Learning about farming and country life, getting new mowers and building ponds have been fun for us but everything we learn on this adventure to becoming farmers isn’t always fun, case in point, finding out about chiggers.
Since my wife and I have spent the majority of our lives living in the city we knew nothing about chiggers. But while we were there, working on the farm during our vacation in October, we were rudely introduced to these mites and it was a hard lesson learned that won’t be soon forgotten.
The first day back to the farm I had repaired our old Mott flail mower and I did it out on the grass lying on my back most of the time. After about an hour I started getting these big red welts on the back of my neck and back that itched like crazy. I didn’t know what it was, thought maybe it was fleas. I didn’t see or feel anything bite me. We went back to the motel that night and I got some Benadryl cream that helped with the itching. I took a shower and went to bed.
The next morning my wife noticed she had gotten bitten. Chiggers can be passed to other people by bed linen or close shin contact. This happened every morning, we woke up everyday with new bites and believe me we were quite troubled by this whole ordeal because we didn’t know what was happening. We thought maybe it could be bed bugs and looked all around the motel room but couldn’t find any trace of bed bugs. Needless to say we had a bad week and didn’t sleep well at all. The motel didn’t change our sheets the whole time we were there so we kept finding new bites each morning.
We didn’t find out what they were until we got home and I did some research on the internet and found out about chiggers. Chiggers are invisible to the naked eye. After chiggers feed on you they fall off or just hang out on your body until they get hungry again. The way to get rid of them is to take a very hot shower and use a loofah pad to scrub your body very hard and this well help to dislodge them and then wash all your clothes and bed linen’s in very hot water and dry them very well. We then wore Deep Woods Off on us all day and night, even at bed time and that seemed to do it. It seems that the state of Iowa is one of the states that has lots of chiggers.
Needles to say, I won’t be lying down on the bare grass in Iowa ever again, unless something is between me and the ground. I told my friend Tom who lives by our farm about our run in with the chiggers and he said ” Welcome to the country”.
So after our ordeal with chiggers and me having the flu when we went back to the farm to see the finished pond, I was thinking, as I was lying in bed at the motel with a 103 temperature, do I really want to do this farming thing? I have to be honest with you, at that moment I didn’t want to do it anymore. But now that I have recovered from the chiggers and flu, my answer is yes, I still do, even though the hard part of this journey is yet to come. No one said it was going to be easy.