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We’ve long had a love affair
with the “beasts of the field.”
Actually, we prefer that they be
“beasts of the pasture,” remaining
on the inside of the grazing areas
fences. Cows being cows, our bo
vine girls periodically become
beasts of the field, in search of the
proverbial greener grass on the
wrong side of the fence.
This time of year, the greener
grass is in the form of lush, succu
lent, young com stalks, beloved
by ornery heifers for munching on
and flattening down as they split
the pasture in pursuit of forbidden
tastes of fresh field forage. Sum
mertime thunderstorm showers
and lightning strikes which short
out electric fences considerably
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add to the problem.
And, in recent years, we’ve de
veloped a real affinity for the
“birds of the air.” One rather tame
cardinal pair now hangs around
the farm year-roung. The gor
geous, scarlet male has gotten
about letting me know, loudly,
when the sunflower seed stock has
run out in the birdfeeder.
Even the “fish of the sea,” -
well, the pond, anyway - get regu
lar attention, especially The Farm
er’s prized, finned “pets” that con
gregate near the pier for handouts.
He wouldn't think of letting a
worm-laced hook near these ba
But what I’ve never gotten
nearly as tolerant of, or find enjoy-
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Fradarick, MD Graensburg. PA
5219 Urbana Pike Route 136
Succasunna, NJ Swedesboro, NJ
39 Route 10
menl from, are the “bugs of the
season.” They just... well, bug
And some worse than others.
Like hornets and wasps, for in
Picking raspberries one day last
week, by the time I realized what
the buzzing near my left ear was,
it was too late. The hornet vented
its anger in defense of its nest,
leaving the bite site on my ear
with a searing, stinging sensation.
Wet mud is a wonderful anti
dote to insect stings. With no mud
in sight, I quickly manufactured
some. A little saliva and dry dirt
rubbed together on the ear render
ed the same effect as Mother Na
ture’s own mud. Within a minute
or two, the stinging disappeared
and left only a faint amount of
swelling as a lingering effect for a
It was my own careless fault. I
had seen the papery, six-inch-or
so-diameter nest, hidden there
near the end of the row of thorny
stalks, during the prior picking of
the patch. And forgotten about it.
Less painful but far more pre
dominant are the continuing
batches of common flics which
hatch out in the hot, humidity of
the season. Though we do almost
daily battle with fly sprays, we on
ly win a few squirmishes and ex
pect a war of several months dura
Japanese beetles have also be
gun putting in their chew-up
everything appearance, although
they’ve never been a real serious
problem here. Perhaps some of the
feathered distant cousins of our
sunflower-seed-feeders prefer the
shiny, tough-bodied beetles for
Far more prominent are those
ugly, prehistoric-looking bugs that
suddenly arrive in early summer.
Earwigs. With those wiry, wiggly
bodies and nasty-looking rear-end
pincers, their appearance is an re
pulsive as their behavior. Take
down the laundry and there’ll be
earwigs crawling around in the
MHK.IT DOES A BODY GOOD;
Lancaster Farming, Saturday, July 16, 1994-B5
washbasket and the clothespin
bag. Leave the bam sneakers out
on the back porch overnight and
they’ll camp out in them. They
hide under dog dishes and flower
pots, porch rugs and lawn furni
Where did these bugs come
from? And when? Neither The
Farmer nor I recall having earwigs
around when we were kids. Are
they imports? Hybrids? Or some
mutation gone bad? A least they
don’t carry devastating diseases,
like an even uglier and infinitely
more dangerous bug, the tick.
Ultimate cure for all these crit
ters is not spray, not sticky fly pa
per, not scent traps, not even bug
eating birds and bats. Ultimate
cure will be a good, hard frost.
Which we don’t want now.
Wouldn’t it be pleasant if the
bugs of the season would just. . .
bug off ’til then?