The adventuresome life of a Great Pyrenees/Newfoundland dog in Northwestern Ontario

Posts tagged ‘Wood Ticks’

Heating Hazards of NWO

[Scribal Caution: This is not pleasant reading/viewing for insectiphobes.]

The temperatures have been high this week, into the high 20C range (low 80s for my American friends). I still have all my wool. I’m hot.

Feeling too hot isn’t my only problem, though. With the heat, and all the melted snow collected in forest pools, and with the rain, we have other problems starting. Pesky, whining, biting, bloodsucking mosquito problems. Elizabeth has rigged my doghouse opening so that it both brushes flies and skeeters off me as I go in, then flops back into place in such a way as to deter biting insects from entering later. But when we go for our walks in the morning and evening, the mozzies flock to my nose area and feast away.

Elizabeth has always been a mosquito magnet, too. She’s been trying a homeopathic remedy called Mozzi-Q. It works. The mosquitoes just buzz around her. She still gets the odd bite, but not very many. She won’t give me any. She says she doesn’t know if it’s safe for dogs. Some two-legger things aren’t…

So, I suffer. I am coming into the two-legger house more, but I can’t stay inside all the time. So, I suffer.

Mosquito bites make me itchy. When I'm itchy, I look more like a Shar Pei than a Great Newfenees.

Mosquito bites make me itchy. When I’m itchy, I look more like a Shar Pei than a Great Newfenees.

Mosquitoes are not the only problem that comes with Spring. Now that the weather is hot and with all the rain, the grass is growing. Elizabeth says the military have special devices called mine sweepers that detect dangerous explosives hiding in the ground. I am a tick sweeper, not just detecting ticks but gathering them up into my wool as I patrol the estate’s meadows. It’s a tough job. I have already contracted one tick-bourne disease, anaplasmosis. But the job is not without its perks:

Elizabeth checks me for ticks every time I come in from outside. The blue thing on the floor is a tick key, used to remove engorged ticks safely. Every once-in-a-while Elizabeth misses one and it gets big. I look pretty fierce here, don't I...

Elizabeth checks me for ticks every time I come in from outside. The blue thing on the floor is a tick key, used to remove engorged ticks safely. Every once-in-a-while Elizabeth misses one and it gets big. I look pretty fierce here, don’t I…

but really, I love getting deticked. It feels like a doggie spa treatment as Elizabeth goes through my wool and massages my skin with her fingertips.

but really, I love getting deticked. It feels like a doggie spa treatment as Elizabeth goes through my wool and massages my skin with her fingertips.

Oh! And look what she found. This one is small so not a great picture. Sorry, but you get the idea....

Oh! And look what she found. This one is small so not a great picture. Sorry, but you get the idea….

Fortunately, some other forest folk are taking up residence in the neighbourhood to give us a hand with insect control.

I might start hanging out in the garden with this little guy. He's a Gray Tree Frog puppy Hyla versicolor is his latin name. Hiya, Hyla!

I might start hanging out in the garden with this little guy. He’s a Gray Tree Frog puppy Hyla versicolor is his latin name. Versicolor indicates that he changes colour to blend in with his surroundings better. If you look closely, you can see his skin is just starting to turn green. It isn’t an instant process. Hiya, Hyla! How’s the Rhubarb?

Like the rest of us here, this spider enjoys a hearty breakfast. She was too busy eating to tell us her name. If any of you know her, please tell us who she is!

Like the rest of us here, this spider enjoys a hearty breakfast (I don’t think she’ll be dining on any mosquitoes for a while…). She was too busy eating to tell us her name. If any of you know her, please tell us who she is!

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Changes in the Neighbourhood

Spring this year is about a month late, so Mother Nature is rushing to catch up. The bees are busy looking for food among the new dandelions and pussy willows. But just this week more flowers have started to bloom. Long-necked Flapper grazing is getting a bit crowded at the neighbours’, so they have started wandering up to our lawn. Kay isn’t too happy although she likes to see the wildlife. Long-necked Flappers leave a big mess behind them. They eat clover and pump out clay, Elizabeth says. She caught them in the yard yesterday. They aren’t like park Long-necked Flappers – these are wild and fly away as soon as they see humans. Or me.

~:o}=

Elizabeth had to be verrrry sneaky to get this photo of the Canada Long Necked Flappers.

Elizabeth had to be verrrry sneaky to get this photo of the Canada Long-necked Flappers.

The leaves started to come out on the trees last week, too! So now it is much easier for me to find a shady spot to snooze in. It seems like we’ve gone from Winter directly into Summer this year. One day there’s snow on the ground, then a couple of days later the temperature soars into the high 20C range (75F or so). I can’t find any snow anywhere, now, and my wool hasn’t started to blow out yet. So, I need some shade between swims. Thankfully, Elizabeth always finds me a nice shady spot to snooze in while she takes photos.

This was a nice spot... Shady AND a twig to munch on! I like to hold them steady between my front paws while I gnaw on them.

This was a nice spot… Shady AND a twig to munch on! I like to hold them steady between my front paws while I gnaw on them.

There is always a lot going on in my Boreal queendom but, in the non-Winter seasons, my two-legger scribe is able to get out more and record changes more frequently. I’ve been wondering how to take advantage of this for some time. Elizabeth is always out these days, working on her garden or going for walks with her camera and me. She doesn’t think anyone would be interested in what she’s taking photographs of. I think these things are interesting, though. They are part of my world. How better to show you what’s happening in it? Problem is persuading The Scribe.

So, I’ve come up with an idea. I need your help, though… Let us know what you think. Elizabeth has been working for years on a botanical field guide for this area of the country and is trying hard to get it finished. She says we need one because no other field guide covers this area. She says three major zones of North America meet here, so two-leggers need to have at least three guides with them when they visit us: Boreal Forest, Laurentian Forest and Great Plains.

I was scratching my head the other day – not because it helped me to think; I have a wood tick bite on my jawline – when I came up with an idea for her (entirely coincedental). “Why don’t we do a Wildflower Wednesday and a Fungal Friday every week? We could do a Timber Tuesday once in a while, too!” Since she thought it would force her to get out and take more photographs – “Deadlines always help,” she said – she’d give it a go. She’s concerned that you might get tired of it, but I assured her that it is only for the Spring and Summer months and maybe a bit into the Autumn. So, we’re going to try it. Starting tomorrow! Come visit us and let us know what you think. Do you have similar things growing where you live? Do you use them for anything, or just like to look at them? Let us know!

Hey! I just heard another sign of Spring. That sounds like the city grader going by to scrape away all the frost boils and potholes on the Big Gravel Path! Gotta go check it out! See you later!

Hey! I just heard another sign of Spring. That sounds like the city grader growler going by to scrape away all the frost boils and potholes on the Big Gravel Path! Gotta go check it out! See you later!

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