Monday, June 22, 2009

Tick Yoga

by June

something pretty to look at because our topic is so ugly

If it weren't raining so much, we would be getting a lot more exercise this time of year. As it is, our page-turning fingers are lithe, and the muscles that adjust our heads on our pillows are in fine form. But the muscles required to do our nightly tick yoga are getting a little flabby.

If it weren't raining so much, we would be spending our days, sunup to sundown, out in the air. We would tromp through the garden to see what June flowers were blooming (as it is, they are battered to the ground by all the downpours). Birch would be circling the pizza oven daily, one ring of firebricks going up at a time (as it is, the mortar can't cure, and things crumble if he so much as looks at a brick). I would be hauling soil to the new rain garden I'm making outside my garden window (as it is, everything is mud, nothing but). All of this outdoorsy activity would put us in constant reach of the ever-waiting ticks.

With all the rain, we don't have that much exposure. Still, on one of the two of fifteen days when it did not rain, Blossom got a tick. She missed it during tick yoga that night. Tick yoga is when you bend and reach in all directions, trying to see and feel parts of your body that have never been seen or felt (at least by you yourself). Ticks like to go right to the place you yourself have never seen or felt before. That is why we all practice tick yoga with great vigilance. Sometimes we do double or triple tick yoga, which looks a lot like a game of Twister.

Because we were all sun-addled on one of the two days it hasn't rained in the last fifteen, we didn't spot a tick on Blossom. And we didn't know how long it had been attached to her. Since we live in Lyme-disease territory, we removed the tick and immediately called the pediatrician. (If you want more information on the gruesome details of removing ticks, do go see the entertaining Bug Girl, who is not squeamish about these things. One note though: Everybody says to use tweezers. But have you ever come at a kid with tweezers? "They're all pointy!" At Portland's annual garden show, we scored this little tick scoop. Birch tried it out on Blossom's tick, and everybody was happy -- except the tick.) Anyway, here's the public service announcement and purported point of this post: The pediatrician sent us not for antibiotics (as with Birch's last run-in with a tick) but to a local hospital's tick tester. Using a microscope the tick tester determined the tick had been attached for less than the thirty-six hours required to transmit Lyme Disease. So, if your tick yoga turns up a wretched bloodsucker, scoop (or tweeze) it off, save it on a piece of tape, and check to see if your hospital has a tick tester.

These days, because of the rain, we only go outside sheathed in rain slickers and our boots. The ticks can't even smell our warm blood through all that rubber. As our summer-fun muscles atrophy, at least our fingers still get a daily workout: It's a lot of work chopsticking all the slugs out of our floating garden.

Have we mentioned that it's been raining here?

26 comments:

Lisa@The Cutting Edge of Ordinary said...

Great post. We are in tick country too and we are always very careful to do a tick check when we come in from outdoors. Like you, we haven't been able to get out much cause of the rain. Looks like the sun is heading our way by weeks end. Lets cross our fingers...maybe summmer will finally arrive.

Sarah said...

It's pretty rainy in Vermont too! Thanks for your comment on my blog. It is fun to see who is reading and I was glad to check out yours! I used to live in Maine for years. I miss it very much.

Nan said...

You are much more thoughtful to your readers than I was!

http://lettersfromahillfarm.blogspot.com/2008/04/todays-picturewanna-know-what-i-hate.html

Ha ha!

This has been a very low tick year. Hardly any. One on me, a couple on Tom, and only a few on the dogs. Other years I'd find a tick every time I patted my Ben and Sadie. I think everyone around us has had more rain than us. Yes, it has been mostly cloudy, and some showers, but not much real rain. The sun has been very scarce, but as I keep saying, oh the green!! Very, very funny post title, June!

Dirt Princess said...

I hate ticks! We DESPERATELY need rain here. It hasn't rained in over a month and everything is almost dead

ozark summers said...

FLEAS!!!!! that is what you get when it rains!!! so you may have mudd, but at least your ankles don't look like swiss cheese... the dog, the cat, the yard, the humans, ( do chickens get fleas). We have treated the yard, the animals the humans, but until it gets out of the 70% humidity and stops raining for awhile we are all a rotating smorgasbord of blood types for these things. But.. ticks are awful too, esp. if you bring your own to church campouts....keep those yoga fingers stretched...

Janet said...

Yikes!! Don't get me started about ticks - I hate them - yes a low year for them - so far so good. I live in your sister province to the north, Nova Scotia and I miss Maine a lot.As for slugs, have been fighting a battle ever since I planted aquilegia - and at least once a day I go out and stomp on them, and appear to be winning the contest. Don't know what PETA would say about that but I say there are countless law-abiding slugs out there who leave my aquilegia alone - I have no quarrel with them, only with those vandals who go after the flowers!

commonweeder said...

It's rainy rainy rainy here in Heath too. The roses have loved it though, and I love your rose photo. Yesterday, a friend happened to be here when the sun came out for 10 minutes and we raced out and made my very first video among the roses. It is posted on my blog. I hope you'll visit.

Utah Grammie said...

Ah yes, I remember tick well- from my growing up in Arizona. We didn't have that nifty little tick-scoop. See how time has changed even the ucky parts of outdoor life? Bless her little heart - hopefully, that will be the first and LAST tick on her this season :-)

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