Sunday, May 2, 2010

The Woods are Full of Creepy-Crawlies

I am a girly-girl. Not a pink princess kind of girly-girl, but a "honey, come quick and kill this bug for me", or standing on the chair screaming when there is a mouse, kind of girly-girl. I'm not a big fan of that kind of thing. Creepy-crawlies are interesting to read about or look at from behind glass, but definitely, not to touch. But living in the woods has slowly begun to cure me of those tendencies. I mean, there are bugs everywhere. I either have to get used to them or stay inside ALL of the time, so I am getting used to them. So used to them in fact that I now catch some bugs with my bare hands in order to feed them to my chickens :)

There are two creepy-crawlies in particular that I am getting used to, but still really don't like very much. The first is ticks and the second is snakes. We live in the woods and these woods are filled with deer, so we have to contend with ticks. I've already spoken with our doctor about it to make sure we are not in danger of contracting diseases and he said that we are too far south to be in danger (the infected ticks are several states further north), so we are not resorting to chemicals to deal with them. We are employing the hungry hen method of tick elimination, hoping that our girls will rid the area immediately surrounding the house of those creepy-crawlies. Until they do that, though, I am getting some experience with removing ticks. I'm hoping to soon post some interesting stuff I learned about tick removal.

Regarding snakes, we've only seen a few and they have all been rat snakes which are non-venomous, so I'm trying to be ok with it :) Here is a picture of the first time we saw one (you will need to enlarge it to really see anything).
We've since seen a few more, once even in my compost, but each time, they were gone when I returned with my camera (I guess they are shy ;). So, in order to make sure we don't have any bad snake encounters, we are doing a few things to keep safe. First, no one goes out into the woods without their boots. Second, we are learning to recognize the difference between venomous and non-venomous snakes. And third, we are working on increasing our situational awareness - really being on the lookout for snakes.

I recently read that chickens will eat mice and small snakes, so my girls are going to help us with the snake population as well as the tick population, I hope. Love my girls!!

I'm going to try to get a garden update posted in the next few days. Its going to be a small garden this year, but its still such fun!!


PaulaB52 said...

Be especially aware down by your pond and the pool area. I'm not sure if you'll have water moccasins, but just be on the lookout. Honestly though, I find that after the first warm month, you rarely see the snakes. We see them constantly in Apr/May but once the really hot weather comes in, they hide out.

I still hate the bugs and snakes. When the stink bugs or hornworms (shudder) get on my tomatoes, I either cut them, leaf and all, with a pair of scissors, or I make the boys pick them off. I just cannot STAND to touch them. Lady bugs, bees, flying wasps, I can leave them alone since they are good garden friends, but those other things...grr and gross. You should have seen me freaking out when I had my white fly infestation last fall. I was about to resort to sevin dust or something even strongerw, but then the weather got cold. Yay. I'm hoping they don't come back.

Even when I turn dirt and a huge earthworm comes to the surface, I freak out. I won't garden without gloves because I can't stand the thought of dirt on my hands. When I deal w/the rabbits, I wear gardening gloves. I have no idea how I'm supposed to deal with a chicken coop LOL. OR even how I'm going to deal with chicken butchering LOL. I guess I'll just "put my game face on" and go with the flow. I figure it's just as gross knowing that I'm pulling the guts out of a grocery store chicken as anything else. Why don't they put the stuff in bags anymore?

Kathleen said...

I have taught Michael not to put his hand or foot anywhere he can not see, like stepping over a branch or rock, lifting boards or stones. We have seen one water moccasin at our pond but lots of water snakes, copperheads and we do have some kingsnakes too. We got to see a kingsnake eat a live copperhead a couple of summers ago. Lori, I keep a bottle of liquid childrens benedryl to give my dogs if they are bitten by a poisonous snake. It will reduce the swelling so the dog can continue to breathe. Two of my westies found a baby copperhead (pencil size) and they both got bit on the nose. They could smell it but couldn't see it in the grass. I was so scared I could have cried. I gave them the benedryl and they slept for a few hours and the swelling went down and they were ok.
Here is a skunked dog remedy, in case you ever need it.
1 quart 3% hydrogen peroxide
1/4 cup baking soda
1 tsp dish detergent
Mix the three and immediately bathe dog with all of it. Allow to remain on the fur for a few minutes. Then rinse and repeat.
I haven't had to use this one yet. lol.

The Book Lady Online said...

Paula, thank you, thank you, thank you!! I'm so glad to know I'm not the only one who's freaked out by creepies. Yuck!! I did touch an earthworm with my bare hands yesterday, though, and I was so proud of myself, I almost Facebooked it, lol.

Would it help you with butchering if you wore gloves? That seems to help me with most things. Bryan laughs, but I can handle almost anything if I have on my boots and my gloves, lol.

I'm sure we have water moccasins near the streams and pond, and probably copperheads,too, since they are common in our area. We are trying to be really careful and very observant.

Kathleen, thank you so much for the info about snake bite remedies and also the skunk remedy. I found out that the snake we thought was a rat snake was really a king snake. Since I know they eat other snakes, I am especially happy to have him here.

We keep liquid children's benedryl here for Bryan in case he has a bad asthma attack, so its good to know it would help with snake bites as well. Indiana, so far, does not wander off into the woods. Hopefully he will stay safe. How frightening about your dogs and the copperhead. Thank God the benedryl helped.

It seems that the warmer weather is driving the snakes into the shade during the day, which is fine with me. I don't mind sharing my woods with them, but I really would rather not see them :)