Thursday, October 14, 2010

Day 16 Wildlife

If you consider flies wildlife, then there's plenty of it in this small part of the Apuglian countryside.  In fact, I'm in the process of acquiring a remarkable ability to hunt and kills them dead.

My favourite hunting ground is the kitchen. I prowl the room armed with a simple orange swatter. When I have one of them in my sights, I watch and wait for the bugger to get comfortable. When it starts rubbing its two front legs against each other -- I strike.  
Today alone, I must have extinguished half a dozen of those tormentors.
I tried using the electrified swatter Paola brought last week. It looks like a tennis racket, and has a built in recharger in the handle. The problem is you can't electrocute the buggers in mid air. You have to catch then between the racket and a hard surface and then zap them. Needless to say, this requires specialized skills. Tennis players would probably excel.
When it comes to fly swatting, I say low tech works best. Once you get the flick of the wrist just right, you have a good chance of being able to eat your lunch in peace.
Besides the insects (mosquitos have turned my arms and legs into red polka dots) you'd think there would be plenty of flora and fauna in this countryside. Maybe it's just that I'm a city girl but there doesn't seem to be much of it here. The villages and small towns are all stone. The stone streets run right up against concrete steps and front doors, leaving no space for greenery. There are few trees, few pots of flowers in public areas, even in the piazzas. What greenery there is, mostly in pots, lies hidden in courtyards behind closed doors.
The wide open fields are cultivated and well tended mostly. There are no squirrels here, no scurrying little creatures making noises in bushes, mostly because there are few bushes.

I've seen a few lizards the length of my index finger. One day I stopped on the roadside to look at one as it sunned itself on a warm ochre stone. I swear, it glared at me as though I had disturbed its afternoon nap. Or maybe it was only that the little reptile had never seen somebody with such red hair as I have.
Anyway, we stared at each other a long time before it finally turned and disappeared between the rocks.
Another day, on my way back from a long hike to Sternatia, I saw a dead rat along the old country road I took. The creature was white with tan markings had been turned into roadkill.

Our electrified fly swatter.


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