Sunday, August 14, 2022

A Very Complainy Post

Another scorcher today -- up to 91º F (33º C). I think that's slightly cooler than yesterday, by a few degrees. I took Olga to Fortune Green where even the owl statue needed a sun hat!

The cemetery is still looking dry, dry, dry. That's the so-called butterfly garden on the left. It's gone entirely to seed and I saw nary a butterfly. It doesn't seem to have been a great year for all the gatekeepers and meadow browns that usually populate the cemetery.

We took it slow, relaxing in the shade when needed, and I carried a water bowl so Olga could have frequent drinks. She was energetic enough to chase her ball several times, but there was a lot of panting.

Meanwhile, back in the garden, some plants are looking bleak. Here are our day lilies:

This is despite the fact that they've been watered numerous times over the summer. I thought day lilies were pretty tolerant of heat and sun, but we barely have leaves, much less a flower.

At least we're trying. Some people have given up.

I passed this patio on my walk with Olga yesterday morning. Now, I'm not sure this is entirely attributable to the drought. Even the inside plants are dead. Basically everything on that patio, with the possible exception of the irises on the right, needs to be thrown out.

I hate to be too complainy. I mean, weather happens, right? We're supposed to get rain starting tomorrow, though as I've said before, I'll believe it when I see it.

One thing I will get complainy about is the bug bites that have ravaged my arms and legs. There's some kind of little no-see-um in our garden that bites the heck out of me when I'm watering, especially as I brush past foliage. They're tiny, black, flying gnat-like things. Midges? Black flies? I almost never see the insect itself, but I sure feel the effects. When I was watering on Thursday evening I got back into the area behind our banana tree, off the patio, and when I emerged again I felt like I was ON FIRE. I have hundreds of bites, and they're so intensely itchy that I've had to occasionally take a Benadryl.

I've had these bites in past years, usually while picking blackberries in the garden, but I've never had them this bad.

Complain, complain, complain.

Some good things have happened. I got lots of errands done on Friday, including taking some of my rescued slides to be scanned. So I should be able to blog those next week.

I also finished Anne Moody's autobiography about her Civil Rights work, and I'm working on my ever-present backlog of New Yorker magazines. I only have two more days left of summer vacation before I'm back to work on Wednesday. Where did the time go?


River said...

Those patio pots do look terribly sad. Pots dry out so much faster. Perhaps the person who lives there is just too old or ill to be carting out water for all of them.
It's possible the "hundreds" of bites is an allergic reaction to the first bite. You need to be applying liberal amounts of bug repellant and finding out just what that bug is.

Moving with Mitchell said...

Those little bites can drive you insane. I'd cover myself with Deep Woods OFF for a foray in the garden. That heat is shocking. We have sunshine today with a high in the 70sF. That's the extent of the heatwave in Bergen. Back to rain and cooler tomorrow.

Rachel Phillips said...

Apply Anthisan cream as soon as you get bitten, stops the itching immediately. Available from most supermarkets pharmacy counters. I rarely get bitten actually.

Yorkshire Pudding said...

Negativity, moaning and complaining will get you nowhere Steve. Try to develop a positive outlook, seeing the good in life rather than the bad. The biting insects you refer to are merely seeking to exist, to live, to survive. What's wrong with that?

Boud said...

I wonder if the plant people are away and didn't make arrangements for watering, if even the indoor plants are dry.
I have a cortisone based dab on stick thing for bites. At least I can stop the itch.
School is back so soon? What happened to going back in the first week of September??

Bob said...

Sad about the butterflies.
Luckily, while we have been hot, though not hotter than normal, we have also had some good rains, so things are still green and blooming here; for now.

Mary said...

East coast US just having a cool down (alleluia). Will hopefully head your way soon.

Ms. Moon said...

What? You have bugs that torment you in England? London, in fact? How can that be? Ugh.
Deet can be your friend.
We have gotten some lovely rains this summer and I am so grateful for them. I remember all too well the summers that we looked to the skies for any signs of a coming rain, only to be disappointed again. I hope your weather report turns out to be true and that soon things will again be...right as rain.

Vivian Swift said...

If you have stick/roll on deodorant, you can apply that to itchy insect bites and you'll get instant relief.

Ellen D. said...

Like others have suggested, you need to wear a bug repellent when you work in the garden. Our day lilies usually only bloom at the beginning of July and then they are done.
Your summer break sure zoomed by - hope you have a terrific school year!

Karen said...

Very similar weather in Vancouver, BC. My workplace has no air conditioning (built 20 years ago when it never used to get so hot but still). It gets extremely hot inside, unbearably so.

NewRobin13 said...

You've gotten lots of good advice here about how to manage those crazy bug bites. I'm just blown away that there are some little flying critters there that are so voraciously stinging things. Hope the weather does cool down finally. That would be such a relief. Back to work on Wednesday? Wow...that was fast!

Red said...

Complaining days are allowed. Long periods of dry hot weather are sometimes stressful. And next month you may be complaining about too much rain.

ellen abbott said...

When I was in Scotland some of us visited the Gray Cairns of Camster in the early evening and it was the time of day that little black biting midges rose up over the bog we had to cross to get there. Nasty little creatures.

I don't mind you complaining about the heat and dryness since that's all I've done for the past two months.

Kelly said...

I'll join you in complaining about biting bugs. Everyone seems to have their own solution for itch relief, but when dealing with bites (fire ants and ticks, in particular), we find a little dab of PineSol cleaning solution always helps.

Edna B said...

That's a nice looking owl. I think we all have those little black biters in our gardens. Olga looks super comfy resting in the cemetery. Enjoy being out with her. I miss my little guy. Have a super day, hugs, Edna B.

Margaret said...

I didn't know there were those kind of bugs in London. Is there anything you can spray on yourself before you go out? Not knowing what kind of bug they are hinders you in that, I suppose. Hot weather makes me crabby even with my heat pump.

Sabine said...

I think the day lilies will recover once it will cool down. Their roots are shallow so watering only helps that much. We have what we call chiggers in the garden at this time especially when it's hot and dry. Covered in bites unless you have a shower and wash with soap right after you come inside. Hope you are better.

Sharon said...

Those bites are nasty. I had some several years ago and I remember how they itched. I really can't believe how warm it's been there. Since I just experienced the same thing in Oregon two weeks ago, I know how uncomfortable that can be. I can't believe it's time to go back to work for you. That seemed like a very quick summer break.

Allison said...

We have bugs like that here, too. They prefer to bite me, one minute I'm not bitten, then I am. They're driving me crazy.

Tasker Dunham said...

Just used the last of the water in the water butt. Hoping for a thundering refill.

Catalyst said...

To continue, I pulled a book off the shelf last night and began it. It's "Mr. Weston's Good Wine", by T.F. Powys, published in England in a Phoenix Library edition in 1928. I only got to page 16 last night but it's quite interesting so far.

Catalyst said...

Aha, my first comment got lost. It was something like "I only fare outside in the heat of the day because the invisible biters feast on me. I know how you feel." And that's that.

jenny_o said...

Sometimes it's okay -- even good -- to complain. Those days are the ones when everything has been piling up and piling on and it seems like it just gets to be too much all of a sudden. The straw that broke the camel's back is a fitting statement. Complain away :)

That is a LOT of bug bites. I hope the itchiness subsides soon. I see in the news that you are officially in a drought over there. It's a bit scary, isn't it?

And your school breaks seem so short compared to here. I think I read somewhere that you hav major breaks more often, that's why they're shorter. Whereas here it's September to June with only one or two weeks at Christmas and one week in March for breaks. I don't know which I would prefer, and seeing as I'm not in the school system and no longer am tied to it by kids either, I'm glad I don't have to think too much about it :) Enjoy your two remaining days.

jenny_o said...

As if that wasn't a long enough comment, I'm back, wondering if you already mentioned the drought was official and I missed it! And also to say that is a wonderful owl statue and someone had a good sense of humour to put that hat on it :)

Steve Reed said...

River: I think I've figured out the bug, or at least one of the bugs. (See subsequent post.) I think you're right about the owner of those pots.

Mitchell: Apparently insect repellant doesn't work with all these bugs, though!

Rachel: I tried to pick up some cream but the pharmacy was closed. Will get some today.

YP: My compassion only goes so far.

Boud: Well, we're going back now -- the staff. The kids don't show up for another couple of weeks.

Bob: It IS sad about the butterflies. Normally that meadow would continue blooming several more weeks.

Mary: I hope so!

Ms. Moon: Normally, England is virtually bug-free, at least as far as biters are concerned. This is a very weird year.

Vivian: OK, I tried that with a Sure-brand stick. It didn't do anything, sad to say.

Ellen D: I've read that bug repellent doesn't help with mites and certain other bugs, but I suppose in unusual circumstances like these it couldn't hurt.

Karen: Ugh! I'm sorry! What is up with this no-rain phenomenon? Global warming, I guess.

Robin: I think insects are worse this year because there's been no moisture and thus nothing to wash them off the plants or cause their eggs to deteriorate and die.

Red: It's true, drought is psychologically stressful, even if you have the capability to manage it in your immediate vicinity.

Ellen: I don't think my bugs are the same as the Scottish midges, at least from what I've seen in photos. I've heard they're TERRIBLE, though!

Kelly: That's an interesting solution! If I had some Pine Sol, I'd try it!

Edna: I know you miss your guy! So sorry! By the way, I comment on your blog but my comments don't seem to appear. I think they're in your comment spam folder. To find them, go to "comments" on your Blogger dashboard and select "spam" from the drop-down above the comment list. You can then approve spam comments and they'll appear.

Margaret: I do have some bug repellent. It's just weird to have to use it in England. Bugs are normally not this bad.

Sabine: I think chiggers may well be part of the problem, though I never actually see them.

Sharon: OMG, I have never itched so much. It's making me crazy.

Allison: I like insects, I really do, but honestly they're making it difficult!

Tasker: Today (Monday), supposedly!

Catalyst: Interesting! I don't know that book! Give me a review when you finish it. I thought your first comment might be in spam but I didn't see it there, so it seems to have disappeared entirely. :/

Jenny-O: Yeah, I blogged the official declaration of drought several days ago. Last Friday, I think? Anyway, it IS scary. I think we do have more breaks over the course of the school year. In addition to 3 weeks at Christmas and one at Easter, we get a week in February and a couple of days in October. (Plus numerous national holidays.)

Jeanie said...

Guess what. You are allowed to complain -- especially when there is something to complain about, like drought. That butterfly garden makes me sad. Do your best to keep cool. It can't last forever. I hope.