Tuesday, May 03, 2011

[House and Home] Waging War on Nature

Waging War on Nature: We had an enormous amount of snow this winter. It has all melted, plus it has been raining all Spring and the cricks-a-risin! The Huron River is much higher than I have ever seen it. Seriously, this is a huge issue. My lawn has lots of 45 degree slopes which give my little John Deere tractor fits in when it's wet. As the weight shifts off one side it just spins its wheels and leaves tread patches when the ground is wet (no limited-slip differential on lawn tractors that I know of). I was lucky to get my lawn done in one of the small open windows of clear days with a minimum of damage. Others, not so much. As I write this it's May 1st and some of my neighbors have six inch high grass and no clear days forecast. Some of them are looking having eight to ten inches of grass to mow before they can get to it. Horror.

More troublesome are box elder bugs. I had a swarm outside my back window -- literally thousands of them. They are harmless -- no sting, no bite, no eat stuff. But they are everywhere, and they get inside too, to escape the cold at night. For a while I was squishing five or six a day. You can call an exterminator to come out and spray for them, but another way to kill them is with soapy water, plain dishwashing liquid. So for the last month I been going out back before sunset with a spray bottle of soap and water and wiping out as many as I can. I think I can finally declare victory...or maybe they are just regrouping.

More annoying are woodpeckers. Prior to buying the house, one had savaged the chimney which now needs boards replaced (I got some money off on closing for that). Lately one had taken to actually pecking at a metal chimney nice and early in the AM. Apparently they do this to attract mates. If you have never had the experience, it is a near equivalent to being awoken by some jackhammer tiles near your bed. My initial reaction to this was to price out a bb gun, but that turns out to be illegal for some silly reason. So a couple of mornings I just went outside in my jammies and whipped a rock at the little bastard while voicing strong words. I think he got the message. I'll never look at Woody Woodpecker the same way again.

All this is important to me as I am now one of the local landed gentry. This is what we country folk fret over.