*Post Updated 6/03/17
2 Corinthians 6:4-10 –
“4Rather, as servants of God we commend ourselves in every way: in great endurance; in troubles, hardships and distresses; 5in beatings, imprisonments and riots; in hard work, sleepless nights and hunger; 6in purity, understanding, patience and kindness; in the Holy Spirit and in sincere love; 7in truthful speech and in the power of God; with weapons of righteousness in the right hand and in the left; 8through glory and dishonor, bad report and good report; genuine, yet regarded as impostors; 9known, yet regarded as unknown; dying, and yet we live on; beaten, and yet not killed; 10sorrowful, yet always rejoicing; poor, yet making many rich; having nothing, and yet possessing everything.”
… seems like there should be something about chest colds and chigger bites in there somewhere?
Well, folks… I have a confession to make. You know those lesson plans that I thought I was going to accomplish in two weeks? ….I didn’t get even half way done with them. No, sir.
Life has been getting in my way. Our family has fallen prey to some sort of strange virus. ‘Made-of-steel’, ‘I’d-rather-die-than-miss-work’ Hubby is actually off work today and one of the children still has a hacky cough and stuffed up nose. We are still finishing up Spring (in the Seasons Unit) and have a few ornaments from Jan., Feb. & March left to make. We discovered that we didn’t have a kite (storage in Texas)… but then discovered Morgan had a tiny pocket kite her friend Isabella gave her. Now we are planning to add kite-flying back in to our March plans if we could ever get well enough to go outside and play together.
“So what’s all this talk about a chigger in the refrigerator?” you say.
Well, I’ll tell you…
Before we all were hacking up lung cookies, we managed to walk at the track a few times. We usually walk a mile or so, and then go up and down the bleachers a few times. The track is full of dense vegetation at one end, and there are scores of blackberry vines that weave in and out of sight through thick weeds and low shrubs. My son loves picking berries, but most of the good ones have been just out of reach (causing him to request assistance from me to get them). Having been raised in Texas, and having been bitten by chiggers before, I am pretty aware of weeds in the summer time [Ah, the joys of summer!]. Terms like “dense vegetation” and “thick weeds” alone are warning signs to me of snakes and creepy insects you don’t want to meet up with. Little did I know that the State of Arkansas was “Chigger Capitol of the World”. I kid you not, I was less than half of a foot off the track in very low grass, leaning over a berry bush without touching a thing, and WHAM! – the next day I have “chigger measles” and itching that keeps you up at night.
Fifteen half-baked blackberries are hardly worth all this trouble. I had forgotten how bad chigger bites itch. My little boy was covered with them, too. He looked like he was playing itch-Twister reaching all those bites. He was out in the grass a bit further and longer than I was. I keep thinking the little evil six-legged demons must have hitched a ride on those berries and crawled up my arms instead of through the grass. I was hardly out in contact with them long enough for much else.
Of course, being a homeschooling mother, and a mom of a kid who absolutely LOVES bugs… I thought I would catch one and show it to him. I saw a tiny red speck crawling on my berry napkin which seemed too small to be a chigger (although I was suspicious). Two days later in the shower, I noticed a new whelp in beginning stages (chiggers can live on your clothing or car seats and lie in wait for you to return for quite some time). The whelp was on my arm where it bends near the elbow. In the bright shower light, I could see a microscopic little red spot in the center of it. I scraped it off with my finger and pasted it to the shower wall. I could not imagine that it could be the cause of all that itching. Later I got a Q-Tip and dabbed it up. I thought if it was a chigger, it would be dead after the pressure of my HUGE finger smashing it like that. The little bugger was MOVING on the Q-Tip! I could hardly believe it. It was so tiny, I couldn’t see it’s feet, but I could tell that it was a bug. I immediately grabbed my handy glass test-tube with a screw-on lid (it pays to do Science Labs once in a while).
I had read that chiggers are inactive in the colder weather, so I put the little red devil (and his Q-Tip) in my beaker and shoved him in the fridge. The next morning, Kevin and the kids got their first sighting of a real-live, half-frozen chigger. If only our microscope wasn’t in storage! Leave it to a homeschool family to find some enjoyment in a snott-covered week of chigger bites and sore throats. Hopefully all this will be behind us before we head out for our vacation over the 4th of July. If you think about it, say a prayer for Kevin and Kaden – both are still struggling with this nasty chest cold and I’m sure Kaden still has a few chigger bites in some “really bad places” (his words – poor thing).
P.S. I left a link up top for you to follow that was written by Russell T. Johnson @ The Arkansas Roadside Travelogue back in 2000. It’s just about the funniest Chigger Essay I think I’ve ever read. It’s guaranteed to give you a laugh. Go click on “State of Arkansas” above to read it! Be sure to click over and read the other interesting chigger links as well – it may clear up some of the common myths and questions you may have about the tiny harvest mite pest!
*When asking Russell T. Johnson if I could post a bit of his Chigger Essay here, he responded with a nice helpful email that I thought it pertinent to share:
I got a note from a reader suggesting that I rub my chigger bites with a banana peel. I tried it and I think it gave me some relief. It could be a placebo effect, but it doesn’t cost much to try.
Russell T. Johnson
On a side note, and much later date – now that we are living in Texas and I’m a lot older… I have found that putting iodine tincture on the bites helps reduce the swelling, healing time, and itch. I still love Russell’s essay, though. I updated this post just to make sure that I had a current link for it. Here’s to heaven – where there won’t be any chiggers, I’m sure! Until then, mind yourself in the tall grass!