07 February, 2008

Another Day In Paradise

Another day at mom's ranch.

A chigger is a 6-legged mite larva that sucks the blood of vertebrates and causes intense irritation. We got introduced to these tiny guys last Spring. The heavy rains that belted us day after day, setting records, led the way for them to become extremely prolific. We suffered under their influence all Summer as we mowed down the rain soaked, shoulder high grass that surrounded the cabin. With each storm, the mowing began again. This pattern continued for most of the Summer. We tried everything to get rid of the chiggers, so, our bites would disappear. They seemed to thrive on the sprays and cream insect repellents were tried. We put them on our skin, our socks, our boots and our long pants. We also put them on our arms and shirts. Well, guess what we got? Chigger bites everywhere, that kept us itching all Summer. Even though we mowed with our pant legs tucked inside our old knee high snake boots, they still found us. We were real tired of this problem.
We checked with our gardening friends and some of our neighbors and most of them had the same issue. It wasn't until I checked with Joe that I found a solution. He is my neighbor to the East. I can't see his place from mine, unless I crawl up in the tree house on the back forty. From there I can see the roof of his house. He has supplied me with some of the best fresh eggs I have ever had. We always have a nice visit when I return the empty egg cartons. When I have Gypsy with me she tells me she wants one of Joe's chickens real bad. They are always our walking around his yard. During one of our visits, I ask him about chiggers. He said he used sulfur to keep them at bay. I had never heard of that, but, I was glad to learn of something that worked. Well, Winter settled in and we forgot about the chiggers.
Now, the end of Febuary is in sight and the weedeater is in the shop for it's Spring service. We know the mowing will need to be done soon. So, when we were in Craig's Hardware yesterday, we decided to check out the sulfur. Reading all the warning and instructions on the side of the bag that only confused us. We were not sure whether to use it or not. For instance, it said keeps chiggers and ticks off your dog , but, if you get it on you wash your clothes and take a shower? I ask the young check out girl and she wasn't sure what I should do. She went and ask Craig's wife about the problem. I was still stewing, staring at the rows of products used to kill every insect known to man, when his wife walked up to me. She said people put the sulfur in an old sock, tie it off and bang it against their boots and pant legs. Wow, that seemed like a great idea to me. Banging the bag it will be. I am still pondering whether or not I will bang it over Gypsy. There was a warning. I don't want her mad at me. Living with her is difficult enough. She told me at the beginning she doesn't do yard work. She said she is an aristocrat, and they hire people to do jobs like that.
The sulfur in the sock technique will be put to use soon. Look out chiggers, we are ready for you. Our fingers are crossed. If you have never suffered at the hands of chiggers, you might think this is much ado about nothing. Please know you are welcome to come to the cabin and mow anytime. Call to make a reservation. If this results in chigger bites, you will understand our plight. Wouldn't it be nice if sulfur socks could get rid of all those things in life that cause you intense irritation? We will see.


elsa said...

Daniel, nasty news on the chiggers. There is a little known (in this country) cure-all called neem. It's India's apothecary tree and creates nuts (for the oil) and leaves (for crushing and tinctures). The oil is topical ONLY and will keep most itchy, crawly, scratchy things away—and your friends—as it stinks to high heaven. It is, however, highly effective. The leaf comes in capsule and tincture form, both suitable for ingesting. Not only is it a highly concentrated and safe anti microbial, it is one of the best immune system enhancers you can take. Neem is a natural blood sugar regulator, etc. etc. I have used it, my cat has used it. People I know have used it... As you can tell, I'm a neem fan. Check out www.neemamerica.com for more information on this miracle plant. You could also do what mothers in India do for their children: crush neem leaves and tumeric powder, make a paste with water and smear it on. Or all of the above. Good luck!

SmogRanch said...


Thanks for that note. Will forward to my mom. That stuff sounds fantastic.