Working diligently in the lab, processing the catch from mosquito trapping.
Sorting the mosquitoes by species.
This weekend, we have also dabbled in the culinary arts, cooking Chicken parmigiana, banana bread, sweet potato fries, banana and chocolate chip pancakes (mouth-watering), and ham, spinach, and cheese quiche.
Sunday evening, we went berry picking on the island, in the hopes of gathering enough to make a couple of pies. We discovered that there are several patches of blackberry, high bush blueberry, and black cherry in the scrub bordering the oceanside dunes. In preparation for the mosquitoes and flies, we wore our bug suits and doused ourselves in 30% deet bug spray. Suited up with buckets in tow, we disappeared into the mosquito-ridden jungle of overgrown vines, scrub oaks, phragmites (an invasive that runs rampant all over the island), and wax myrtle.
After picking berries and swatting flies away for about an hour or so, we headed back to the car. Not even five seconds after sitting down in the car seat, we both simultaneously happened to look down to find thousands of tiny red things crawling all over our legs. I immediately shouted, “Get out of the car!” and jumped out of the vehicle. Upon closer inspection, I realized that these nearly microscopic creepy crawlies were ticks, crawling on every inch of our bugsuits (and underneath them). We both feverishly attempted to brush them off, but ticks have an uncanny ability to stick to anything they attach themselves to.
Being close to the beach, we decided to walk down the dunes and dunk ourselves in the water. Hoping that salt water would do the trick, we waded out into the surf, completely clothed and covered head to toe in our bug suits – amidst several confused
(and frightened) stares. Sadly enough, this would be the first time both Kathy and I have gone into the ocean this summer – only this time, with all our clothes on (socks and all).
After about 40 minutes of ensuring total submersion, we headed back up the dunes and drove home. Upon arrival, we both ran to our bathrooms, stripped down, and took a shower. At this point, I had placed the faucet at an unbearably hot temperature – so hot I could only stick a body part underneath the stream for a few seconds before feeling as if I were getting second-degree burns. I had put the water at this temperature in hopes it would kill the ticks. To continue the tick killing spree regimen, I scrubbed my body down with every kind of shower toiletry to my name. I’m pretty sure I succeeded in removing the outermost layer of skin. After washing my skin raw, I dried off, lotioned up, and got dressed. Unfortunately (and unbelievably enough), my obsessive paranoic efforts were to no avail. Once Kathy got out of the shower, we both did a tick check on each other’s backs and Kathy found two ticks still chilling on my lower back. Regrettably, such an experience has guaranteed unnecessary paranoia. Whenever Kathy and I get an itch, we’ll be worried it’s a tick trying to give us Lyme disease.
However, this is definitely an experience to tell the grandkids.
On to other news: this coming week marks a 3-day work week (YES!), as we’re road-trippin’ it to Kathy’s house just outside of Roanoke, VA. We plan on stopping in historic Williamsburg, the cities of Richmond and Charlottesville, home of Jefferson’s Monticello. A music festival, water-skiing on a lake, and a much sought after day of hiking will also be included within the weekend festivities.