August is here.

August has arrived. August is my second favorite month in Manitoba. The mosquitos are almost gone. Most of the baby birds have fledged and joined their parents flying about in the bushes. These little ones can still be distinguished from their parents because they are smaller and their flight is still a bit choppy, but by migration time it will be hard to tell who are the parents and who are the babies. It’s fun to watch the parents after the babies have fledged. They relax and seem to be far less driven and far more willing to just sit quietly for a while. There is a lot less glorious song and a lot more quiet chirping. Since my own chicks have fledged some time ago, I can relate. It takes a visit from the grandchildren to remind me how much effort is involved in raising young. Like childbirth you tend to forget the pain and remember only the happy times.

The wildflowers have shifted from mostly white asters to tall purple asters and the deep golden yellows of showy and mountain goldenrod and chocolate scented sunflowers. The big bluestem has fully headed out and has ripe pollen hanging from the turkey foot. The saskatoons have finished their course and been replaced with pin cherry and gooseberry. The pembina plums are just beginning to turn from dark inedible green to red. Chokecherries not far behind. Last year I didn’t get any plums because they are precious and rare in the park and I wasn’t fast enough.

The heat continues. This is one thing I am not so fond of about summer. Temperatures too warm in the daytime and often to warm to sleep easily at night. Heat is relative of course. If this were Arizona it would be cool. Temperatures typically 28C to 30C daytime and 20C at night. Last night I had trouble sleeping first with the heat and then later because someone upset a skunk. It was the middle of the night and everything was very quiet so I have no idea what made him spray. Perhaps it was a great grey owl. They hunt skunk because they lack an ability to smell. I don’t and so about 2:00 am I was left gasping with eyes burning and throat aching from skunk stink. We will get some mothballs today from the camp store and spread them under the trailer. For some reason skunks hate mothballs as much as we hate skunks. And house flies have begun to appear. By the end of the month and up until we have our first hard frost, the flies will dominate and drive me batty with their persistent buzz and fly specks on the ceiling and everything else they walk on. The ants have tried several times to take over the trailer but we have kept them at bay with ant traps and liquid spotting of poison on their trail forays into our home.

Writing our book is progressing well. I only have so much energy for writing so my blogging has suffered but the other writing continues. We have a guest coming to stay in our campground with us Sunday. Bryan will stay two weeks. We won’t get much work done for that period but it will fun to have his company. This weekend is gazing at the stars weekend and I hope we don’t get rained out as we did last year.

Hints of fall have begun. Dog bane in the shady spots has begun to yellow on the wooded floor. Poison ivy has white berries and is turning red. Many of the bushes have begun showing a few yellow leaves. September is my favorite month. The leaves turn and the flies vanish and the mosquitos are gone. In Manitoba there is no great display. Everything turns yellow and then drops in a short time. We might hit some real fall colour on our trip south. It will depend on when we leave. In September there are no ticks and yet wildflowers still bloom and the song birds stay. We have about three more weeks of heat. After that it will be too cold for most campers in tents at night. Half the campground will close. The campground internet, now too slow to be used, should pick up. September is coming. Meantime we have August to enjoy.


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