Thursday, November 06, 2014

Ticked Off

Tufted Titmouse scolding me for intruding on the wild

No, no, not by the election. There were no real surprises there. 

Nope, it's the darned ticks that irk me. When we were kids we could roll around in the grass all day playing French Foreign Legion, which was a biggie for us....

Or cowboys and Indians, stage coach driver, combat, or any of those things, which we did a lot. (And by the way we played with every imaginable kind of toy weapon....we had a veritable arsenal, plus "real" dummy training rifles out of dad's shop, and all of us still grew up to be responsible tax paying citizens. And yes I was a tomboy and had my own set of plastic grenades, dummy rifle, and all. I was good at football too but too blind and slow to be much use at baseball.)

And yet I never even saw a tick until I worked in an animal hospital in my teens and  a brown dog tick came in on a dog. It caused much consternation among the staff who had never seen one either.

What is up with this? I don't believe for a minute that it is the alleged warmer weather. Ticks don't care how cold it gets, although I once thought they did. Nope, they live in very cold places and come through the harshest winters happy as clams....which by the way are much nicer than ticks, not to mention very tasty.

White-throated Sparrow wondering about the commotion

One might point the finger in a few possible directions. We use vastly fewer pesticides today than we did then. Municipalities routinely conducted spraying for mosquitoes and black flies back then. They wouldn't dare today. This is, of course a good thing in many ways, but there are always unexpected consequences.

And all kinds of critters change their ranges constantly. Didn't they teach us in school that nature abhors a vacuum? If there is a market for the product provided by a bird, animal, or loathsome parasite, it will be filled.

 Or something for them to eat....if you build it they will come. No cardinals to brighten your landscape? Wait a decade or so. No bloodthirsty pests wanting to kill you if you step outdoors? Ditto.

Not to mention, the ticks causing the problems are deer ticks and there are a LOT more deer now than then. I won't tell you what I saw along those lines up in the fields yesterday, but let's just say that they outnumber the cows.....(Alan, send your mama a text if you want the details.)

Anyhow, I helped the boss put the cows up in their field when he went out for wood, and then followed his path up to the T-Field, where he is cutting that wood. 

I am absolutely psychotic about ticks and was constantly careful to choose my path so as not to brush against brush. 

Or twigs. 

Or grass.

I wore high rubber boots.

And still, as I sat editing the photos I took after pishing up a sweet little feeding flock up in the old cow pasture, a deer tick crawled down my arm.

Dagnabbit, I feel sorry for kids growing up today who could never play out in the woods like we did.

Another creature, which is much more common than when we were kids
And much more welcome too.


lisa said...

Yes, the ticks are really bad! I have barn cats that are just full of them.

Cathy said...

Beautiful, beautiful pictures!
And yes . . . I'm so paranoid about ticks that I rarely go towards a woods or field without spraying with repellant. Two of Keith's partner' wives s contracted Lyme disease in Michigan.

Dani said...

We had one hell of a time with the dogs and ticks about 6 months ago. I never would have thought that it would pose a problem living in a city and surrounded by concrete.

Terry and Linda said...

We've had ticks bad here also!


June said...

Seriously, the other day I was considering getting a Seresto collar to wear as an anklet.
For the life of me, I can't figure out what purpose ticks serve. Nearly everything on earth is here for some reason, but ticks...?

threecollie said...

Lisa, I have never seen anything like it!

Cathy, thank you. I am vigilant every time I go outdoors and still get them. Ugh! Lots of Lyme around here, even our doggies.

Dani, they are ridiculous. I hate it when Alan is away, because he is the go-to guy about getting them off!

Linda, worst year I have ever seen!