Sunday, May 03, 2009

The Epic Battle

Saturday was the first day of battle. The enemy troops have been massing since a couple of days after the kittens tried to invade. There was an inch of water in out back yard for a few days; the flower beds have gotten out of hand. The gerber daisies are nearly three feet tall, the ornamental boxwood is more like an ornamental crate, the trumpet vine could open its own jazz club.

The mosquito queens did their job well. Laying thousands of eggs that hatch into millions of larvae, that metamorphose into billions of sinlge-minded bloodsuckers that waited to descend on the human population at once.

May 2 was the day of the beginning of the epic summer struggle; man vs mosquito. The mosquitoes had numbers, a hollow proboscis and an unquenchable hunger for hemoglobin.

I have a Black Flag fogger. It took a try or two to find the ammunition for it. Walmart sold out yesterday. Dang it. I went to Stanton’s and found what I was after. I got two jugs of it.

I got home and devised my battle plans. I would wait a little until the blasting South wind died down a little. My trigger finger got itchy. I needed to test the amount of propane in my weapon. It was still a bit early, and since my foe is mentally unsophisticated, I decided to chance a test fire. I filled the reservoir with my toxic ammo, opened the propane valve and heard the hollow hiss. Yes! I touched the igniter and after a quick “pop-poof”, my instrument of war was warming up. After another minute for the fogger to be fully ready, according to the directions that I read and understood, I was ready for the test firing.

The wind was still a bit strong, and knowing that the most intelligent and resourceful of my quarry liked to stay in the garage, I fogged in there first.

Great, it worked. Worked really well, as a matter of fact. So I loaded the agave plant with smoke. I just rounded the corner and fogged along the side in front of the gate. The wind was lower over there, lets just see what will happen along the side of the house. The mosquitoes rose in clouds to meet me in combat. I squeezed the trigger and sent forth a beautiful plume of poison. I could see the silhouettes of my enemy against the white haze.

None of them dropped immediately, that would have been very rewarding, and I should not have gone after individual fliers since they don’t immediately succumb. A couple of the bravest got a puff to themselves anyhow. The back yard, with all the vegetation and shielded from the as yet strong breeze beckoned me forward. I sprayed the daisies, the caladiums, the trumpet vine. I even sprayed the cracks in the deck.

I continued around the house, and then to the front yard, and the neighbors’ yards. The sense of purpose that drove me around was very fulfilling. So fulfilling, in fact, I repeated the entire exercise when the wind did die down. And I plan on repeating it this evening as well.

Our little winged enemy, small though it may be, comes in innumerable throngs. Culicidae is the army, the divisions are many; Aedes, Culex, Anopheles. Some are small and aggressive, others are large and frightening. They all must die.

To paraphrase Winston Churchill, “I will fight them in the front yard, I will fight them in the backyard, I will fog under the deck and under the shed, I will never surrender, I will never give up.”

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