty bloodsuckers from The Kid’s hairline. She’s 9 now so it was imperative that I remain calm to ensure she would do the same. This isn’t easy to do when my entire being wants nothing more than to do the “heebee-jeebee dance” while signing the adoption paperwork for her new family. Alas, she’s grown on me over the years and my first-ever extraction of a tick was the right thing to do. It took me about 15 minutes from discovery of the parasite to its frantic jamming into a tiny tupperware container (just in case she exploded into unknown disease and bug autopsy was necessary). Note to self – get the container ready BEFORE you’re left standing in the kitchen with a live tick held gently, but securely in your good eyebrow tweezers!

Later that day, DH and I finished up the fence around the garden. You know – the one out front with the deer tracks next to the spinach plants. (I’m not sure what they’re eating because very little has sprouted besides The Grass That Won’t Die. I have seriously never had such lush grass in all my life. Rush order for a riding lawn mower is in queue.) The fence-building adventure reminded me that it’s been well over 10 years since my last tetanus shot. I was attacked multiple times by rolls of galvanized steel fencing and am now carefully watching the gashes on my elbow and back. If I didn’t know any better, I’d think that fence was out to kill me. DH will concur.

All in all, everyone is settling in nicely and we look forward to easier weekends after all the “farm setup” and “moving in setup” are done. I’m hopeful that once the workmen finish with their list of touch-ups and final construction projects are completed, the amount of dirt will subside. I knew living in the country would come with dirt. It’s just part of the package, but between the drywall dust, new carpet fuzz, and the dry red clay, it’s a never-ending task to try to keep surfaces clean. (The dust bunnies that form in this place are astounding – complete with fangs and semi-automatic weapons. And the fact that they breed faster than rabbits isn’t helping either.)

Like I said, THIS IS THE LIFE! I can’t wait for all the fruits of our labor to pay off – literally. Now, if only I could convince the bugs that the neighbor’s place is a better hangout. . .

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3 Comments on “Moving Mountains. Of Dirt And Bug Corpses.”

  1. Matt Says:

    Sounds like you’re having fun. 🙂

  2. Jen Tucker Says:

    Clove oil will keep the wasps away. Spray it all around the house & on the house. They won’t even come near your house. Bonus, it doesn’t kill them. Also, Feverfew and Marigolds repel many different kinds of insects.

    • Christy Says:

      Thanks for the suggestion! I’d never heard of clove oil, but I did some poking around and it does indeed seem to be a good solution. DH is planting marigolds in the garden as a repellent to certain plant-eating bugs, but I’ve never been a fan of them as decorative flowers. I may have to rethink that plan. Any suggestions for getting rid of ticks without pesticides? (We intend to have guinea fowl for tick and weed control, but that’s still a ways off in the future.)


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