Friday, June 29, 2012

Surviving the heat

A strong thunderstorm blew across Roundtop Mtn. around 4 a.m. this morning, disturbing my sleep. The dogs cowered under the bed, and once I was half-blinded when I was looking out the window at the moment of a lightning flash. Instead of cooling things down, the air turned steamy and warmer within moments of the storm’s passing.

Last night the fireflies were out by the dozens. Earlier in the summer I worried there were fewer of them than usual but no longer. Until the storm was overhead and forced them into hiding, the fireflies created their own tiny versions of lightning in the forest.

So now the heat wave is here and the forest life is slowing down to deal with it. My chickens retreat under the cabin during the day, where it is cooler. Birds are quiet earlier in the day. The deer are also in hiding, emerging only at night; I see their tracks along the bank of the nearest pond. It might not just be the heat that keeps the deer from appearing either; the dreaded deer flies have arrived, too, harassing deer and humans alike. Deer flies have a nasty bite, but they spend more time circling the target of their attention than biting. Still, the constant buzzing noise and the anticipation that at any second the deer fly might land and bite is enough to drive deer and humans half-crazy.

For the next few days until the heat breaks sometime next week, my own forays into the woods will be limited. Like the deer l am likely to emerge outside only at night, or in the faded light of early dawn.


Amish Stories said...

Im feeling your pain as its really hot out there! Richard

Scott said...

Carolyn: I've been trying to finish up my series of breeding bird censuses by the end of the month. (I'll post about this on my blog later.) In any case, I try to separate my early morning census trips to the woods with at least one "unvisited" day, a day on which I can sleep-in a bit later than I would if I were getting up to go birding. I conducted a census last Thursday, so Friday was a sleep-in morning--except that "your" storm rolled in to my neck of the woods at 4:50 a.m., waking me up thoroughly and ruining my sleep-in. Oh, well.

You've pegged the deer flies PERFECTLY (though I did get a bite on my shoulder, through my T-shirt, when I conducted my birding census on Thursday morning). Every once in a while I get lucky and swipe one that has landed on my bald noggin; I hate to kill things, but deer flies, mosquitoes, and ticks don't get any sympathy. By the way, deer flies are in the genus Chrysops, a word that I just love to pronounce--it makes them sound menacing, like Cyclops.

Amish Stories said...

I had to make sure that I'm still living in Pennsylvania not from Florida where I last came from with all of this heat. Happy July 4 folks and have a safe one out there. Richard from Amish Stories

Carolyn H said...

Richard: it's way too hot for Pennsylvania.

Carolyn H said...

Scott: When it comes to deer flies, mosquitoes and ticks, I'm a swatter.