County living is filled with blips. Now, don’t get me wrong, everyday life has ups and downs that permeate life whenever people try something new. Living by a body of water is also not something new to our family, we did live near Lake Ontario for the last twelve years. Bugs are a part of the deal.
Well, Mr. L, hates bugs. He’s done well over the years, hiding his phobia from the kids and getting rid of said spiders or gross lake centipedes that we have had to contend with, but what he hates the most? Flying bugs. You know, the ones that don’t really hurt you. Prettily painted butterflies, zippy dragonflies that circle our new pond, bees and moths. He nimbly moves back into the house when they appear. What I am not a fan of? Mosquitos and flies. Big ones that bite through clothing.
Being a fan of using all natural products, I pulled out my trusty all-natural lavender oil one of our first few nights sitting out with what would be a steady stream of welcome visitors to our new home and diligently spread it on all the vulnerable spots. The next morning my legs were filled with red, itchy bumps.The greedy suckers had ignored the smell and went right for the skin. Our second set of guests were victim to the flies, the big horse ones that bite chunks out of children’s backs. Giving up, I went out and got the strong stuff trying to ignore the chemical smell and nose curling by the kids. By the time my third set of visitors had arrived, I had Deep Woods, Family Friendly Off, Citronella candles, and what worked best, the OFF lanterns. A small fortune spent on bug control. Wanting to enjoy the peaceful nights and gaze at the stars soon became an exercise in applying the right cocktail of preventive bug repellent, and ten minutes spent lightning all the appropriate candles and lanterns.
Birds are also common, but in the country, they live in harmony with your home or property. You learn to accept the nests tucked away in different nooks and crannies, or the baby Mourning Dove fledgling that lands at your feet one sunny afternoon as you try to find a pair of gloves in your yet unpacked boxes while keeping the dog and kids away to tuck it under a nearby bush. You try to ignore the cat from down the road who stalks the birds in your backyard peeking behind your fingers at the inevitable cycle of life and hope you hid the baby well enough. Time will tick away as you watch hawks and falcons swoop on the high winds in blue skies and you try to ignore the wild call of whatever bird lives in the tall treetops who sends out warning screeches multiple times a day. Geese wander up to your property, until your urban dog goes berserk and scares them away. And you try to tell Mr. L that no, birds don’t fly at night, those are bats swooping over your backyard. Nature is a wondrous thing.
Blips, another commonality in life, take on a whole different meaning in the country. Each week brings a new one to contend with. After all, country living means more property to deal with. We are fortunate to have moved to a property with some beautiful garden beds already placed. But keeping those flower beds watered during one of the driest summers is challenging. Especially when you invested a little money in planting numerous perennials at the start of the season. So you hope the sprinkler system, already set up for the beds, works well. Until it doesn’t and you watch as the plants get drier and yellowed. You put a call into the one technician for the area, and wait, hoping he gets there soon. Then you try to hand water the plants yourself and get your kids on the job, teaching them to trickle the precious water over the most vulnerable plants, not wanting to use too much as the hose (unlike the sprinkler system that draws from the nearby bay) is hooked up to the well. Or, one night you try to use your outdoor lights, wanting to ensure your invited guests can find you in the blackness of the county road. But you find, a blip, in the wiring and wait, until the electrician can get to you and find the issue. Or your hot water is suddenly gone, and you hope it’s because the washing machine was running but come to find out, your huge hot water tank, has burned out an element. Then you realize, you have no idea if your hot water tank is propane or electric and what exactly is an element, but it gets fixed thanks to Carl, your inherited handyman and you can breathe. Your kids and next round of visitors can have hot showers. And so it goes, little blips that make life interesting in the country but help you learn a lot about your house.
The kicker? You tell tales of your blips to a local shopkeeper, (who you have gotten to know because you frequent their store at least once a week, and is also an ex-urbanite), and he nods in sympathy. When you are done and paying for your wares, he pushes up his glasses with a twitch of a smile says, “Wait until winter.”
But, then you look in awe at another spectacular sunset, watch as your dog and kids run free in a huge backyard, and realize the bugs, birds and blips are part of the deal, and what a deal it is turning out to be.