TALES FROM THE DUMP: First the good news

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There is good news and not so good news. Seems to be a lot that that going around lately.

With all the rain we have had this past week, the good news is that the forest got a good watering down so the forest fire rating will be low for a while. Also, people won’t have to water their lawns or gardens until things dry out. People might save a few bucks on their water bills.

Now the bad news is that you can expect to see a lot of mosquitoes in the not too distant future. Depending on conditions it can take between four days to a month for eggs to turn into adult mosquitoes and one female can lay hundreds to thousands of eggs. So, it doesn’t take long for the mosquito population to spiral out of control. A lot of the swampy areas that have been dry for the last few years will now be wet and that means a lot more breeding areas for the little devils. Also, under the right conditions their eggs can lie dormant for a long time, even several years.

Here is a bit of trivia for you; there are over 3,500 species of mosquito worldwide, 74 of them can be found in Canada but only 60 of those species bite. So not all mosquitoes are you enemy, just the majority of them.

Sometime last week a whole lot of boots showed up at the salvage area of the dump. Columnist Walt Humphries says all those boots should be moved over to the Restore, which sells stuff to raise money for Habitat for Humanity. photo courtesy of Walt Humphries

For the last three or four years we have had very mild fly seasons due to drought. So, this year might be a return to the good old days of lots of flies. That would be good news to a lot of birds and fish that feast on mosquitoes and their larvae and pupae, but not so good news for warm blooded mammals like ourselves that the mosquitoes feast upon. Fly repellent sales may increase dramatically as a result.

Ah the aromatic fragrance of a smoldering mosquito coil wafting through the air. That and the smell of meat charring on the barbecue, those are the sweet smells of summer in the North.

Years ago, I remember hearing a fellow new to the North say to the girl sitting beside him in the Gold Range, “I like the smell of your perfume. What’s it called?” She replies slightly puzzled “OFF!!! Bug and Insect Repellent.”

Wet weather can be a mixed blessing. Hopefully the bush will be greener than it has been and this could help the low bush cranberries or lingonberries grow. Still too early to count on a bumper crop though because a lot can happen between now and the fall harvest. Also, there are a lot of dead or dying trees in the forest in and around Yellowknife because of the drought we had. The city should think about removing them when they can.

The rain certainly played havoc with the road construction that had started. The potholes were so big in some spots they could have swallowed a moose. Also, vehicles going through the quagmire carried mud and debris out to the paved sections and when that dries it is going to make the city even dirtier and dustier than before. The good news is that the bylaw officers are now doing a great job directing traffic. I was impressed and give them credit because standing there directing traffic and waving your arms for an hour at a time three times a day is a good workout. And they were doing it rain or shine.

On the national news the other day the phrase “ad hominem” was suddenly being used a lot. You know that when they pull out ancient Latin phrases, things are getting a little weird. Ad hominem is an argument strategy where you verbally attack someone and call them names rather than addressing the issues the person is talking about. The words retaliation and tariff are being used a lot as well. Retaliation or tit for tat means if someone does something mean to you, you do it right back to them. And tariff is another word for taxes which go directly to the government that imposes them. We try to teach kids not to engage in such behaviours, so when the politicians and world leaders start doing it, watch out. It all reminds me, of grade school recess yard.

Personally, I plan on enjoying the summer and ignoring the mosquitoes and politicians as best I can. After all, our summers are short and we have to make the best of them. Maybe the world needs a new product called BUZZ OFF. A Bug and Politician Repellent.

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