I knew it wouldn’t be long before they reappeared, it was getting too beautifully warm and hazy. I wasn’t wrong as the evidence proclaimed – two … no three bites! The usual feeling that I’d been bitten, but nothing to show for it … until later on that is, when each one began to irritate and swell up. Rats! This heralds the bringing out of ‘Smidge’, or if you’re lucky Avons ‘Skin so Soft’ – cheaper and it has the added bonus of smelling nice and making your skin…. Oh so soft :-). Whatever you use, it has to be administered each morning after showering and getting dressed otherwise you can guarantee you’ll get nibbled the minute you put your head out the door.
The dogs hate the midges too, but rubbing their faces with Skin so Soft – all round their noses, ears and tops of their heads, inside the flaps of Lila’s ears because the little beasties will have a good feast in the time it takes for each of our dogs to have a quick wee and dive back in again. Poor Tali gets it the most though, being a Black Labrador, she attracts them – well like flies really… she has to be swished with a dog towel as she comes in – moving them along her back and out the door, otherwise an entire swarm of them will be in the house in no time. Mind you a fair number do make it in once the door is open and that requires insect spray – only against the windows though as the stupid beasties always aim for the windows – very easy prey!!!! So now we have at least five maybe six months of this routine, except of course, when the wind blows. Then they can’t fly and we can all breath a sigh of relief and see how many jobs we can get done outside before the wind drops and they rise like a giant phoenix from the ashes to torment us once again.
The night before last, we had clear skies and it was very cold as a full moon rose above Bla Bheinn – that was a good sign – ‘let there be a late frost’ I prayed to the moody, truculent weather god. I don’t think he heard me as we didn’t have a frost but we did wake up to a chilly, hazy morning, which by afternoon had turned cold with low clouds bringing wet and windy conditions, therefore NO MIDGES! A big ‘Thank you’ went up to our semi-deaf weather god, ‘it’s not quite what I asked for, but that will do nicely’!
On another, sweeter note, last week I was cutting the lawns and each year I have had to go around various delicate wild flowers that suddenly appear in the grassy/mossy/weedy green area that surrounds our house. Now, I know gardeners that would laugh at my description of such a mish-mash of greenery, the Head Gardener at Hinton Ampner in Hampshire who’s vast lawns are pristine, for one. But if its green and looks reasonably good when cut, then to me its a lawn. Its squashy and comfy to laze around on – when there’s no midges – and lets face it, when the sun shines and there’s no rain for weeks, my ‘lawn’ stays green whereas all those pristine lawns of specially nurtured grass go brown unless watered profusely. So I rest my case … I have a lawn – its a Skye lawn 🙂 .
However, it is quite amazing how many violets there are at the moment, not just in our ‘lawn’ this year, but also on the hillock behind our house and in the ‘wild’ area on the other side of the burn. So many violets give the impression of a lilac carpet that attracts all sorts of insects, not just bees. Its really quite beautiful!They just seem to appear, as if by magic. Ahh, but maybe its fairy magic – after all, Skye is full of fairies…isn’t it? That aside though, have you ever watched to see which insects pollinate violets? Is it bumblebees, moths, beetles or flies? Bearing in mind that not all flies are nasty disease spreading nasties, quite a large number are effective pollinators and really quite small. Well this is another goal I intend to achieve, because whilst I know the theory, I haven’t actually seen a bee on a violet, or a fly, or a moth, so watch this space.