Easter weekend. Easter Sunday.
Coyotes were loud this morning. I got up for a call of nature about 4:30, still half asleep and the coyotes finished waking me. Not far away, near the foot of Baker Mountain, maybe three hundred yards.
They howled, they yowled, they barked and cried, they sang their strange songs together and separately. I haven’t heard them carry on like that for months. Back in recliner I settled to listen and snooze. Didn’t want to get up at 4:30 on Easter morning. They were still yowling when I dozed off for last gasp snore I’d guess around 5:00.
Woke again near 6:00. First thoughts involved coyote music and wondered what set them off. Maybe simply greeting a beautiful morning, or maybe it was the ticks.
I sprayed Multiflora Rose and Japanese Barberry in that same area Friday afternoon. Backpack sprayer pumping away, I struggled through old logging ruts and rotting tree tops in search of new shoots since last chemical application a year ago.
I learned this may be my last year for such work. Getting too unsteady on my feet. Loosing balance too often stepping over and around stumps and interlaced brush piles, all covered with last season’s crop of dead Japanese Stilt Grass.
[private] I didn’t fall any. Close a couple times. I can still get up, but I’d likely have to strip off the sprayer before I climbed back to my feet again. Plus there’s the chance of falling awkwardly and busting something.
Back to Big House, I sat to rest and sip a cold beer. Felt like something crawling on my neck. Scraped it with finger nails, it came away on my finger, a tick. Little old brown wood tick. Climbing my neck toward hair line, but I got him before he settled in.
Dropped tick on a board bench, got out pocket knife and cut him in two pieces. That should keep him off Scoot, my cat. Whoops! I felt another almost same place. Same remedy. What’s going on here.
I stripped in middle of my back yard. Didn’t care who saw or who might walk around the house. I needed tick relief fast.
Thirty one (31) ticks. All headed North for my hair line. All disposed of same way. Think it was twelve off my neck, several off outer clothes and other skin areas and the rest off collars of tee shirt and outer shirt. I left overalls hanging over clothes line out of Scoot’s reach.
Gave myself a shower cooking. Not sure how it might have effected any residual insects, but it made me feel worlds better. Got out one of Mom’s old hand mirrors and inspected myself closely. Found nothing. Later before dinner at Mary Wicks’ home I asked her to take a quick look at my head before I sat down to pork chops. Nothing found. Tick free.
Fortunately, along with advancing age I am losing tick habitat. My hairline is receding faster. Harder for ticks to hide on bald heads.
Perhaps worst consequence of this episode is advancing invasive species on my land. I’ve fought various species with herbicides for years. Multiflora and Barberry are manageable now. I’ve pretty well cleaned Ailanthus (Tree of Heaven) from a couple areas, but more work needs done with it. I’ll hack and squirt a few larger stems this year, which will slow its spread.
I’ve no ready plan in place to fight Stiltgrass. It’s new since timber cutting. Stiltgrass chokes out most other grasses and broadleaf plants. Perhaps mowing before seed set will slow it, but it‚Äôs tough to mow in woodland areas.
That will be a fight for another day and another man, I think. For now I’ll cede that area to the ticks. But then, perhaps they have become an invasive species too. [/private]