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I am Sandra - faithful steward. listener. shepherd. dream believer. hard worker. collects brass bells, boots. Jesus follower. contented. star gazer. homemaker. farmer. prayer warrior. country woman. reader. traveler. writer. homebody. living life large.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Snakes and Chiggers and Ticks...OH MY!

The previous owners left lots of goodies (and, yes, I have written them a thank you note! ) but I was a trifle skittish of the swing they left. It was a lovely Cape Hatteras style swing whose glory days were passed and it's taken a while to find a replacement. The above double swing does nicely; it's made by Mennonites (there's a large Mennonite population in central/southside Virginia) and this one was found at Miller's Country Store near Farmville. Today Tori, a young friend, and I removed the old swing and put up this new a downpour no less. This part of the country has had rain, rain and more rain, a "real frog strangler" as Andy Griffith said in his comedy routine. (I tried to find it for you but was unsuccessful.) 

Back to the swing...there are cushions but only to be used when sun is shining, although Tori and I did a test sit in that heavy downpour. Nearby Powhatan County has had more than nine inches of rain my brother in Amelia County has had 8 and I'm not sure of the amount I've had but know more is expected for the next week, at least.

Above, Inky, he of Pixie and the Inkspots, is seen stretching on the left side of the swing posts. The three raised beds have yet to be filled with either dirt, horse manure or vegetables/fruits. Last month was my introduction to Medicare and it seems it takes more and more time as well as more and more me to get everything done. I've yet to fish that pond or take the kayak or john boat for a ride but that's due more to safety than anything else. My rule is if you're in the boat or kayak, you must have on a life jacket and if I'm here with no other humans, I stay on terra firma. 

In our haste, that rule was broken a few days ago when Ronnie (doing some tractor and other farm work) saw movement on the pond. He knew a condition of fishing and hunting here was to kill muskrats, and when he saw the water break, he thought it was a muskrat and pumped that sucker full of 410 shot, got into the john boat (without a life jacket...neither of us was thinking clearly!) and I pushed him into the pond. He rowed to the spot, I ran for the camera and when I got back, Ronnie had this nasty brute stretched out on the ground. It's a 2.5 foot copperhead that was still opening/closing his mouth so, using a square blade shovel, Ronnie cut off his head and threw it into the pond where fishes or turtles would eat it and the body thrown away.

The dining room furniture was delivered...WOOHOO...and it looks fabulous! More photos later but wanted you to know even Gypsy approves as she found her spot on the lower shelf before the rest of the china was added. At least, the rest of it that's unpacked; there are still a few dozen boxes of "stuff" in the basement and I'm hoping to find kitchen knives, rest of dishes and Lord only knows what else. John Robertson, owner East Coast Primitives, did a fabulous job and it's nice to have available dishes, tea sets and other things that hold so many memories. (When he first arrived, John exclaimed, "You sure do like your solitude, don't you?!" My response, "Yes, I like people in small numbers and from a great distance." which is not surprising considering I am INTJ. (Dave was also INTJ and was in process of applying to MENSA, while I'm hard pressed to pass algebra. LOL)

A while back, Daddy and I went for a Gator ride; he wanted to show daffodils that were blooming at the site of an old homestead. Hard to believe that man will be 90 this year; still going strong and has almost finished planting his more than one acre garden! The other morning, while I was doing barn chores, he left a message, "I can't seem to find my start button this morning. Have you seen it?" I had to laugh; it was almost 10:00 and I was just going to the barn for my morning chores; some days the start button stay hidden better than other days! I tend to rise early but devotions take a good portion of my morning.

 Double headed daffodil ~

 Oh...the "chigger" portion of the title...if you aren't familiar with chiggers, count your BLESSINGS! As the ole feller said, "Chiggers done near et me up!" Trombiculidae are in the mite family (I know, gag...right!?) Even worse (oh gets worse?!!!), these obnoxious pests are classified as arachnids...yes, the spider and tick family! (I think I liked being ignorant better!) If you're truly interested in more information, a search will give you lots and lots more info, including how to ease the pain from bites. Any time of anti-itch cream helps but my old standby is plain bleach because I don't want to ease the pain, I want those suckers d.e.a.d. and bleach will do that job rather nicely. Bleach isn't all that good for human skin so I wet a paper towel and take a swipe over the bites. A friend uses a Q-tip which takes entirely too long to suit me but to each their own.

This part of Virginia is also bad for ticks and I've grown accustomed to doing a body search on a nightly basis. When I forget, I certainly depend on the incessant itching produced when such a critter has found a (temporary) home.

Truth be told, I'd grown rather indifferent to snakes, chiggers and ticks because the mountains have no chiggers, few ticks and the snakes didn't venture into the valley. Much. At the last farm, folks would ask, "Why do you have so many barn cats?" (Frankly, I didn't think eight or ten cats were too many at the barn.) and I'd reply, "I can cats or I can have rats and I'd rather have cats." I still feel the same way and am hoping the snakes stay at the upper end of the pond, I'm mowing all the tall grass and fallen leaves and expecting "wild life" to keep their distance. (Please God, answer my prayer!)

~ Sadie surveys her kingdom

We're all enjoying our new location and doing our part...the studio has a new shop vac to suck up the saw dust and dirt, all furniture has now been delivered and put into place, mowing and harrowing of fields is taking place, gathering yet more clothes and household furnishings to giveaway, flowers are ready to go into pots, a few herbs wait for their turn, etc. All is well.

There's time for other fun as well and Rose Patch Creations owner, Kimberly, has started a Featherweight Sewing Club. Jan, my cousin, has a shop in West VA and sold a Featherweight machine to me and the upstairs study (where the television is also located) will hold a small sewing table, chair and other sewing accommodations. First on my list is a quilt for Maxine who is now home and making progress. She's in desperate need of prayer while she gains strength to begin chemo and radiation for the same malady as has John McCain. On the good news front, Mom is doing much better and a noticeable improvement has been made since she's been in the nursing/rehab center. She's now able to go to the lavatory without assistance, has PT twice a day, five days a week and is expected to do more in the way of skills this coming week.

Almost daily, a rehab person will give her quizzes such as "Name a president who was assassinated." Most would name Kennedy but Mom, being a history buff, named Lincoln, then Garfield. The rehab person was surprised; apparently, she'd forgotten about Lincoln and didn't know about Garfield. I told Mom if the rehab person said, "Name two days of the week", Mom should reply, a la Forrest Grump, "Today and tomorrow." Mom said, "No, I don't want to give any "smart" answers; they might want to keep me and I'm ready to GO HOME!" She's been a trooper and we hope for her release by month's end.

That's not all the news but it's taken me three hours to update so will say thank you for reading, for your prayers, your good wishes, your kindness to me. All greatly appreciated. God speed, be safe.

Ponder this ~ "Simplicity is the highest goalachievable when you have overcome all difficulties." ~ Chopin


  1. Good evening dear new friend. I am glad to be here again. I come from VA. Roanoke as a matter of fact. Tell your sweeties that salmon will be here for them when they come on by. Katie Isabella travels via her pink tunnel. Those are cat transportation devices don't'cha know? She has been over the world and has a beau in the UK, Thailand, Malaysia and Canada.
    That was an impressive Copperhead. I had no idea those suckers went swimming. Good thing I don;t. I am a petrified adult non swimmer. Now I see I was wise. :-)

  2. So interesting to read all you have been doing. Fortunately we dont get chiggers here...yuk!

  3. So nice to read this newsy post from you dear Sandra. You always inspire me. I loved your description of yourself under your header photo.

    I wouldn't like chiggers, or ticks or your snakes. I do have mosquitoes, some black snakes, raccoons and possums, feral cats, birds, butterflies.

    It is very wet here too as we've had rain every day for a week and more is expected over the next few days. Not like you have had though. The grass will need mowing after all of this, and shrubs, etc. will need trimming.

    Glad you've gotten your furniture restored and things moved into your new place and that you and your critters are happy there.

    Have a lovely Sunday and a great week ~ FlowerLady

  4. What a wonderful update ... thank you! I am also horribly allergic to tick bites, which I count as a blessing ... since, like you, the itching alerts me to the presence of one that I may have missed. I once asked a veterinarian friend about a human-sized dosage of Frontline.

    Small numbers and at a great distance ... I'm going to borrow that.

  5. It's been good to have an update on your life. Oh dear, that Copperhead! I don't like those poisonous types of snakes AT ALL. It looks like you have a nice place there.

  6. "Oh, my!" is putting it too mildly for me. But I like hearing about your kitties! And your mother and father, and your furniture, and sewing!! Life is good in your new home, I can tell that. XO

  7. What a(nother) beautiful spot you live in, Sandra! My goodness. even though you've still got unpacking and other work to do, I hope you are taking lots of time to just soak up all that natural wonder around you!
    I'm not sure if this will be good news or not, so I'll just toss it out: based on your photograph, I wonder if that snake might be a Northern Watersnake, which are often mistaken for copperheads. Here's an excellent website
    that shows and describes the venomous snakes in your neck of the woods, and all the non-venomous species that can be mistaken for them - it's really interesting, and a lot of the time there will be one or two clear features that will indicate (often from a comfortable distance, thank goodness) whether a snake is one thing or another. For example, the description under the picture of the watersnake says "The color of some individuals watersnakes can come close to that of some copperheads, however the pattern on the northern watersnake is always narrow on the sides and wide near the backbone. This is completely opposite of the pattern found on the copperhead (wide on the sides and narrow near the back bone)." So, like I said, maybe it's good news if you have helpful varmint-control snakes instead of dangerous copperheads? Or maybe I should just mind my own dang business? Just thought it was worth mentioning the possibility. If there were copperheads in my neck of the woods, I'd sure rather they were somewhere else.

  8. I love the swing. There's nothing as relaxing as a swing on a summer's evening.
    I heard it is a "bad" year for snakes. I don't know why. We were introduced to chiggers when our third daughter got them all over her legs while hunting in the woods. She is very fair and it took a long time for those bites to heal.
    God Bless your dad!

  9. Lots of fun news from your place! We have lots of ticks but, fortunately, no chiggers or poisonous snakes. I do remember them from my childhood in Texas, though! I was thinking the same thing as your mom said. Don't give them any funny answers! Glad to see your dad going strong. My step-dad (the only parent I have left) is 87 and still doing great. Sharp as a tack. I hope he'll be around for a while. Thanks for the update!

  10. So nice to get some news about your new place! Sounds like you need some guinea fowl! Not sure about the chiggers, but they'll take care of the ticks.

  11. We are moving to tick, mosquito, wasp, yellow jacket country...I hope they don't have Chiggers, too. Enjoy your new swing. Have a great Memorial Day weekend.

  12. So glad your mom is on the mend!
    It has been, I think, a very snaky spring, and we've had several on the roads. Glad you nabbed that copperhead! Seems like life is really coming together for you there!

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