Thinking About Ticks and Lyme Disease

You can treat your clothes to repel, and even kill, ticks. I knew this treated clothing would repel ticks, mosquitoes, black flies, deer flies, and just about all biting insects, but I did not know it would kill the ticks. That is good news in my book. What it means is that Attila and I were walking tick killers all weekend up at the Rideau Camp. Bravo!

I found this web site tickencounter.org that seems to offer good advice and sound information about ticks, Lyme Disease, and treating clothing with permethrin. Research the method I use before you use it, my method is to make a mixture using 10% permethrin, 1 teaspoon to 4 cups of water in a spray bottle. Caution is advised, research the safe way to do this before giving it a try. I spray clothing hung up on the outdoor clothes line on a calm day, I wear long sleeved clothing, latex gloves, safety glasses, and a breathing mask when I am treating the clothing. This site is interesting, the first I’ve encountered with details on how to treat your own clothing, but even more important to me is all the information on ticks, what they look like, and tips on keeping them under control.

Over the weekend when I was wearing the stretchy pants that did not protect me very well, I did receive “bites” of some kind, although I did not find any ticks, nor did I have any ticks attached to me when we did our nightly tick check, nor have I any of the telltale rings of rash that are common, and have no other symptoms. I did have one small bug biting my finger, and it was very small, so small I could not see it well enough to identify it. At the time I thought it was a no-see-um and killed it; I had no idea ticks could be that small. There is no rash around that bite. Attila and I perform tick checks every night when we prepare for bed, which will be effective for larger ticks, but the teeny tiny ones will be impossible to detect on our freckled skin. We hope for the best, and continue to wear our protective clothing.

I am thinking of creating a bunch of tick tubes to place around Mist Cottage, and around the perimeter of our Rideau Camp, to help keep the tick population under control. It will make the lives of the mice a lot more comfortable, but really, I wouldn’t do it just for the mice, I hate them.

My conclusion, after spending a few hours reading on this topic of ticks and Lyme Disease, is that you can reduce the likelihood of contracting the disease, but in the end it can be contracted by anyone, anywhere in the outdoors, and if you have pets that spend time outside, anywhere in the indoors as well. It isn’t entirely preventable, you are merely able to reduce the odds that you will become infected. I feel the same way about West Nile Virus. It is worth educating oneself, and taking the appropriate precautions, but beyond that it is an act of God as to whether you contract these diseases or not. I’d like to make preventative measures routine, and then just carry on living without thinking much about the threat aspect of the issue.

Luna’s dog Benny was bitten by a black tick, probably near Turkey Point in southern Ontario, contracted Lyme Disease, and died as a result of it. That was very bad luck, particularly since there is a vaccine for dogs to prevent this infection.

It is another hot and sunny day. Yesterday and last night there was a possibility of thunder storms, but they did not materialize. No rain came for the gardens. Attila was up early this morning watering the vegetable and perennial gardens so that they can make it through another day. By the time I had enjoyed my morning cup of coffee, hung out a load of laundry, stewed the rhubarb from the garden, and eaten my breakfast, it was 9:30 a.m. and already 24C and very humid. I scurried out to take my walk before the heat of the day set in, wearing long pants, a long sleeved cotton shirt, sun glasses, and a sun hat to protect me from the intense rays of the sun. I find the sunglasses and the hat necessary, as I am more light sensitive now than I was in my youth… or maybe the quality of the sunlight has changed that much.

Our plans for the humanure system continue. Next Attila will build a composting bin, we have a spot chosen for it that exceeds the cautionary rules in the codes and online suggestions. Hopefully Attila will have it built next weekend, long before we actually need it. Right now we are considering what to use as bottom and top dressing material. Our choices are more restricted because we are do not live at the property, and will probably need to bring in materials, rather than cut them from a lawn, or field.

The two toilet system we have come up with continues to meet our expectations.

Joseph Jenkins, who wrote the book on Humanure, writes that he approached Bill Gates with his system and the ideas were rejected.
“It [Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation] had an endowment of US$44.3 billion as of 31 December 2014. The scale of the foundation and the way it seeks to apply business techniques to giving makes it one of the leaders in venture philanthropy, though the foundation itself notes that the philanthropic role has limitations. In 2007, its founders were ranked as the second most generous philanthropists in America, and Warren Buffett the first. As of May 16, 2013, Bill Gates had donated US$28 billion to the foundation.”
Source: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bill_%26_Melinda_Gates_Foundation

I don’t have any details about why the Humanure system was rejected by Gates, but it seems a shame to me, since the Humanure system can be used in urban settings, public institutions like schools, and in most land based residential situations, with excellent results. The Humanure system does not offer a large corporate profit opportunity, it is not useful to the corporation for venture philanthropy, regardless of how effective and useful it might be, so it continues to be a grass roots approach to dealing with human body waste. I feel Mr. Gates is wrong not to endorse and fund the humanure system of dealing with human waste. I will say that Mr. Jenkins has a very political outlook on the Humanure system, assigning it great moral virtue, and some have written that it will save the world. Personally I find the official Humanure promotional approach off putting, but that doesn’t prevent me from recognizing how practical, inexpensive, environmentally friendly, and easily implemented it is. I am a girl who has used outhouses off and on all of my life, and I like the humanure system a LOT better! There may be a few minutes of bad smells while dumping the buckets, but that is small price to pay for not having to sit in a horrid smelling building each and every time you need to do your business.

I’ve been trying to assess the results from my lab tests in relation to Chronic Kidney Disease, as I haven’t heard from the country GP who requisitioned the tests. One of the indicators is consistent with mildly decreased kidney function, and when considered with the other indicators, it looks like I don’t have much of a problem, particularly considering my age. Of course that is my uninformed conclusion, based on what I’ve read, rather than on experience, and it could be wishful thinking, so I am waiting for feedback from the country GP. It doesn’t seem that I am in any immediate danger, as far as I can tell. I will continue to make my own condiments, to limit the amount of potassium phosphate in my diet, and to eat lots of vegetables, particularly the ones on the kidney friendly list, green beans, corn niblets, peas, and carrots. It won’t hurt me to eat more vegetables! And soon there will be fresh berries!

The heat of the day has not yet dissipated, so I am staying indoors. Atilla is out in the yard “relaxing”, planting additional Scarlet Runner Beans along the fence. They should make for wonderful eye candy while I stand at the sink doing dishes through the rest of the summer.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 7:00 PM EDT Monday 30 May 2016
Partly Cloudy
Pressure: 101.1 kPa
Tendency: falling
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 23.2°C
Dewpoint: 14.6°C
Humidity: 58%
Wind: WSW 16 gust 29 km/h
Humidex: 32


“There’s a difference between a philosophy and a bumper sticker.”
Charles M. Schulz
1922 – 2000

The last time I was on Facebook, quite a while ago now, most of what was shared was the equivalent of bumper stickers, with pictures added. I like personal notes a lot better, but then I don’t approve of giving the corporation of Facebook exact records of ones personal relationships. The more things change the more they stay the same.

Sunny Days

Thursday, April 28, 2016

It temperature dipped below freezing last night, but bounced back up after the light of dawn. Although this cold weather is not much to my liking, I am grateful not be on the west coast of Scotland right now, where some areas have received three inches of snow, and it has been described as the heaviest snow fall of the winter; on April 28th, imagine that.

Yesterday I watched a YouTube video, “Elizabeth at 90 – A Family Tribute”. When returning to get the link to include here, the video was gone, with the message “This video contains content from BBC Worldwide, who has blocked it on copyright grounds.” Such a shame really, as we can’t get the BBC programming here in Canada, and now I can’t share the link. I enjoyed the tribute very much, it showed me a side of Queen Elizabeth I hadn’t really seen before, it was chiefly narrated by Prince Charles, in conversation with Queen Elizabeth, and includes comments from many members of the Royal Family.

Friday, April 29, 2016

Today dawned sunny, and slightly colder than yesterday morning. However, the temperature had not fallen below freezing last night, so the temperature rose through morning at a quicker pace.

This morning I was thinking of a story a friend of mine told me about his daughter. When she was quite young they were playing hide and seek. To avoid being found she would cover her eyes and shout, “you can’t see me.” In her innocence she believed that this tactic worked.

Next door to us live two little boys. They are as different as “chalk and cheese”. The older loves to talk, he makes eye contact, smiles a lot, and is affectionate. The younger loves to explore, he asks questions, and will walk through any door that is open, anywhere. When I arrived home in the car last week, after having been out, the older boy ran up to the car door as I emerged, threw his arms around my neck and gave me a big hug. Then off he ran to join his mother and brother, as they headed down the street for their walk. He whispered to his mother, “I have a secret. I hugged her.” Then he giggled. Who wouldn’t be completely charmed by such a boy.

Today I searched for “Elizabeth at 90 – A Family Tribute”, and found that someone else had posted it to YouTube. I guess the BBC is going to have their hands full trying to put the Genie back in the box. Really though, it is such a lovely tribute to the Queen that I feel it should be freely available to the public. As I watched it I realized that what I appreciate about the Queen is the continuity she has provided. My whole life her picture has officiated the classrooms where I was taught, the libraries I visited, and many other public places. One of my Aunts kept a Royal Scrapbook, which I loved to look at when I was young. The Royal Family didn’t play an active role in my existence, but the Queen has always been there, actively demonstrating that with privilege and honour came responsibility and consideration.

Projects that needed to be accomplished before our next visit to the Rideau Camp were tackled.

First, there have been various media alerts that tick season has begun. While the Lyme Disease carrying black ticks are not found near Mist Cottage, or our Ancestral Camp, the Rideau Camp is in black tick territory. This means that we need to exercise caution while working, or recreating, at the Rideau Camp. To that end, Attila’s coveralls needed to be treated with permethrin, to aid in repelling ticks. This morning, when I carefully applied the permethrin spray to Attila’s coveralls, I treated an old pair of pants of mine. That gives me two pairs of pants that will repel ticks, mosquitoes, and black flies. I only have one treated shirt, an old, large man’s shirt that I picked up at a used clothing store. A second one is called for, and is on the shopping list for the next visit to the charity shops. In addition, a pair of sharp tweezers for tick removal was added to the first aid kit. Best to be prepared.

Second, the driveway and parking area at the Rideau camp are crushed stone. There are a lot of tall weeds growing up out of the crushed stone. I am going to spray the area of crushed stone with a mixture of epsom salts, vinegar, and Dawn detergent, to get rid of the weeds there.

Here is a photo to warm the cockles of your heart, our very own septic tank at the Rideau Camp. This gem was part of the deal, it came with the camp. Unfortunately it is garbage, it leaks, it is cracked. We won’t be stuffing this 5 foot high inheritance into a green garbage bag, throwing a tag on the bag, and putting it on the curb to go out with the trash! It might come in handy during a flood, we could stand on it.
Septic tank

Worldly Distractions


Date: 10:00 AM EDT Thursday 28 April 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.1 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 5.2°C
Dewpoint: -6.4°C
Humidity: 43%
Wind: NNE 17 gust 30 km/h

Date: 8:00 AM EDT Friday 29 April 2016
Condition: Mostly Cloudy
Pressure: 102.0 kPa
Tendency: rising
Visibility: 24 km
Temperature: 4.4°C
Dewpoint: -7.4°C
Humidity: 42%
Wind: NE 26 gust 37 km/h


“Anything that has real and lasting value is always a gift from within.”
Franz Kafka
1883 – 1924

Fond Farewell Benny

A sad day today for our family. Luna’s dog Benny was bitten by a tick last spring, and her health has been deterioring ever since, she was diagnosed with Lyme Disease shortly after she was bitten by the tick, the medication did not help in her case. She came to visit us on Sunday, with her people, and we all had a lovely time, on a very beautiful, warm, sunny day. She wasn’t feeling well, or strong, but did enjoy herself sitting in the water at the lake, and swimming around a little bit. The visit was cut short today, so that Penny could be taken to the vet, as she was very weak this morning, and not feeling at all well. Sadly, the vet said her heart was the problem, and recommended that she be put to sleep rather than suffer. We lost Benny today.

We did have a lovely few days with Benny and the Grandbabies and Bim and Luna and Lares. Everywhere we went, and everything we did included Benny, who needed to be carried. We all went to Granny and Grandpa’s house for a picnic, and everyone had a great time looking around the house, and playing in the yard. We took a walk down to the camp lot, and had a good time exploring there. I taught the Grandbabies the poem I had been taught at school, to remember one of Elmer’s Safety Rules they taught back then:
Single file,
Indian style,

Facing traffic all the while.
This is vital information for safely walking or running along the side of a high speed road, where there are no sidewalks. On our journey we passed a twenty-something jogger, in full fancy regalia, who had invested a lot of money in his hobby, but none of his intelligence.

We all proceeded over to Harriet’s cottage and played in the water for the rest of the afternoon. As the afternoon waned, we returned home to dinner, a campfire, and of course, roasted marshmallows.

This morning, since Benny was feeling very weak, and not at all well, we went for short walks to the back of our property, and then down to the dock across the road, where Luna and Tink went wading. Then off they all went, heading for home so that Benny could visit the Vet.

Later Luna texted me to let us know that Benny had passed. She is suffering no more.

Benny, enjoying the water at the lake on Sunday afternoon.

While we were at Granny and Grandpa’s we visited with an aquaintance I made over the internet. He is married to my second cousin once removed, and knew my Granny and Grandpa, my Mom, and my Aunts and Uncle. Another cousin came along as well for the visit and we had a lovely chat, sitting in the shade, while the children played and explored.

NOTE: Since I arrived back from the little house the city I have had nothing but trouble with our Bell internet connection. Last Thursday I called the techinical support line and she said she fixed it, updated the “line” she said, but it cut out again this morning and here I am without an internet connection. The technical support person on the line this morning asked me if a new power supply had been sent to me, first I’ve heard anything about power supplies. He is sending me another one. It may or may not arrive. Bell has my address wrong, so if the unit ever arrives it will be a small miracle. Our Post Office will sometimes return mail to sender, if the box number is incorrect or missing, even though they know who we are. I keep giving Bell the correct address and they keep going back to the old one that they created themselves, which is incorrect. I think the only solution is to end the Bell service and search for another company. Bell’s bureaucracy can’t even handle correcting an incorrect mailing address, the company is incompetent, in my opinion. So the notice for this entry did not go out apparently, although I did go through the process of posting it. And only part of this entry made it to the internet, as far as I can tell. What a mess! Since it is a 30 minute drive, one way, to the nearest hot spot, it could be quite some time before I am connected to the internet again!

We have to pay $62 a month for this deplorable service from Bell Canada.

What really disturbs me is that even the government is insisting that significant business be conducted over the internet, and yet internet services are unreliable in so many parts of Canada. With unreliable internet service, how can one possibly comply with government regulations!

There is frequently reference to the book “1984” and big brother these days, but in “1984” big brother was a lot more reliable than the failing infrastructure we see in Canada.

Worldly Distractions


Date: 9:11 AM EDT Tuesday 26 August 2014
Condition: Cloudy
Pressure: 101.7 kPa
Visibility: 16 km
Temperature: 20.1°C
Dewpoint: 18.6°C
Humidity: 91%
Wind: SSE 13 km/h
Humidex: 27


“We know what a person thinks not when he tells us what he thinks, but by his actions.”
Isaac Bashevis Singer
1904 – 1991