Well, maybe just one more "in" title. It fits, anyway.
Friday was a bit of science at the farm after A came in worried about little bugs on her arms. They looked like little specks of dirt but they were moving. She immediately went into the shower after I also saw them in her hair, her clothes went in the wash, and I went out to the barn. Sure enough, there were more of the little things and just standing there I realized they were on my shoes and heading up my leg. Ew. I got a couple into some rubbing alcohol and got out the cheap little microscope I'd picked up at a yard sale. I couldn't have ID'ed them without it, since to the naked eye they were mobile specks of dirt, and under a magnifying glass they just looked like larger mobile specks of dirt. Sure enough, at 100x magnification I could see it clearly - legs, head, and body: bird mites. The swallows who had nested just about where A was playing were quickly but gently evicted after I determined that they (not the hens, thank goodness) were the source of the mites - the young had grown to the point that they could fly, so their safety wasn't a concern. We sprayed the area; they were even on the girls' bikes and the top edge of a plastic play structure had what looked like dust but on closer looking was literally hundreds of mites.
Yesterday, Canada Day, we celebrated in not-so-grand-but-really-quite-nice style, coming home after church to rest and have a wee nap, then joined by good friends D&J for dinner (venison chops ... mmmm; strawberries with balsamic vinegar - yes really, trust me, it works) and a visit, then after dark our own little fireworks show, put on by D.
This morning we slept in, a very nice thing in and of itself, but not something I want to do all week. I wake up feeling like half the day is gone. Those early morning hours are so good for getting stuff done. I was the first one up, though, and on my way out to let out the hens, Sam the dog stopped to sniff the Havahart trap, to be greeted by a sudden outburst of furious growling. I jumped back a couple of feet, startled, then realized that the stupid thing had finally worked and we had a raccoon trapped. Apparently all the times we have been trying to catch the critter we didn't realize a very important part of setting the trap: apparently you're not supposed to intend to set it. There's the trick, you see. The one night this week we didn't bother to intentionally set it, and we have success. The only thing resembling bait in the trap was the empty chicken bone from the attempt before.
After I put the curious dogs back in the house, the girls came out to see the raccoon, who by now had lapsed into strategy B: "look very cute and nice so the adults will be swayed by the kids to let you live". R thought it adorable, A wanted to make a pet of it, and M kept saying how it was "sooo cuuute". So we had a wee lesson on farm pests. I reminded them that it was one of these that attacked our hens, and given half a chance, this one would very happily kill one or more of the chickens. They did understand that, but still thought it very cute. So we had a little illustration; D let the dogs out and as soon as Sam came close, the coon started hissing, then did its roaring and growling. The girls understood it then: this is not a cutesy little pet.
But on to today: the clothesline is being fixed, the grass cut, D is here on a week of holidays (hooray!), and tonight we hope to sleep out in the tent across the creek for a bit of camping. The gardens need work, the barn needs more cleaning in the mite aftermath. It's sunny and we have a good day ahead of us.