Birthdays and Bugs

We have been very blessed regarding flexibility to travel this year. Nowhere was this more evident than our trip home to the States. My oldest daughter graduated from Kansas State University mid-May. If Theo had been tied to the French school schedule, we would not have been able to attend. And really, no one should miss a processional led by a kilt-clad bagpiper in the midst of the US plains.

I would never have expected it!

I would never have expected it!

We are very proud of our young graduate!

And visiting the States at this time is high birthday season: my oldest son had just had his, this daughter’s was a few weeks away, and definitely Theo, with a late summer birthday, would prefer to celebrate with US friends. How nice to knock out three with one blow, so to speak.And really, I was so, so grateful to spend time with my kids, including the poor winter birthday child. I took all the summer birthday kids camping. OK, so maybe this was the birthday choice of the nearly 14-year-old boy, but everyone loves camping, right? We fueled up with Krispy Kreme donuts before heading out. On a 2-hour drive to the campsite. That’s right, I’m the smart mom.

None of these in France, believe me!

None of these in France, believe me!

Fishing was almost as popular a past-time as messing with the campfire. Unfortunately, Quinn, my oldest, was the only one who caught anything. At least it was big enough for everyone to get a sample. Good fish, Kansas! Honestly, I couldn’t believe how chilly it was there in JUNE. Theo had asked for Oklahoma, but after the near-daily tornadoes, I was able to talk him into camping a little closer to his sister. The weather has been weird, folks. Still, as Deep-Woods Off as I fogged myself, I still got multiple aggravating mosquito bites and one tick. Uck. Now that leaves a person looking fondly on France…

Tyring for one of the really big ones at the dam  outlet. No luck.

Trying for one of the really big ones at the dam outlet. No luck. 

I really loved being home. It felt so comfortable! And seeing so many people I love was like refreshing water in a desert heat. And the hugs!! American hugs everywhere you turn! All good things end, though…

When we first moved to France, it was mid-July. I wrote about the remarkable weakness of pest invasion in our open home not long after. Having now almost completed a WHOLE YEAR (Happy anniversary to us!) in France, I have decided spring is the more buggy season.

It’s still kind of odd, though. For instance, we had one day that was really the Day of the Mouche. (That’s French for housefly.) We had a plague. The doors and windows were closed, but we killed, by swatter, over a hundred houseflies. What is with that?! Seriously? I couldn’t find where they were originating, and I couldn’t find a, well, organic source for them. The next day we killed only about 40, and the next day, maybe single digits. The funny thing about these flies was their general lethargy. Well, you can probably guess that by our high kill rate. There would be some serious effort to dispatch that many flies back in Kansas. It would probably qualify as some kind of boot-camp workout, but here, not so much.

And then there are the bees. They are obviously quite healthy and numerous here, unlike back home. And I am betting they loved the wet winter and spring, because the outdoors is literally humming with them. I have this hedge that goes around two sides of the house…

See any flowers? Me neither.

See any flowers? Me neither.

It is abuzz. Constantly. I canNOT figure it out, because why? There seems to be nothing a bee could eat there. But there are hundreds just all over this thing. I even had one briefly pause on the back of my hand one day while I was sitting out back chatting with friends. Being allergic to wasps, I prefer to avoid bee encounters. If there was some way to discourage their constant chillin’ in my background, I’d take it. The wildflower field behind the house was recently flattened (not mowed, interestingly), and I am wondering if that might encourage the bees to hang out elsewhere?

But on the up side, the mosquitos are STILL wimpy. We have enjoyed backyards, riverbanks, our own patio right along with the mosquitos. We have been bitten, but I don’t even get welts. They barely itch. Curious, eh? For a place lush with flora, there just isn’t much annoying fauna. I hope this continues! We are back in France for another year and then a bit. Our appointment is set with the prefecture to formalize that at the end of the month. I’ll let y’all know how that goes!

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