So living in the country does have some downsides. Not big ones, little ones. Bugs. Nothing in life is perfect of course and the idyllic country living has a dark side. Black flies, ticks and mosquitoes. Now when the weather gets balmy and warm like it has been these last few weeks, the black flies hatch and the ticks come out to play. The black flies only last about 2 or 3 weeks, and to be honest they are a lot better this year than last which is a good thing because black flies and I don't get along. I had one bite on my finger this week and the whole top of my hand swelled up. The ticks are around for most of the summer, but they surge in the spring and then again in the fall. It seems to be that when it gets really hot, they dwindle until you almost forget about them, and then they reappear. Mosquitoes are less of a problem. We do have them but I have lived in far worse places where these are concerned.
Now having chickens roaming the yard helps a lot because they love bugs. They scratch through the leaves and forest floor merrily eating away at all our unwanted pesky little bugs. And even though I'm terrified of them, our bats do a number on the mosquitoes so they are a definite asset to have around.
The ticks though are something I could do with out. They carry a sickness called Lyme Disease. When a tick bites you, he actually buries his head in to your skin and sucks your blood filling up the body cavity. When his body is full he will drop off. If the tick has been biting you for 36 hours, there is a chance that he can pass on Lyme Disease which is a devastating illness. It attacks your Neurological System and Heart and can make you very ill if left untreated.
Now this all sounds terrifying and makes you want to run and hide and take cover, but the reality is, you normally discover them on you long before they even bite, and when they do bite you, you feel it, and you can pull them off pronto and cleanse the area. You can take precautions when you walk in the woods and tall grass by wearing light colored clothing so you can see them, putting the cuffs of your pants in to your socks, and doing a good check on your self when your walk or hike is done.
The other day may husband and I took such a walk in the woods. As we were strolling along I turned to my husband and said, " You know, this looks like an area ticks would absolutely love. Long grass and bushy." Sure enough, we looked down and had ticks crawling up our legs. We went back to the car and picked them off one by one and put them on the hood so we could get a good picture.
Pretty creepy. But really, it's not so bad. People all over the world live with different kinds of creatures whether there are snakes, spiders or killer bees. We adjust, take precautions and get used to it. You learn to live with these little creatures that are in nature. I used to really panic when I found a tick on me and it was not unheard of for me to stop everything and tear my clothes off in a frenzy. But I have overcome my craziness and I now remain calm and collected. That does not remain true for spiders, but that's another story.
Ticks are hard to kill and they say the best way is to burn them, which is what followed after the photo op for the above little friends that tried to hitch a ride on our bodies. I felt no remorse as I stuck the lighter to them. Its us or them. And really, I don't need them to share their Lyme Disease with me, thank you very much.
So now you know the dark side of country living. Out here we are surrounded by everything nature and have to take the good with bad. And really, what's a few bugs to contend with in the scheme of things. And hey, they make the chickens really really happy.