This time of the year is always a bit creepy. Ticks, mosquitoes, spiders are suddenly everywhere. The situation at the farm, after 7” of rain in 48 hours, is down-right menacing.
The morning routine now includes a thorough coating of insect repellent. Mid-day is marked by the humiliating strip down and full body check. Evening, a deep scrub and the relief of clean sheets.
Just when I got it down, the new “norm” of the bug cycle was shattered.
Earlier this week, in the middle of the night, a creature bit into the middle toe of my left foot. It worked its fangs around the little piggy, puncturing the innocent digit until I woke up screaming. My foot was on fire and I nearly ripped the toe from its socket.
Okay, this is gross. And possibly TMI.
But the story is relevant because each year I’m stumped by what to tell the new WWOOFers, those young people who come to live and work on the farm. The new gal, Hannah, arrives next week.
Do I regale her with images of beautiful flowers, sunny days and fresh, delicious produce? Or do I give her a sense of real life, early mornings, long hot days and dirt caked with sunscreen, bug spray and sweat?
By the way, the spider bites have now morphed into yuck-filled-blisters. Again, gross.
But it’s relevant because even after years of living the farm life, and of knowing what will come each spring ~ the bugs, the poison ivy, the chiggers ~ I’m still confounded by what nature can throw at me.
Hannah, I’m sure is nervous and excited. She is nineteen and never been on a farm before. I opt to tell her to bring sturdy shoes, gloves and most importantly a good attitude. Farming, I say, is not for everyone. And, my feelings won’t be hurt if it’s not for her.
Thankfully there is no more swelling or itching but my toes are a mess. By next week they’ll be back to normal. In the meantime the bedroom is scrubbed clean, the sheets washed.
It’s summer in the Northern Neck. Be ready for all that Mother Nature throws at you. Use your spray, check your body, take care of yourself. But most importantly, bring a good attitude.