Monday, August 11, 2008

Fruit Fly Olympics




It's 9am and I am outside already rolling up the beach mats and the shower curtain on the garden boat. Going to be a hot one today, and don't want to burn things. Things look good, although I make a note to water later, after the boat is in shade. With the warm sun these last days, the rain of a couple of weeks ago has evaporated. I lose myself again in the beauty of the view for a while. Then become aware of a faint tap-tapping above me. I look up to see a pair of tiny Downy Woodpeckers busily hunting for bugs in the King apple tree. We wander about checking this geranium, that fuchsia, those marigolds, noting that most of the pots need watering as well.

I hear a starling, or starlings maybe, in the holly bushes making coaxing noises and of course, my Muttering Murder of Crows in the Cherry trees. They mutter to one another, either critiquing my apparel - pajamas - or checking out the tomatoes and peas. Yes, I AM paranoid about my tomatoes and peas, what of it!?

Definitely time for cappuccino.

Now I am dressed in my usual jeans and t-shirt and starting my day. Of course, Richard has been up and active since dawn cracked, but as I mentioned before, I am a very slow starter in the morning. I take notice of that summer annoyance - fruit flies - flitting around hanging basket of apples and make a scrunchy face. Richard comments on them and suggests I make my homemade fruit fly trap: a cone of paper suspended in a jar with a 1/2 inch of apple cider vinegar in the bottom; works every time...

...but not this time. Hmmmmm, curious. Two hours later and there is still a cloud of the foul creatures flitting about. I add white wine vinegar to the cider vinegar in the jar, then stand back and watch. They pay it no mind at all, instead start flitting around my face. I scrunch my eyes and imagine I can hear them snickering at me, chattering to one another with their tiny, high-pitched voices about the stoopid human as they get in my nose and eyes. Double scrunchy face.

Giving a shrug I go on with what I am doing; all the while my mind is working on the fruit fly problem. I look up again at my hanging fruit & vegetable basket and it strikes me - gee, maybe there is SOMETHING IN AMONGST THE APPLES THAT IS ATTRACTING THEM, DOPEY! So I start to remove the apples one by one by one by...eeeew GAK! There, right smack in the middle of the pile, is an extremely rotten apple, with dozens of tiny fruit flies practicing their dives:
forward dive pike from a standing start, back dive in the tuck and, my personal favorite, the free position. Big Scrunchy Face here!

Richard dispatches the foul apple to the garbage and the little fruit flies soon disappear. I keep one eye watching the fruit fly trap, but see nothing. Still, I leave it there; it is after all summer and you can count on them being back, with their dirty little feet walking alllll over the nice fresh fruit and veggies and doing their level best to spoil whatever they touch...maybe its time for another cappuccino, I'm getting a tad bit testy.


We wander back out to the yard. Richard has gone to work - 12 till 8 today - but managed to mow the garden yard for me before he left. I notice that in the tiny pea patch - that has only two very sad looking pea plants, some Scarlet Runner beans, sage, thyme and tomato plants - there are some tomatoes slowly ripening. Maybe there will be some ready for Rylan to pick when she is here on the 23rd. Over at the garden boat, I see one tiny red Tumbling Tom tomato starting to ripen. Will save that for Rylan too. The peas are setting more and more pods everyday. There won't be gallons of them, but maybe we will get a small feed with dinner one night.

Back inside, I check the fruit fly trap. Ah Hah! Suckers! There are 3 fruit flies inside. Will leave it to attract more. Time to vacuum and tidy the kitchen, get dinner plans on go. Periodically I smugly check my trap. At the 4pm trap check, I don't see any fruit flies...I mean NO FRUIT FLIES! My eyes go slitty and search from side to side. How can that be? The little beggars have made a daring escape, and are even now laughing at me from behind their tiny wings. This trap is supposed to be inescapable! Does this mean that, as I have used this trap over the last few years on succeeding generations of fruit flies, the fruit flies have become smarter? have figured out ways to escape the trap and it's been hard-wired into their tiny fruit fly DNA? that I have to devise a different trap?

Naw, it just means I was careless when I made the darned trap and leaving a gap between the top of the jar and the paper cone, and they were able to push through. Phew, for a minute there I was worried about evolving intelligence in fruit flies. Not that there is much concern there. I mean, fruit fly intelligence, that's just laughable...

...still, I DID see a few fruit flies buzzing around my computer monitor the other day. And I DID see one sitting on my keyboard, moving from key to key until I chased it away.

Hmmmmmm.

1 comment:

Kate said...

Snicker/hoot/giggle/guffaw/pmp(peemypants)You are a first class nut who should be doing stand-up on Leno!!!