When we went to Clear Lake Cottages in Northern Ontario, my father would make us dig our fishing worms from under the cow pies. He wasn’t trying to be mean, he did it too. He truly thought the worms would gather under the cow poop and digging there was a really good idea. I have no thoughts about this theory that can be expressed in a g-rated blog.
I can testify that the best cow pies were to be found just on one side of the cattle crossing. The cattle were to be kept on one side of the gate so as to keep them from coming into the camp and foraging amongst our garbage…or maybe that was the bears. At any rate, there were bars with openings that apparently cattle shy away from, like vampires and garlic only wholesome. So the cattle would poop a lot on their side of the gate while plotting to overtake the camp. My father in his wisdom named this area “worm heaven.” He would stop the car at the gate and call out “worm heaven” then drive on muttering about no passengers getting on or off the car. This exempts the blackflies and mosquitos of course. They rode for free.
My sister visited us for the last couple days and we have had an experience of nightmarish proportions. Chester walked through some high grass and got a couple ticks. I can hardly type the word…I go into a genuine freak-out mode with ticks. I don’t care if you never saw a tick in your life, you would know what it is. Thank goodness she was here to ground me a little with comments like, “oh I’ve probably had a thousand ticks on me.” She’s a naturalist so ticks are old hat. Seriously though that did help. Plus none of them were embedded thank you God.
We examined every inch of poor Chester, and the couch. I had taken him down Bacon Road which is a known ticky area but usually not this early in the year. And he never had more than one. I had brushed one off of him but either there were more than I saw or this was the magical reappearing tick because I had one on my leg and arm too. EEEEEEEeeeeee. Kim flushed them and we both started feeling a little itchy. But we had identified the area and the time of the attempted hijacking of the dog by the beasts, and we were pretty confident we had them all.
The next day we went to Holden Arboretum to see the stickworks, an art piece made of willow branches. It is very cool. Here is a picture of my sis in stickworks. I may have posted one of these before, if so pretend you didn’t see it, and if you are an older reader you probably forgot anyway, I know I did.
We had a wonderful walk and got a free Redbud tree for Arbor Day. We came home, dropped off Chester then went to lunch. When we came back, I went to pet Chester and there was another tick! This was a new kind of tick and my sister the naturalist seemed more concerned. Then she found one on herself which got us both feeling buggy again. ARGH!! She took pictures of this one but I won’t torture you with a pic, I would have to block myself. I was on the phone to the vet immediately begging for some Bravecto flea and tick medicine since I tore apart the pet closet and realized I was out. They were most accommodating and we dashed there (as fast as we could while fuming at the stupid 35 mile/hour speed trap in Madison…) got the Bravecto and rushed home. I ran into the house and gave Chester the supposedly dog pleasing flavored pill which he promptly spit out. I covered it with peanut butter. He licked the peanut butter off and spit it out. Honest to Saint John what was wrong with this dog?? I covered it with peanut butter, wrapped bread around it and made him do a trick. That worked; he spit out some but ate most. I repeated the peanut butter prompt and it was successful. I haven’t seen a tick since, so I think we caught them with no harm done. I washed and dried the clothing and vacuumed my car. Again, none were embedded so I didn’t have to deal with that horror. I’m taking the gruesome experience as a warning.
As we were driving home later from another outing, I stopped the car on Bacon Road where I believe we picked up the first of the monsters. I stopped the car and called out, “Tick Heaven.” My sister complimented me on my delivery, and I felt like I had won an academy award. For just a minute we were kids again, shaking our heads at the thought of visiting worm heaven with shovels and buckets. But this time I didn’t wait long enough for anything to jump in or on or remotely close to the car.
So if you have a dog and live in Ohio, be aware. Do a check after walking in a park and try not to let them into long grass. Check yourself too, before you go in the house. Wear light colors since they will show up better. They don’t take over your house like fleas but they are good at hiding. Flea and tick medication is expensive but it lasts several months and for me is worth every penny.
I’m not terrified of ticks any more. I faced that fear out of necessity and had no choice whether to deal with it or not. Chester’s health was at risk. It seems like once I actually experience and deal with the fear I’m wary but not terrified. Maybe it’s not knowing that creates the fear. My dad could laugh at just about anything and sometimes that’s the only option. I’m not exactly laughing out loud but I can call out “tick heaven” and shake my head. Meanwhile, we are staying away from long grass. We won’t be walking there, but I will acknowledge them.
Below is Chester and his flea-free bunny.