Tag Archives: screen tent

Romance is for the birds, no strike that, lightning bugs

I’m not someone who walks around calling herself a “hopeless romantic” but that doesn’t mean I don’t see the appeal of romance. It’s just that it doesn’t necessarily look in my mind’s eye like Hollywood’s version. To wit, I’ve found romance in an unlikely place.

I adore lightning bugs – you may know them as fireflies or some other name. They are just the coolest thing, flashing their tiny beacons in the early summer evenings. Part of the appeal is their rarity; their season is short.

In older blog posts, I’ve written of using my seasonal screen tent (imperative against mosquitoes) in summer. Unfortunately, there are frequent smokers in my midst in the last year so I no longer can use it as I once did. However, I grab my moments when I can.

Flying insects – but not mosquitoes – still seem to end up inside the tent, I’m really not sure how, especially the larger ones. For the most part, I figure they’re on their own. However, lightning bugs occasionally show up inside the tent as well. Those I cannot leave be.

Way back in 1990 I read and saved an article on lightning bugs based on information from Howard Seliger, a Johns Hopkins professor. who studied the glowing flyers. According to him, the adult lightning bug lives a mere week or two. The lightning flashes are intended to signal a potential mate which is the male insect’s sole goal.

The trouble is there are many species of lightning bugs and each has its own particular signal. A lady lightning bug is looking for her match, not some random schmuck. She flashes her own light as the go-ahead to the fellow of her choosing. Successful coupling is rare.

The lightning bug courtship appeals to the romantic in me. When I find a lightning bug inside the screen tent, aimlessly walking around or clinging to the screen, I leap into action. “Hey! You’re burning daylight, my little friend. Get out there and get yourself some lightning bug sex! How long have you been in here anyway?! Let’s get cracking!” I may not make the whole speech but I usually admonish and encourage the bug in some way as I catch it and put it back outside. Seeing one take off in search of its partner gives my heart a little happy jump. If, unbeknownst to me, a bird promptly eats the lightning bug or it keels over loveless because its demise was imminent, I don’t want to know about it.

Because squirrels (sometimes) amuse me

I set up my seasonal screen tent last week. The mosquitoes have landed. So to speak. We have the misfortune of having the aggressive Asian Tiger mosquito, a mosquito distinguished by a white line on its back, which is active during the day and bites repeatedly. Wicked little bastards. I adore sitting outside. And the tent makes that possible.

I took photos of my bird bath and squirrel drinking station last year. I wasn’t going to repeat myself except that today in a fairly short span, I had 4 squirrels visit and captured a few interesting shots. At least I think it was 4 different squirrels – I admit that unless one has a differentiating feature, I don’t necessarily know them apart.

This one had to get way up on his elbows/haunches because the water was a bit low.

This one had to get way up on his elbows/haunches because the water was a bit low.

This squirrel seemed to be enjoying a drink...

This squirrel seemed to be enjoying a drink…

...and then turned to give me a dirty look!

…and then turned to give me a dirty look!

This squirrel was enjoying a drink...

This squirrel was enjoying a drink…

...and then became concerned about something...

…and then became concerned about something…

...which turned out to be another squirrel (the first promptly disappeared under the hosta upon the newcomer's arrival).

…which turned out to be another squirrel (the first promptly disappeared under the hosta upon the newcomer’s arrival).

The newcomer then became concerned with... the stone lion apparently.

The newcomer then became concerned with… the stone lion apparently.

My summer song (hope the neighbors like it…)

There are certain songs that I associate with periods of my life. I grow attached at some point and almost always remain so. This summer it’s the hard-driving Kongos song, Come With Me Now. I loved it instantly. I have to move when I hear it. Can’t get enough.

The Asian Tiger mosquitoes (bite during the day, repeatedly; carry diseases, love me) are miserable here and have been for over a decade, so for the last several summers, I’ve set up a seasonal screen tent outside. I am only sorry I did not get one sooner. I know now that I literally grieved for the loss of the exquisite pleasure of sitting outdoors in the summer. Just thinking about it, the long years of wistfully looking out from indoors, makes me upset. That’s how much it means to me.

I grow these Black-eyed Susans in the tent with me, right in the soil.

I grow these Black-eyed Susans in the tent with me, right in the soil.

My relaxing pastime is sitting out in the screen tent in a comfy chair, feeling the warm air against my skin, and watching the birds and various flying creatures: butterflies, dragonflies, bees, hummingbirds. Sometimes I read, sometimes type blog posts, and occasionally bring my dinner out. And I like to listen to a small portable radio, as I have since I was a kid. I’m a dial flipper (too much yammering works my nerves), but favor pop, rock, and alternative. It’s a simple thing that makes me happy.

There are neighbors so I generally try to be considerate about noise, but I’m afraid there’s only one way to experience Come With Me Now and that’s with the volume cranked.

Happy, happy, happy

Happy, happy, happy

(Interesting facts about the song and YouTube video.)