Ticks

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

Weather

28°C
Date: 7:00 PM EDT Monday 30 May 2016
Condition:
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

Quote

“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.

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8 Responses to Ticks

  1. TopsyTurvy (Teri) says:

    Hi, Maggie! Hope you hear from your doctor soon as to your test results. At least for now things sound pretty good.

    Over here, for the second time in 2 years DH has had a fever followed by a rash. He’s being tested tomorrow for Lyme disease (seems unlikely) and shingles.

    One thing I read recently about looking for ticks, you should check not only between your toes but also your bellybutton!

    I guess with Humanure folks who have little to no acquaintance with outhouses wouldn’t have experience to fully appreciate the concept. I think too that while it would be beneficial Humanure would be missing the cachet for attracting followers that the rich would want to see to finance a deal. We have a long history of ignoring our bodily functions or seeing them as dirty rather than simply – I don’t know a good word right off – maybe utilitarian?

    I’m surprised you were so warm, today. We were supposed to be warm but in the end only made it up to 24C/75F.

  2. Teri, I hope your DH has nothing serious! I guess Lyme Disease is now a danger in Toronto parks, at least that is what I read. I knew about checking the belly button, but hadn’t thought of between the toes! Just checked mine now, all clear.

    I guess you are right about the lack of acquaintance with outhouses, I make the mistake of assuming other’s know what kind of an experience it is. My Granny and Grandpa didn’t have an indoor flush toilet until I was around 18 years old, it was outhouses until then, and there were functioning chamber pots in under the beds for overnight emergencies. We had an outhouse at our summer cottage, we had an outhouse on the farm where I grew up, it is hard for me to imagine a life in which one hasn’t used an outhouse! Human waste commands respect, like hot wood stoves that can cause severe burns, even burn down your house, and lakes where you can drown. There is no place for carelessness when using a humanure system, but luckily they aren’t rocket science to use or maintain properly.

    The weather predictions did call for a hot one here today, but it is cooling down now, I’ve just opened up the house to catch the nice cool, dry breeze, it is lovely.

  3. WendyNC says:

    Our housing subdivision was built in a field area where the soil was so completely depleted after years of corn/soybeans/tobacco that it’s still hard to grow grass. The upside is that after all those years of chemical treatment for the crops, we are still [knock on wood] free of ticks and fleas in our yard. I’m not sure our risk is any greater than it would be from putting nasty systemic chemicals on our animals.

    I’ve dealt with a few outhouses in my younger days, but never had the luxury of a chamber pot. I do remember keeping flashlight under the bed in case a nighttime trip was necessary. I think your composting system has much to say for it.

  4. Bex Crowell says:

    Now that we are in the dog business again, we are back to checking for ticks. Funny (not really) that we never have checked for ticks ourselves… just on the dogs! Those tiny ticks I’ve heard are the “deer ticks” which are the ones that carry the Lyme disease. The “tree” (or larger black) ticks I’ve heard do not, so much. I don’t really know.

    You should go by the name “The Pioneer Woman of the North” – outhouses, campfires, chopping wood, making twig fences… I could see a really interesting tv series in all you do every day!!! Honestly!

  5. Wendy, the soil in your subdivision does sound depleted! The humanure system would enrich it, but I’m not sure I’d try it in an urban setting, although many people do it on small urban lots in high density cities!

    We used chamber pots at my Granny’s house, and they used outhouses all of their lives, year round, and I think the winters inspired the use of chamber pots, because it is mighty cold out there at -40C in the dead of night. An advantage to using it during the warm months when the grand kids (me included) were staying there, was that Granny would have been up and out to the outhouse with us many times during the night. I think the only way she could get a good night’s sleep was to put the chamber pots to use.

  6. Bex, it is the deer ticks that are the big carriers of Lyme disease, but they can be found in urban areas too, I’ve read about their presences in the parks in Toronto.

    Bex, the blogs I read are mostly written by people who are busy doing their own thing; your blog is one of them. I don’t have dogs, but I enjoy being a vicarious pet owner through your blog. Actually there are times when I think it would be nice to be reincarnated as one of your pet dogs, I mean if I have to go and come back that seems to me like an excellent option.

  7. Teri says:

    Here’s a timely article, Maggie. Ticks hidden in clothes can be killed by simply drying the clothes at high heat for 6 minutes – without washing the clothes beforehand.

    http://www.wsj.com/articles/a-six-minute-plan-to-rid-clothes-of-ticks-1464635032

  8. That is a great tip Teri, simple and effective, new skills for new environmental hazzards!