Monday, July 5, 2021

Staying Alive and Fighting Flies!

We've moved into a stage of moderately super hot days, 90's, full sun. After what we experienced last week, it seems downright cool. Of course, it's not, but the almost 20 degree difference allows us to do things differently around here. 

I haven't used the misters this week, and I allow Cowgirl and Epona to go where they want to go. I watch them closely, to make sure Epona doesn't get too hot, but from what I've seen, they alternate between shady spots and hanging out with the herd over the fence. (Epona often lies in the shade of her mama.)

Epona has her next vet visit Wednesday. We had to postpone the last one, due to extreme heat. This one will be earlier in the day, and the highs are expected around 91 degrees. We can do that.

She continues to progress with independent drinking of water and eating pelleted food. That's the hope, that she will get as far as she can, controlling the pneumonia with antibiotics while she grows and matures. My son-in-law read that this process can take months, but the outcome is usually full recovery. In any event, she continues to grow by leaps and bounds. She is five weeks old.

There was another concern I had with her--her manure production. For a while, it seemed too rare, but now it seems, in my view, normal. 

Tumbleweed is only three, but Epona's arrival has made him seem like an old man. He is definitely maturing physically, and starting to fill out all over. Still has a bit of a baby bod, but most people who see him can't believe he's the foal they once knew. Is that Tumbleweed?!?  Yep, he's a grownup now.  

The pastures are dying early, and hay is going to be a real issue for everyone in the west. That is what I'll be concentrating on for the next few weeks. I still have plenty of hay, but I need to make sure the barn is full, and we're ready for winter. It's easier to be ISO 1 or 2 tons than 12. I hope to get 10 tons put away soon, use what I need, and replenish in fall. Our round bale supplier puts enough away for us, but we need to contact him and make sure he will have it for this year. Everyone's scrambling. 

The flies didn't seem that bad this year, but then yesterday they came out in droves for our 4th of July BBQ. Grrr...they were worse than I've ever seen them. 

I'm ordering these table fans to see if they will help. They have good reviews.

I'm also going to mix up a spray of Lemongrass and water to spray around the doorways and flowers. I found this recipe:

"Lemongrass oil is an essential oil with powerful insect repellent properties. In addition, it also keeps your home aromatic and refreshed. You can use lemongrass oil to make a fly repelling spray that doubles as a room freshener. Here are the ingredients you will need:
Lemongrass essential oil (20-25 drops)
Hot water (about 1/2 cup)

Mix and keep the solution in a spray bottle. Spray along your doorways and windows for maximum effects. Note: If you don’t have lemongrass oil, other natural oils (lavender oil, eucalyptus oil, citronella oil, or peppermint oil) will also work. However, do not expect the same strong results that you would get with lemongrass oil." (Green and Growing. org)

I planted gardenias this summer, and they have done well. So fragrant, and beautiful. I'm a fan.

We also made it to the boat the other day, as planned.

Going to the lake...

On the lake....

Leaving the lake...

Lucy loved the lake. We hope she will be a good boat dog. So far, so good!

Any tips on how to fight flies? I'm open to all suggestions!


  1. I've heard from multiple people Fly Predators really work (applied in the Spring). I really want to try them! Lucy sure has grown. I was wondering how the cutie was doing. I've never grown Gardenias. They smell lovely. Do you plant to overwinter them?

    1. I tried fly predators one year, and they didn’t seem to work for me. We live next to a cattle operation and horse boarding facility, so I’m not sure my predators were enough for the job. I have thought about trying them again, but ordering a bigger supply.

      I do hope to bring the gardenias into the house during winter. We’ll see how that goes. If they don’t survive I’ll replace them next year. They are so fragrant, and their perfume is carried in the slightest breeze. Not to mention, they’re beautiful.

    2. I do think timing/location/quantity makes a difference with predators. Maybe they aren't so great after all. However, I would consider them worthwhile if they even cut down on the quantity of flies. Of course, it would be hard to tell since much depends on weather etc.

      I find overwintering plants very rewarding. I've had mixed success overwintering tropicals. I had a huge hibiscus tree for years (even hung Christmas ornaments on it lol) but let it go before we moved here. Each year I transitioned gradually (still dropped all leaves, but they regrow quickly on most plants) and misted until it got used to dryer indoor conditions. Not sure about gardenias. Hope they do well for you!

    3. Smart! We’ve had issues moving plants in, as well. Misting is smart. Yes, it is hard to tell, with every year being so unique. We had a flock of starlings in our backyard, and the fly problem started the same day they moved on. I’m guessing they were keeping the population down. Maybe we need to attract even more birds.

  2. Hay is an issue here too, our hay producer says his crop is down 40 % but he promised to save me the 10 bales I will need.
    Good to hear the Epona is thriving, thanks to all the care and attention she is getting from everyone. Good job!
    I hope you get some rides in soon!
    I will have to check and see if any of the greenhouses here do gardenias- they smell divine! I haven't ever seen them here though.
    The only thing I have about flies is those big farm fly traps are supposed to work really well, but I have never tried them. We had horse flies the othere day, the big ones with white on their head. They drive the horses crazy! I smacked a big one on Beamer's wither and he was quite offended that I slapped him, but at least he didn't get bit!
    Lucy is almost all grown up- how did that happen so quick! She should be a good water dog.

    1. I’ve never heard of that trap, is it like the solar fly trap?

    2. Yes, I need to shift modes and get into riding mode again. It’s a different mindset. My life seems entirely wrapped around caretaking right now. We have a day coming that should be 80’s, and it would be a great day to haul Tweed to the park.

    3. Of course, everything I do has to be timed around Lucy’s naps in her kennel. 🤣

  3. Lucy has really grown, what a cutie. Tumbleweed does look like a grown up now with Epona the new baby on the block. I've tried the fly predators a few times and they didn't seem to work for us either. Never heard of the lemon grass spray but it seems like a good idea. I haven't been riding much because of the heat. Going to be in the 90's this week too. Hopefully by the weekend we can both grab a ride when it gets in the 80's.

    1. Here’s hoping! We’re about 96 today, and it feels hot. We have been trying a number of fly remedies, but haven’t found a winner. Fly strips and fly swatters are oldies but goodies!


Please feel welcome to join our discussion by telling us about your own thoughts and experiences.