Friday, July 01, 2005

I Wish My Skin Was Literally Thicker

I look like I have the pox from the legs down.

It does not help, of course, that I can not seem to stop scratching with such a ferocity that I am starting to resemble a dog infested with fleas.

It used to be that my only concern was avoiding being bitten by mosquitoes. Usually not a problem if you avoid the dusk and dawn times of the day. Well, there was that one horrid summer in Freeport when the mosquitoes were so bad that they literally swarmed you as soon as you went outside, even at high noon. Made tending to the garden a bit of a challenge, but if you covered up, head-to-nails, you usually escaped with only a few bites.

Last year, our first in Wisconsin, I really don't remember having much of a problem with bites. A few skeeters, a few biting flies. We have no livestock and no standing water within a mile of our place, so not much inducement. The deer stay mostly in the trees, and keep their flies with them. Poor Charles likes to run a wooded trail on the weekends, and gets chased (and occasionally caught) by swarms of biting flies, but as long as he dunks himself in a vat of super-concentrated-lumberjack-strength DEET, he has so far managed to return home with all limbs attached, although a bit anemic. Feed him a steak, and he bounces back. It's the Canadian blood. They're used to such things in Ontario.

This year, I have managed to identify 4 carniverous, hunting insects that track me down. This does not count all the myriad of bugs that will bite or sting if provoked. Those have no reason to hurt me, I stay the hell clear of wasps, spiders, and such. Yes, it seems that I am the favored prey, judging by the number of red welts on my person, compared to the relative paucity on my loved ones. Or maybe it is because I am the one in shorts, sandals, and tank top in the garden, weeding and hunting under large leaves for the fruits of my labor. I never claimed to be very bright.

Anyway, we have your basic mosquitos, not a big problem, so far. Also, large flies with glowing red eyes (yes, they really do glow red, come by and see), smaller flies with yellow on their heads, and, my personal current favorite, what look like tiny bees, about a 1/4 inch long, that love to sting, especially behind the knee. These also seem to bite, if the feeling of something taking a good sized chomp out of your flesh is to be trusted.

Yeah, yeah, such a wimp.

But you see, I am bred in the pasty Northwest. We just do not have to contend with such beings. Plus, with the lack of all that sun while growing up and through my mid-thirties, I don't have the coat of armor that extensive sun damage creates.

I am just a delicate flower. A flower with the pox.



Blogger Mojavi said...

yuck yuck... you poor thing, I must remember to pack bug spray for this weekend!!

10:01 AM  
Blogger Jamie said...

It sounds like those little bees are what we used to call "sweatbees" in MN. I don't miss those!

The marauding fly we ran from the other day didn't have glowing red eyes, but I swear I saw a hideous grin on its face...

Hope your legs heal up soon. :-)

10:24 AM  
Blogger Teri said...

Oh dear. How miserable. Your poor legs.

Those biting flies are the worst. Worse even than mosquitoes, which are, in case no one told you, Wisconsin's state bird. We've always called those little bee-things "sweat bees" because they go after the sweaty spots on bodies (like the backs of knees). It's the salt in sweat, I think, that they are after. I swat them. And those flies too. Your large flies are probably deer flies. They are huge.

The trick to avoiding the mosquitoes? Stop breathing. They're attracted to carbon dioxide. Miserable pests.

10:27 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I thought that I was the only one with a rememberance of Wisconsin. I have been scratching ever since we got back to Portland. Why do they wait 24-48 hours before breaking out in secret-telling rashes? T'ain't funny, McGee!!!

I classify all insect as either crawling things or $%#^& biting thngs.


12:43 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

Mojavi- Yes, giant economy sized bug spray. Hope your weekend canoing and s'moring is grand.

Jamie- Sweatbees! You must bee right. (Sorry, that had to happen. Better now.) I was wondering if your harrowing chase by the fly was one of the red-eyed ones.

Teri- Really? All I have to do is not exhale? Seems a small thing to do. I will give it a try. Maybe a terestrial scuba set-up where you breathe in air but breathe out in a tank. Hmmmm. It seems sweat bees they are. At least I know what to call them, now. Do deer flies have red eyes? The red-eyed flies were certainly huge. And we do have the deer. And the flies hang around the path the deer take. Deer flies they must be.

Dad- I have no idea as to the delay. See what happens when you do a good deed and help me weed?

6:11 PM  
Blogger CarpeDM said...

I hate the freakin' bugs with a passion. They are evil. Evil, I say!

I have a terrible allergic reaction to bug bites, they swell up to about triple their normal size on everyone else and are puffy and itch forever.

Once I was attacked by a swarm of gnats or chiggers or some stupid biting flying thing that resulted in my left eyelid swelling up so badly that I couldn't see out of that eye for about 2 days. Not fun.

And I live in Minnesota, land of 10,000 Mosquitos. Back off, Teri, the mosquitos are our state bird. Along with the loon, indicating that we have to be loony to live here.

6:29 PM  
Anonymous Gerah said...

I feel your pain. Although, (knock on wood) for some reason the skeeters in Michigan haven't been around as much the last few summers. Can't explain it.

Happy itching!

8:50 AM  
Blogger Diana said...

Dana- Ooooh! Lucky you! Every bite counts as 3! I'm sure in some culture or other that is a sign of internal purity or being sought out by the blessed bug gods, bringers of prosperity. Sorry that you are cursed in this society. (I always thought that mosquitos were Alaska's state bird, but then I had friends from Alaska and none at the time from MN, WI, or elsewhere in the frozen tundra of the glorious upper midwest.)

Gerah- Really?!? 3 years ago or so, on our last trip to MI, we were eaten alive whenever we were unwise enough to stray anywhere near water or trees. Figures. Glad your vacation did not drain you dry.

10:04 AM  
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4:13 AM  

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