Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Chiggers

by Cassondra Murray

Are y’all feeling good after Jeanne’s yummy-smelling perfume blog yesterday? Well, brace yourselves, because I’m fixin' to replace that good-smelling afterglow with somethin' worse’n a pot o’ cabbage boilin’ on the stove.

For any of you who have NOT smelled cabbage cooking, “stinks” does not even begin to describe it. It’s enough to turn you against green plants and gardens in general.

I’m just warning you. So if you think you can take it, go right ahead. Read on.

No, I am not blogging about stinky stuff.

Well, then again, maybe I am, in a metaphorical kind of way.

Y’all remember the malt vs float blog from last month, right? The one where Jeanne and I chose sides? (I was float, she was malt.) That’s one point on which my evil twin, the dear Duchesse Jeanne Pickering Adams, and I, part ways. Another point on which we differ is that she prefers winter. She likes to shiver. I, on the other hand, hate to be cold, and am a shameless hoyden for spring and summer—oh and a nice long, unseasonably warm autumn that lingers until mid-December.

It doesn’t bother me at all to have the heat, as long as it’s not a horrid drought. People say, “but it’s a dry heat!” And I say, “so is hell.”

And it doesn’t bother me as long as I can get relief, when I want it, with air conditioning, a tall glass of lemonade or my grandmother’s sun tea (sweet tea, of course, as anything else is just wrong), or even a nice cool glass of chilled Sauvignon Blanc.

Jeanne hates the beach. I was born with a palm tree in my soul.

In most other ways, we are indeed evil twins.

I’ll sit on the porch, sipping my icy beverage, and gently “glow” (that's ladylike country talk for "sweat" in case y'all didn't know) into the long summer evening as the sun sets in a streaky purple and cerise-colored sky, and the lightning bugs flicker across the tall fescue in the pasture. Jeanne will be fanning and wanting to go inside where it’s cool.



That love of summer firmly established, I admit that there is one thing about summer which I am never loathe to see pass.

Chiggers.

Do you have chiggers where you live?

I hate chiggers.

For you lucky souls who do not have chiggers where you live, and may not know their entymology or (sarcasm alert)the joy of having multiple chigger bites on your body, all itching at the same time…well…let me just say right here that chiggers are NOT ticks. And since we’ve known about Lyme Disease, and especially since Brad Paisley came out with that song about ticks….

I’d like to see you under the moonlight
I’d like to kiss you way back in the sticks
I’d like to walk with you through a field of wild flowers
And I’d like to check you for ticks


…..Well, ever since that, ticks have gotten way more than their fair share of publicity.

Honestly. You can see a tick when it’s crawling on you. Even the itty bitty deer ticks, though they take a bit of concentration to identify. When you take off your clothes at home and shower, you’re quite likely to notice a tick trying to make its way up your leg. I have a reasonable level of hatred for ticks (and most other things with more than two legs which attempt to crawl upon me). But that is honest parasitic advancement, in my opinion.

Chiggers, on the other hand....chiggers are sneaky.

Do you know what chiggers look like?

Probably not,because you can’t actually see the microscopic little buggers, but if you’ve ever had chiggers, you know what I’m saying. I had a picture of a chigger all ready to post, but I decided against it. I figure y'all have computers, and know how to use Google. If you want to know what these little critters look like, it's just a Google search away.

Ahem...back to the point...

If you’ve ever picked blackberries, I’m guessing you know all about chiggers.

Wild blackberries are my favorite summer fruit. I grew up picking blackberries with my family every summer. So one summer just after Steve and I got married, I was feeling all sentimental about my childhood, and when I got the chance to pick blackberries, I took it.

A friend of Steve’s had several acres, and each year he used his riding mower to mow paths around the clumps of wild blackberry bushes, or “vines” as we called them in Southern Kentucky.

I suppose these paths of short lawn-like grass gave me a false sense of security.

We spent the afternoon, and I came home to our tiny apartment with a gallon of the incredible rich, sweet-tart fruits, and my tummy already full from eating them straight off the vines. But by that evening the red bumps started to show up.
I was covered with chigger bites. Steve counted 120 itchy red bites on my body. I was miserable.

For you who are lucky enough to NOT know, most chigger bites happen in the spots where your clothes are tight. Chigger bites aren't actually "bites" you see. And they're not terribly dangerous.

The teensy little mites simply move into one of the hair follicles in your skin-- and there they set up housekeeping for a few days. A few very itchy days.

They prefer the hair follicles in restricted areas. Like the crease under your breasts where your bra rides. Isn’t that a fun place to have red bumps that are itching like fluttering hell-bats from the pits of doom?

Or your tummy where the waistband of your pants rests. Oh, and the best place of all--the elastic legs of your panties. Yeah. They congregate there--where your body moves and bends—and in places like your ankles, just under the bands of your socks.

And that movement? That just makes them itch all the more.


And there is Nothing. You. Can. Do. About. It.

Like Measles or Mumps or the flu, they have to just do their thing. Run their course.

The “experts” say they gravitate to those spots because they like the dark--areas of tight clothing. Me? I think they just go as far as they can go and most of them stop right there, where the clothing gets tight, and it’s too bloody much trouble to climb any further. And that’s where they dig in.

If I were a chigger, that's what I would do.

Lazy little sorry critters they are.


Of course, “dig in” is wrong too, according to the experts.

I suppose I owe it to the experts to say that chiggers are a mite-like thingy. And it’s the larvae which are the trouble. They look nothing like larvae to me. They look more like a tick, in their larval stage, actually. A tick you cannot see. Otherwise, the experts say, chiggers, or “harvest mites” of which there are more than 30 species (oh JOY!) don’t cause any trouble. It’s just that larval stage.

They say if you go home and shower immediately you can wash the chiggers off. I have not found that to be the case. Showering has never helped me because the chiggers have already found their spots and sandbagged themselves in.

I’ll spare you the details of their actual activity while in your follicles. The point is, they itch like all heck.

People have said for a long while now that if you paint over the chigger bite with
nail polish that it’ll kill it—that it can’t breathe then . I suppose it does appeal to the logic, doesn’t it? The idea that this layer of shellac-like nail polish suffocates the itchy little demons to death.

After all, if I’m going to itch and suffer, I’d like for the cause of it to suffer along with me.

However, being from strong country stock, as I am, I’ve never believed this. And this is one point on which the experts agree with me. They say this nail polish trick does absolutely no good.
I don’t know what I think about the experts and their opinions about chiggers. They may be right. Or not.


That evening so many years ago, Steve painted all 120 of those chiggers with pink nail polish.


When I was a little girl, my parents would get me ready to pick blackberries in the following way: First, I had to wear long pants and long sleeves. Then they took a kerosene—yes, kerosene—dampened cloth and swabbed it around my wrists and ankles.

And you know what?

Nary a chigger.

That’s right. It kept the chiggers away. And given the negative qualities of DEET, which is the only kind of insect repellent which will keep chiggers away, I’m not certain the kerosene was any worse.

But that day when I was first married, I had no kerosene, and the blackberry picking was a spur-of-the-moment thing. I thought only briefly about chiggers, then I determined to be careful.

Ha! Chiggers give no heed to careful. They jump—yes, according the the experts, they wait on vegetation and jump toward their intended hosts.

This past June I cleared the weeds away from the flower bed around my mailbox. Tall weeds. Lots of them. And guess what?

That evening Steve counted 116 chiggers on me. And he painted them with clear nail polish. I told him I thought that didn’t do any good. He said just in case it did, we should paint the chiggers.

I itched for three days.

I hate to see the end of summer, but the one thing I do not mourn is chiggers. They can freeze their little chigger hienies off with the first frost. Jeanne, you are vindicated.

I hope they go to the darkest corner of chigger hell.

What about you, Bandits and Buddies?

Are there chiggers where you live?

Have you ever had a chigger bite?

I’m not allergic to poison ivy. Are you? If so, what do you do to stop the itching?

I have a selfish motive here, because I’m writing a scene in my latest manuscript like this….have you ever read a scene in a book where the hero or heroine was all itchy?

Hmmm…it doesn’t sound all that romantic, does it?

Are you a summer person like me? Or are you like Jeanne—a winter person? Do you look forward to the greening in the spring? Or to the first frost of Autumn, when the bugs get their comeuppance?


It’s the end of summer. Are you glad? Or are you sad?


And did you ever pick blackberries?

60 comments:

barb said...

looks like he is here again

Cassondra said...

Barb, you got the rooster!

What are you two going to do today?

Jane said...

Congrats, Barb.

Hi Cassondra,
I have yet to run afoul of chiggers. Not sure if there are chiggers here in the city. I love autumn. The weather is so much more comfortable.

marybelle said...

We have midges here in Australia. I am imagining they are kind of the same. Very small & bitey.

We are coming in to Spring soon. Hallelujah!!!!

barb said...

Hi Cassondra...we are going to spend the evening in the heating as it is cold here being winter... we will be having tim tams LOL

I don't mind heat or cold as long as I have heating and an air conditioner

It does say we have a species of chiggers and they are called scrub-itch mite (found this out on google) but I have never seen any ... we have enough other things that bite and make you itch like mozzies,sand flies and march flies.... some people are more allergic to them than others ... not sure if it is my UK blood but I am more allergic to them.... had a couple last week and we are in winter.... if you walk through the rain forests you can pickup leeches and they make you itch to as you can't feel them until too late...

Never read a book where the hero or heroines is itchy.....

I have been blackberrying back in the UK and never met any chiggers

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Are there chiggers where you live?
Oh yeah, definitely have chiggers in WV

Have you ever had a chigger bite?
Many times, Mother told me not to roll around in the grass.


I’m not allergic to poison ivy. Are you? Not anymore, I was when I was young.

I have a selfish motive here, because I’m writing a scene in my latest manuscript like this….have you ever read a scene in a book where the hero or heroine was all itchy?
Don't remember reading anything like that but it should be interesting.

Are you a summer person like me? Or are you like Jeanne—a winter person? Do you look forward to the greening in the spring? Or to the first frost of Autumn, when the bugs get their comeuppance?
I prefer the cold to the heat, I can only strip off so far and people get concerned.

It’s the end of summer. Are you glad? Or are you sad?
I am definitely glad, done with the whole cut the grass and have heat stroke season.


And did you ever pick blackberries?
When I was young, then we would spend hours "putting them up", no air conditioning and what seemed like a dozen or more women running our little legs off. Go get more jars, makes sure uncle put those on the right shelf, bring me another bag of sugar, etc.

Helen said...

Whoo Hoo Barbara get the pot of tea ready LOL

Cassondra

I am glad I have never seen these and yes I used to have blackberries growing in my back yard when I was a kid and loved them but never had a chigger bite me. I have been bitten by sand flies and it was soo horrible and painful.

Love the sound of the book you are writing imagine how the hero would be able to sooth and help the heroine.

I love winter as well sorry I feel the heat so bad but I do have and air con so I cope these days

Have Fun
Helen
Back to filling out the census form YUK such silly questions LOL

Caren Crane said...

Barb! You are either really lucky or the GR simply doesn't want to move out. Ha!

Cassondra, I grew up with chiggers in middle TN and we have LOTS here in NC! I recall my oldest coming home from YMCA day camp covered in chigger bites when he was 5 or 6. Try to tell a kid that age there is nothing you can do for the itching. Lawzy!

I also recall wearing long sleeves, long socks and jeans to pick blackberries. We always thought we would die of the heat! I have used bug spray and lotion with DEET and it works well, but we used kerosene when I was little and that worked just as well. Of course, my father was a bigger proponent of the kerosene than my mother. For some reason, she had an issue with wrapping us in kerosene-soaked rags. Ha!

Blackberries are totally worth it, though. And as expensive as they are in the grocery store (about $1 and ounce), they might as well be gold-plated. It's worth the risk of chigger bites to go after those delicious, seedy nuggets!

Oh, and I definitely prefer WINTER. I have lived in the South all my life and I DESPISE summer. I do love the sound of cicadas in August, though, because it means autumn can't be too far behind! *eg*

Nancy said...

Barb, congrats on the bird!

Cassondra, I prefer summer to winter, though I've become a bit of a wimp about heat. I now lean more toward spring or that lingering autumn you mentioned. And I love the beach!

Yes, we have chiggers here. My grandfather, the former farm boy, made us tuck pants into socks and wear long sleeves to pick blackberries. To be on the safe side, he insisted that we take baths after and told us to sink down to our necks to drown any chiggers. He also said the clothes should go in the wash, and my mom complied. Overkill, maybe, but I never had chiggers.

Just BTW, I think Steve gets husband points for persisting with his count even though it was so high and then painting all of the spots just in case. That's a lotta spots!

The bane of summer here is mosquitoes. The dh just returned from visiting his family in the Colorado Front Range. They live at 8000 feet (above sea level), and there are no mosquitoes. They pick wild raspberries regularly, and I've never heard them mention chiggers. I'd ask him about them, but he's not home and, you may recall, will not carry a cell phone.

MsHellion said...

I have picked blackberries (when I was a kid) and I don't remember the chiggers, THOUGH I have gotten my fair share of chiggers. It's why I won't lay in the grass in my yard. I don't have a fondness for mosquitoes either. And I'm also allergic to poison ivy. Honestly I'm allergic to just about anything.

I don't remember reading a scene where the heroine had a (comical) allergic reaction of this proportion, but I imagine that it would be rather hilarious to read. *LOL*

I prefer cooler weather to the nasty dead heat we've had this summer. This has been NUTS. But I do have a palm tree in my soul. I love the beach and ocean--I just don't want to be hot while I'm enjoying it. (Spring is my favorite season--it's warm but not intolerable. And it's hopeful, everything's coming around again.)

Nancy said...

Cassondra, I checked with the dh, who reports that chiggers are not a concern in the Front Range, at least not as his folks' altitude. Of course, mountain lions occasionally are. . . .

catslady said...

I live in PA and although I know we have ticks I don't think we have chiggers or at least not in the suburbs lol. Is it possible they live in most full time hot areas like the south? And although I don't like high humidity, I'd rather be in the heat than the darn freezing cold and shoveling snow. Back to itching - I am allergic to poison ivy and just last year had a case that lasted almost 3 months!! And that was with getting steroid shots too. It started at my forehead and went down to my chest. I tried everything but only got very temporary relief - rubbing alcohol, neosporin, hot/cold etc. I'm not staying those chiggers aren't bad but I think I'd rather have 3 days and I'm really laughing at the thought of having my husband paint me up in pink nail polish lol.

Donna MacMeans said...

Cassondra - hugs on the chiggers. You must be in Hell.

Yes, I've had them, mainly as a kid. I've heard the nail polish solution, but thought those things were taking an awfully long time about dying given the itching that continued. Mostly now I suffer from the occasional mosquito bite. I know that itching will stop (it's nothing like the itch of a chigger bite) but my solution is to ice the bite, or stay in a swimming pool. The cold seems to stop the itching.

Now as to poison ivy - I never got that either until about six years ago. I don't know if it was poison ivy, or oak, or sumac - but it was awful and nothing over the counter seemed to help. I ended up going to one of those 24 hour emergency places. They gave me a prescription for steroids that stopped the itching immediately and cleared up the rash that was popping up everywhere.

I much prefer summer over winter with autumn being my all time favorite. Comfortable weather to be outside. Beautiful fall colors. Cool nights with open windows - good sleeping weather. I'm not crazy about blackberries or raspberries because of the seeds - but I do have blackberry bushes in my back yard. I leave the picking to my daughter.

Cassondra said...

Sorry everyone!

I'm late getting here today. Ran into some issues I had to take care of this morning.

Fortunately, no chiggers were involved.

Cassondra said...

Jane said:

Hi Cassondra,
I have yet to run afoul of chiggers. Not sure if there are chiggers here in the city. I love autumn. The weather is so much more comfortable.


Fall used to be my favorite time too. Now it makes me a little melancholy because as I've gotten older I like the long days and lots of light. I always hate to see those go.

In my (rather haphazard) fifteen minutes of research about chiggers for this blog, I did find that northern states don't have as many chiggers, so if you haven't run into them, that may be why. And let me just say, you're lucky. Down here, they're everywhere.

Cassondra said...

marybelle said:

We have midges here in Australia. I am imagining they are kind of the same. Very small & bitey.

We are coming in to Spring soon. Hallelujah!!!!


Midges? Do they leave itchy red bumps too?

And hooray! Another lover of spring!

Cassondra said...

Barb said:

Hi Cassondra...we are going to spend the evening in the heating as it is cold here being winter... we will be having tim tams LOL

Well, he'll be glad of that for certain. He's a comfort-loving rooster. Spoiled rotten thing.


It does say we have a species of chiggers and they are called scrub-itch mite (found this out on google) but I have never seen any ... we have enough other things that bite and make you itch like mozzies,sand flies and march flies....

Oh, that's right. Y'all have more nasty bug-type creatures than most down there, don't you! Along with scary big lizards and such. If you don't have chiggers, that's probably a good thing, although marybelle said you have midges, which might be similar.

I've noticed some people are more allergic to them than others ... not sure if it is my UK blood but I am more allergic to them.... had a couple last week and we are in winter.... if you walk through the rain forests you can pickup leeches and they make you itch to as you can't feel them until too late...

Okay that's one strike against rain forests right there. Leeches? Blech.


Never read a book where the hero or heroines is itchy.....

And you may never, if I can't pull this off. We'll see. *grin*

I have been blackberrying back in the UK and never met any chiggers

I'm thinking the UK is too far north and there are no chiggers there. The south is wonderful, but it does come with bugs, doesn't it?

Cassondra said...

Regarding blackberry picking, aka Dianna said:

When I was young, then we would spend hours "putting them up", no air conditioning and what seemed like a dozen or more women running our little legs off. Go get more jars, makes sure uncle put those on the right shelf, bring me another bag of sugar, etc.

Oh...y'all made jelly or jam?

*slurp*

Blackberry jelly and jam is my favorite kind.

Cassondra said...

Helen said:

I am glad I have never seen these and yes I used to have blackberries growing in my back yard when I was a kid and loved them but never had a chigger bite me. I have been bitten by sand flies and it was soo horrible and painful.

I think we've determined that you don't have them down under. Sand flies? I haven't seen those. I'm probably glad, right?

Love the sound of the book you are writing imagine how the hero would be able to sooth and help the heroine.

Now see, I knew someone would get it! *grin* But it might be the hero who gets the chiggers. I'm writing it both ways and I haven't decided. I'm a mean, mean author, aren't I?

Back to filling out the census form YUK such silly questions LOL

Y'all have your census on odd years down there, eh?

Cassondra said...

Caren said:

I grew up with chiggers in middle TN and we have LOTS here in NC! I recall my oldest coming home from YMCA day camp covered in chigger bites when he was 5 or 6. Try to tell a kid that age there is nothing you can do for the itching. Lawzy!

Oh yeah. And telling him not to scratch. It does get them kind of stirred up, I think, when you scratch them. Makes them itch more.

I also recall wearing long sleeves, long socks and jeans to pick blackberries. We always thought we would die of the heat! I have used bug spray and lotion with DEET and it works well, but we used kerosene when I was little and that worked just as well. Of course, my father was a bigger proponent of the kerosene than my mother. For some reason, she had an issue with wrapping us in kerosene-soaked rags. Ha!

Ahahahaha! Another person who used kerosene! We didn't tie the rags on us, we just wiped the dampened cloth over our wrists and ankles. It worked great. Better than DEET in my experience.

Blackberries are totally worth it, though...It's worth the risk of chigger bites to go after those delicious, seedy nuggets!

Amen sistah!

Cassondra said...

Nancy said:

Yes, we have chiggers here. My grandfather, the former farm boy, made us tuck pants into socks and wear long sleeves to pick blackberries. To be on the safe side, he insisted that we take baths after and told us to sink down to our necks to drown any chiggers. He also said the clothes should go in the wash, and my mom complied. Overkill, maybe, but I never had chiggers.

Apparently not overkill. If you picked blackberries in the south, and did not get chiggers, he was doing something right! So maybe you can drown a chigger. But not after it's in the follicle apparently. Or maybe the bath just washed them off before they got a good hold.

Just BTW, I think Steve gets husband points for persisting with his count even though it was so high and then painting all of the spots just in case. That's a lotta spots!,

Yes, he did earn points both times.

I think this must have been a bad year for chiggers though. I've tromped around in the weeds here (I live in farm country) since we moved here, and this was my first batch of chiggers.

The bane of summer here is mosquitoes. The dh just returned from visiting his family in the Colorado Front Range. They live at 8000 feet (above sea level), and there are no mosquitoes.

Wow. No mosquitoes. I can't even imagine that but it would be wonderful.

Cassondra said...

MsHellion said:

I have picked blackberries (when I was a kid) and I don't remember the chiggers, THOUGH I have gotten my fair share of chiggers. It's why I won't lay in the grass in my yard. I don't have a fondness for mosquitoes either. And I'm also allergic to poison ivy. Honestly I'm allergic to just about anything.

Oh, allergies to lots of things have to be a pain in the rear if you grow up in the country.

I don't remember reading a scene where the heroine had a (comical) allergic reaction of this proportion, but I imagine that it would be rather hilarious to read. *LOL*

Well, I dunno. I'm hoping it works. We'll see. I don't know. But it does prove you can use just about any life experience in a book, doesn't it?

(Spring is my favorite season--it's warm but not intolerable. And it's hopeful, everything's coming around again.)

This is how I feel about spring too. And in the spring, I always get excited about the garden and planting flowers. This year, I'm avoiding mowing my yard because it's so dry here. I hate the flying dust when you mow during drought. I know the neighbors are probably sick and tired of looking at my overgrown yard though.

Cassondra said...

Nancy said:

Cassondra, I checked with the dh, who reports that chiggers are not a concern in the Front Range, at least not as his folks' altitude. Of course, mountain lions occasionally are. . . .

Hmmmm. Chiggers or Moutain Lions. Itching or being eaten.

I see that every area has its vagaries and threats. Perhaps I'll just go right on itching.

Cassondra said...

catslady said:

I live in PA and although I know we have ticks I don't think we have chiggers or at least not in the suburbs lol. Is it possible they live in most full time hot areas like the south?

Well, it's not full-time hot here. We get below zero at least once every year. We have a decent winter here, so I know they are in the transition zone (which is what they call Kentucky,Virginia, etc, because we get cold like the north at times, and hot like the south at times--every year). I don't know if they're worse in the deep south or not. Louisa would know, I bet.

And although I don't like high humidity, I'd rather be in the heat than the darn freezing cold and shoveling snow.

Amen amen AMEN!

Back to itching - I am allergic to poison ivy and just last year had a case that lasted almost 3 months!! And that was with getting steroid shots too. It started at my forehead and went down to my chest. I tried everything but only got very temporary relief - rubbing alcohol, neosporin, hot/cold etc. I'm not staying those chiggers aren't bad but I think I'd rather have 3 days

Oh yes, I would too. I get just a bump or two of poison ivy now when I get into it--when I was a kid I could roll around in it--and I agree wholeheartedly that three days of chiggers is better than a bout of poison ivy.

I'm really laughing at the thought of having my husband paint me up in pink nail polish lol.

*grin*

Cassondra said...

Donna MacMeans said:

Cassondra - hugs on the chiggers. You must be in Hell.

Well, not now. It's over with now, which is why I can have a sense of humor about it I guess. *grin*

Yes, I've had them, mainly as a kid. I've heard the nail polish solution, but thought those things were taking an awfully long time about dying given the itching that continued.

This is precisely why I don't believe it. I suppose it does make you feel like you're "doing something about it" though.

Now as to poison ivy - I never got that either until about six years ago. I don't know if it was poison ivy, or oak, or sumac - but it was awful and nothing over the counter seemed to help. I ended up going to one of those 24 hour emergency places. They gave me a prescription for steroids that stopped the itching immediately and cleared up the rash that was popping up everywhere.

yes, that's a bad case. My husband gets it that bad--and he can't take steroids.

Well..I should say he used to get it that way. I gave him a homeopathic remedy which stops it pretty much immediately now. He had a bad reaction to steroids once and so now can't use those. I'm glad we found the other remedy because if you walk into the room and say "poison ivy" he gets it. His dad was even worse. They both carry this stuff with them now, and even the doctor who gave him the steroid is using it because he gets poison ivy really badly too.

I much prefer summer over winter with autumn being my all time favorite. Comfortable weather to be outside. Beautiful fall colors. Cool nights with open windows - good sleeping weather. I'm not crazy about blackberries or raspberries because of the seeds - but I do have blackberry bushes in my back yard. I leave the picking to my daughter.

Really? Does she ever get chiggers? I'm wondering if they're in Ohio.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Ooooh, man, I'm itchin' just THINKING about it. *shuddddder*

I hate ticks. Period.

I hate chiggers with an equal and even more fervent passion. Period.

UGH. Hate. Them.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Barb, you can be grateful that chiggers don't bother chickens. :>

Congrats on nabbing the bird for the day!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Ahhh, Jane, if you found chiggers in the city, I'd be sure Armageddon had come. Snork! I guess you could run across them in a weedy abandoned lot somewhere, but I'm not thinkin' you frequent THAT part of the city. Heehee.

And Autumn, yes, I love it too. As I hibernate in the AC, I'm REALLY looking forward to it!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

And BTW, Evil Twin, I don't shiver in Winter. I CELEBRATE!!!

Seriously. I seldom get cold. First of all, DC just doesn't GET that cold. Second, I run so hot as it is (no snarky comments, ladies) that when the time comes for menopause and hot flashes, there may be spontaneous combustions concerns.

This is where my dislike of summer swelters originates. It just ain't legal to take off enough clothes for me to get cool in summer weather. Not that I would, being a good Southern Girl, but these 100+ days? Nekkid in the sprinkler sounds perfect.

But it still wouldn't be consistently cool enough.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Barb, I think it stays too cool for them in the UK. And the winters get colder.

Why am I not living in the UK? or the Yukon?

I keep threatening to go live in British Columbia for the summer.

Or down in Aus with ya'll.

(I'd miss sweet tea though....and fireflies, so I guess I'll suck it up and deal.)

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Dianna said; I prefer the cold to the heat, I can only strip off so far and people get concerned.



Yeah, see? This is it for me too, Dianna!

And I had to LOL about putting up blackberries. I remember doing that with my Aunts too - and the steam from the jar baths...oh, lordy, talk about heat stroke!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Helen said: Love the sound of the book you are writing imagine how the hero would be able to sooth and help the heroine.

*wicked grin* I'm thinkin' Cassondra has JUST such a scene in mind...grins. Ain't gonna involve nail polish either...heehee.

And yep, on the heat affecting you. Yikeys, it's terrible, isn't it?

Had to LOL about the census. I got the long form this last time, as well - tons of pesky questions - but since I'm a genealogist and some long distant descendant may want to know it...well, I guess I'll answer. Ha!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Caren said: I do love the sound of cicadas in August, though, because it means autumn can't be too far behind! *eg*

Ahhh, hurry up FALL!!!

And you're right, blackberries ARE worth it. SO yummy. I could picture it so well when Cassondra described filling up on them as you picked, and coming home with lots to freeze, and put on vanilla ice cream, and can, and make into jam....

Yummy.

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Nancy said: To be on the safe side, he insisted that we take baths after and told us to sink down to our necks to drown any chiggers.

We did this too, and my Mama would put a 1/2 a cup of baking soda in the water. Somehow it would soothe whatever itches you did have. She was a proponent of putting toothpaste on bites too, said something in the paste took out the sting, or she'd make up a paste of baking soda for the same reason.

It helped, but lord those things DO itch something terrible when the soda wears off. :>

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Hellion said: This has been NUTS. But I do have a palm tree in my soul. I love the beach and ocean--I just don't want to be hot while I'm enjoying it.

Amen, and amen, Hellion. See? I do LIKE the beach, I just like it in October. :> It's still warm during the day - warm, not sweltering - and it's cool enough at night to wear a jacket. Yum! And you can walk on the sand without fearing for 3rd degree burns on your feet.

Simple. :>

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Cassondra said: Hmmmm. Chiggers or Moutain Lions. Itching or being eaten.

Seriously? I think I'd take my chances on the Mtn. Lion. There are a WHOLE lot fewer of them, and they don't like blackberries.

Grins.

Cybercliper said...

Hubs and I love to garden and can our own food. We have a blueberry and a blackberry patch for jam/jelly making.

The secret to chiggers is – pantyhose. The little buggers can’t get through the weave. I save up old panty hose and we both put them on under out clothes and pull them up practically to our arm pits. Knee highs with the toes cut out work perfectly on our arms under long sleeved shirts.

And if one of the little buggers slips through there is a topical over the counter called Chigger Rid sold at most stores like Walmart, CVS, Walgreens etc. Works like clear nail polish with eucalyptus oil.

jorobertson said...

Great blog, Cassondra. It had me laughing and crying at the same time because I do remembered having chiggers as a girl growing up in Virginia.

Thank goodness I've never encountered them in California. Don't know if that's because they don't have them or I haven't gone berry picking!

Jeanne (AKA The Duchesse) said...

Cyberclipper said: The secret to chiggers is – pantyhose. The little buggers can’t get through the weave. I save up old panty hose and we both put them on under out clothes and pull them up practically to our arm pits. Knee highs with the toes cut out work perfectly on our arms under long sleeved shirts.

Cyberclipper, I'm trying to imagine doing this and in doing so, I'm fainting from heat prostration. OMG. I would die.

But I do love the idea of blueberry and blackberry jam...

Gannon Carr said...

Cassondra, your post had me cracking up. I grew up in the South---and live here now---but I have to say I've never been plagued by chiggers. Maybe a bite or two as a kid, but nothing major. Not even when we picked blackberries. Never had poison ivy either. My hubby, on the other hand, just has to look at it and he breaks out.

Now if you'd asked about mosquitoes...they love me as much as I hate them. Fortunately, we don't have them here in the mountains, so I can sit outside and enjoy nature without being eaten alive.

Na said...

No chiggers in my neck of the woods, thankfully! Those welts look painful and awfully itchy. I'm not a fan of pesky, bloodsuckers like mosquitos :(

I'm more of a Fall and Spring person. I like the mild, cool breezy days.

Nancy said...

Forgot poison ivy. We used to use calamine lotion on it. As best I remember, that helped. I haven't had poison ivy in years, but I live in town.

Cassondra said...

Jeanne said:

Ooooh, man, I'm itchin' just THINKING about it. *shuddddder*

I hate ticks. Period.

I hate chiggers with an equal and even more fervent passion. Period.

UGH. Hate. Them.


Ha! I would have bet you'd know about chiggers. *grin*

Cassondra said...

Jeanne said:

*wicked grin* I'm thinkin' Cassondra has JUST such a scene in mind...grins. Ain't gonna involve nail polish either...heehee.


Hey, it might.

At first.

Cassondra said...

Cybercliper said:

The secret to chiggers is – pantyhose. The little buggers can’t get through the weave. I save up old panty hose and we both put them on under out clothes and pull them up practically to our arm pits. Knee highs with the toes cut out work perfectly on our arms under long sleeved shirts.

No WAY! This is awesome! Nobody used panty hose for this when I was a kid. Apparently the folk's around there didn't know about it. I'm surprised, actually, since the chiggers are so small, that they can't get through. I never thought of pantyhose as being a tight weave. How interesting! Thanks for that tip.

And if one of the little buggers slips through there is a topical over the counter called Chigger Rid sold at most stores like Walmart, CVS, Walgreens etc. Works like clear nail polish with eucalyptus oil. Oh, cool! I'll have to look for this. Does it work well?

Cassondra said...

JoRobertson said:

Thank goodness I've never encountered them in California. Don't know if that's because they don't have them or I haven't gone berry picking!

I don't know if they're out there or not. But since there are, apparently, 30 species of these little critters, I'm guessing most areas have one or the other. But I'm guessing if you live in a "cultivated" area--where things are groomed and landscaped, that you wouldn't have many anyway. It's when I get into the high grass or weeds that I run into them. Blackberries, though--they surely do seem to love the blackberry vines. Or "Blackberry briars" as my dad called them.

Cassondra said...

Gannon Carr said:

Now if you'd asked about mosquitoes...they love me as much as I hate them. Fortunately, we don't have them here in the mountains, so I can sit outside and enjoy nature without being eaten alive.

You and my husband. Mosquitoes LOVE him. The southern mountains are sooooo wonderful. It's where my heart is most at home.

And I cannot believe you never got chiggers pickin' blackberries! I mean I'm glad and all, sort of. But that's just wrong. Chiggers are a rite of passage for southern kids. *snooty sniff*

Seriously be glad. They're no fun.

Cassondra said...

Na said:

No chiggers in my neck of the woods, thankfully! Those welts look painful and awfully itchy. I'm not a fan of pesky, bloodsuckers like mosquitos :(

I'm more of a Fall and Spring person. I like the mild, cool breezy days.


Well, they're not all that painful really--except when you can't resist scratching them, then they can hurt a little. But the itch...ohmygosh, the itch.

Cassondra said...

Nancy said:

Forgot poison ivy. We used to use calamine lotion on it. As best I remember, that helped. I haven't had poison ivy in years, but I live in town.

You know, I lived my whole life hearing about Calamine lotion, but had never seen it until I was in my 30s. We didn't keep it in the house, for some reason. Maybe because none of the family was allergic to poison ivy. So I don't know if that would help chigger itch or not.

This last time, I smeared benadryl cream on, trying to lessen the itch.

Sheree said...

I have blackberry bushes all over my neighborhood and with the wet winter we had, the berries are plentiful even with the deer (and neighborhood children) trying to put a dent in them. Thankfully, no chiggers, just deer ticks and Lyme disease.

There's also a pineapple guava tree a few streets away and I can't wait!

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Jelly Cassondra, I personally like jam and preserves but they liked jelly

Pat Cochran said...

Cassondra,

I'm sitting here itching from this
discussion!

Yes, we have chiggers in Texas and
we've all been bitten.

We've all had poison ivy at various times which we treated with Benadryl, Aveeno Oatmeal baths, Caladryl, and mittens for the kidlets to keep them
from scratching.

Summer doesn't end until late in the
year for us as a rule. This year I'm
going to be a winter person after the
horrific temperatures of this Texas
summer! I'm looking forward to seeing
frost on the pumpkins!

Blackberry picking, oh yes! It's not
unusual to see cars pulled over to the
side of the road & the occupants out
with containers, picking some of those beauties! Progress has lessened this
activity, but it still happens!!

Louisa Cornell said...

Good job, Barb! The GR is ALMOST as annoying as a chigger bite!


Chiggers, Cassondra ??? YUCK !!! Hate 'em with a purple passion, as we used to say.

Actually the clear nail polish always works for me. BUT, I put it on IMMEDIATELY. Soon as I notice a bite. Another good thing for chigger bites is witch hazel.

Of course when I go out to pick blackberries ( I have them in abundance on my property) I wear long sleeved, long sweatpants with long socks underneath. And I duct tape all clothing openings closed - sleeves and legs. I know. Looks GOOFY! But it works !

Cassondra said...

Sheree said:


There's also a pineapple guava tree a few streets away and I can't wait!



Ooooooo. Pineapple guava. I don't even know what that is but it sounds like a dessert tree. *slurp*

Cassondra said...

aka Dianna said:

Jelly Cassondra, I personally like jam and preserves but they liked jelly

Hmmm. I'm a jam girl, usually. I like the meaty pulp in there. And oh, my word, that jelly making is tedious work. No wonder you have bad memories of it!

Cassondra said...

Pat Cochran said:

I'm sitting here itching from this
discussion!

Yes, we have chiggers in Texas and
we've all been bitten.


Yaknow, I kinda figured you had those down there. *grin* Texas is like Australia in some ways I think. Plenty of big bad bugs that want to bite you.


... Blackberry picking, oh yes! It's not
unusual to see cars pulled over to the
side of the road & the occupants out
with containers, picking some of those beauties! Progress has lessened this
activity, but it still happens!!


Oh, that sounds really cool--to see people just pulled over picking on the road sides. We don't see that here much, because they keep the roadsides mowed down fairly neatly. You have to tromp out into the hills and hollers to find "blackberry briars" now--usually it's in a fencerow on a farm not under cultivation. We're losing our fence rows here--everything's getting turned into one big field for ease of cultivation with the satellite-navigated equipment. That means we're losing our blackberries too. :0(

I have a few on the bank by my driveway, and I've been wanting to clean that bank up, but I keep stalling because I like the berries and I like the honeysuckle--that scent is heavenly when it hits you.

Cassondra said...

Louisa! I was waiting for you to show up, you southern girl you! I just KNEW you'd have blackberry and chigger experience!

Louisa said:

Chiggers, Cassondra ??? YUCK !!! Hate 'em with a purple passion, as we used to say.

I'm with you girl!

Of course when I go out to pick blackberries ( I have them in abundance on my property) I wear long sleeved, long sweatpants with long socks underneath. And I duct tape all clothing openings closed - sleeves and legs. I know. Looks GOOFY! But it works !

I don't much care if I look goofy if it'll keep the chiggers off. I may try that duct tape trick. Not sure if a duct tape "hot wax" job on the wrists would be worse, or kerosene....But nothing is worst than getting eaten alive by chiggers.

LilMissMolly said...

I remember chiggers as a little girl when we use to go camping. They are worse than anything!

Trish Milburn (Tricia Mills) said...

Sorry I missed commenting yesterday. Too much to do, not enough hours in the day. But I LOATHE chiggers. Alas, they do not feel the same way about me. If there's a chigger within a mile, it will race to me and eat me alive. Same with mosquitoes. Ugh.

Hauckston said...

I've never seen had a chigger bite, but I remember my twin mentioning how much she hated shad flies. A product of Nipissing Lake in North Bay, Ontario... the following website can show you some despicable shots of them covering buildings and give you insight on what drives people there crazy for the last few weeks in June... http://www.shadfly.com/newpics.html