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Murder by Death

I read cozy and historical mysteries, a bit of Paranormal/UF, and to mix it up, I read science and gardening books on occasion.

Naval gazing ... almost literally

I've been off-stride for quite a few months now, but this last week I've been emotionally MIA from all my favorite haunts, including reading and my home away from home, BookLikes.


Some of you might know MT and I have had chickens for 4-5 years now, living at the back of our small garden in a place we like to call the Taj Mah-Chook  (chook being what Aussies call chickens).  We went into this with a well researched plan and it's worked out for us; our chickens have been the image of health and sass.  Until last week.


Through a confluence of weeks of heat and humidity, wild turtle-doves and our soft hearts (re: turtle doves), our poor chooks were hit with both a respiratory infection AND a mite invasion.  We caught the mite invasion early because, while mosquitoes may pass me by, it seems bird mites LOOOVVE me and I'm allergic.  So I immediately get itchy welts approximately 1000x bigger than the little bastards that bit me.  


I've adopted a scorched earth policy to eradicate the buggers.  That's almost not hyperbole either, because we've doused almost the entire back garden, coop and alleyway with sulphur, lending our garden that certain special Eau de Hell-mouth aroma that spells death to mites everywhere.  


The chickens have been treated, the cats have been treated (although, unless yawning is an undocumented symptom, the cats are unaffected and truly unconcerned); MT caught me staring at the back of his neck earlier, drops in hand, but I doubt he'd hold still long enough.


In addition to running around treating anything that moves (and my garden shoes), I've been sterilising my house.  The vacuum almost never leaves my side, and I've not only showered so many times a day my skin is ready to give up and fall off, I've also washed almost every piece of clothing, bedding and fabric in the house. EVERYTHING. Because they might love me, but I'm still not letting them move in with me.


When I've not been re-creating that 1950's housewife vibe*, I've surrendered hours of my life to Google, and reading research topics about such scintillating topics as the efficacy of elemental sulphur feed-through on mite populations in poultry.  (Yes, I fed them sulphur too - in a bowl of yoghurt; I'm absolutely certain they've eaten worse.)


In my off hours, I've been staring at my own skin (see: title of this post), daring my freckles to make a run for it.


Two of the three chickens have shown a vast improvement today and the third is better.  Anything that can ethically be put into a washing machine and dryer has been and my hair has finally stopped smelling like pine tar and brimstone.  Hopefully this means that I can break up with Google, stop naval gazing and rejoin the world (of books).


If you've made it this far - thanks for letting me unload.  :)



(*In the name of clarity and fairness, MT has not been slacking; he's practically dismantled the coop, bathed the chickens, ran all over town procuring meds, and mounted the sunset raid on the garden with the pressurised sprayer full of sulphur.  He came in afterward smelling like he'd truly battled demons, like the hero he is. Then he cooked me dinner. ::heart::)