As I write this post, I’m still being a hermit, but with a couple exceptions. I’ve still been staying busy. It’s hard for me to imagine how people manage to get bored. I have a list of things I want to do and it’s so long I won’t be able to do all of it in my one lifetime. The items on my list are varied and adaptable to any situation. If I’m sick and in bed, there’s a list of television shows I’d like to watch. Otherwise, television never makes it to the working ‘to do’ list. If I become disabled and can never return to the physical labor of doing some of the items on my list, then there’s a lot of writing and research to be done. And I guess if I can’t even do that, then there’s a lot of thinking to do.
However, right at this moment, I’m watching the hummingbirds outside my office/studio window, and keeping an eye on the weather. I’m writing this part on Friday, April 24. It might take me a few days to get it edited and ready to publish. A storm front is approaching from the west, and I want make sure my computer is unplugged before it gets here. In the meantime, I want to let the battery stay charged as long as it can. That way, if the power does go out, at least I’ll have the full allotted battery time to continue writing if I want. Most likely I’ll just go to sleep, though.
Breaking the Rules
As it seems that Real Estate Agents are considered ‘essential’ personnel, my daughter had some houses to show to a client on Thursday. It’s been hard not to see my other grands during this shut in, so I was actually quite delighted to break the quarantine to go stay the day with them while Gab showed the houses. Chloe was too. She hadn’t played with another kid since all this started and I’m sure she’s getting tired of grumpy old me all the time.
If it would stop raining for a long enough period of time, I might actually be able to get some of my outdoor projects finished. I’m very happy with the progress on my little terrace garden. I got a few more of the big rocks in place for the path, and cleared more of the weeds from the first bed and the right hand side. The right hand side, including the drip line, has never been worked on at all. So it has just been weeds all along.
But after some recent windy storms passed through, I found a treasure. One of the hollow trees along the driveway fell and when I saw it, that just made my day. The only thing left to figure out was how to get it to the garden. I did manage to get it into the back of the truck, but the part I wanted was still attached to a long limb I didn’t want, so some of it dragged the ground all the way home. Once at home I used my little hand saw to cut it into a manageable size that I could carry into the garden.
Battling Poison Ivy, and Tick & Spider Bites
So my poor garden had been taken over by weeds and poison ivy. I’m not terribly allergic to the ivy but will break out wherever it makes good contact. It just doesn’t spread. Well, I must have made a lot of contact on the day of that first pic up there. I also got a tick bite and am waiting to see if that one causes any symptoms of tick diseases. So far, so good on that. It was a tiny little thing, but that’s the same as what gave me the RMSF a few years ago. And Rob picked up Lyme the last time he was home on break.
Speaking of being a hermit, I’ve had another run-in with a recluse of a different sort. Somewhere around April 15 I noticed the back of my left leg hurting and the upper front thigh of my right leg. Two brown recluse spider bites. My first go-to with these bites is our 3Kings Tincture. It’s one of Rob’s formulas made from equal portions of frankincense, myrrh, and dragon’s blood resins. That usually works for everything that bites or stings. It worked for the bite on the back of my left leg. A few days after pat-pat-patting it on a few times a day, that spider bite was no longer a threat.
Not so lucky with the one on the front of my right leg, though. That one continued to inflame, swell and darken, and it became a serious concern. This whole spider bite issue is too much to tack onto this post, so I’m making a post later about it. I’ll show you the pictures of how it looked along the way. There are a few reasons why recluse bites are so dangerous. Not everyone has a reaction to their bites. But for those who do, it’s important to understand what you’re dealing with. I didn’t when we first moved up here and my youngest got bitten.
You can’t just ignore it and hope it’ll just go away. First, the toxin itself causes tissue damage. Second, if it (the toxin) goes systemic, it can cause kidney issues (renal failure), and maybe not last and certainly not least, staph infections are a strong possibility. So, I didn’t take it lightly, and if it had continued to get worse I would have taken myself to the doctor or emergency room. It’s still in progress, and I’m still treating it with a careful and watchful eye. I’m not out of the woods with it yet, but it is no longer swollen as of today (Saturday, Apr. 25) because it’s drained, finally. Now I just have to keep it from getting infected while it continues to heal.
Decluttering is probably one of the most helpful things I could do to get rid of some of the spiders in this house. Not only does it remove hiding and breeding spaces, but it would make any sprays I might use more effective. I prefer to use the sticky traps, because I generally don’t use poisons in the house or garden. But sometimes it’s a necessary evil.
Passing Down the Herb Lore
Since what I had on hand wasn’t working for the spider bite, I had to go out and get something else. Since I’m still being a hermit, though, I didn’t want to go to town. Unless it became more urgent, I didn’t want to go to a doctor’s office or emergency room where I might go home with more than I went in with. (I’ll fess up. I never want to go to the doctor unless it’s really urgent, lol.)
Since Chloe is staying with me, I brought her along. We harvested the inner bark of wild hydrangea and gathered early spring leaves from the sweet gum tree. Along the way, we also stopped and got a handful of sticky cleavers. I’ll explain why these herbs in the next post about the spider bite. Chloe isn’t likely to remember them or why I used them, but at least she’s gotten some early exposure to using plants for healing.
Similarly, a few summers ago I babysat one of the other granddaughters while Gab went to work. Karter had gotten blisters from picking flowers one day a few summers ago and couldn’t go to school. We went out to gather some herbs and clay, and made a cooling, soothing clay plaster for her to wear on her face, hands and arm. She still has a love for plants now, and I like to think I was a positive influence on her with that.
Making Paints & Stocking Shop
I just finished a bunch of new paint sets and a bunch of new paint cubes to package as singles or refills. My online shop is actually looking less empty than ever before. This excites me. It will be a lot more exciting, though, if the Google gods take notice and start sending some more traffic my way.
Here’s the most recent set of paint. I mounted the Paleo Mini’s on a small chunk of a burl I found one day. So glad I put that in my pocket because it made a wonderful palette for some paints.
Still Being a Hermit
I still think this is just continuing a trend with me. I’ll most likely become even more reclusive once this coronavirus wave has washed over us. Now that I’ve learned how to definitely not go to town for a week or two at a time, I’m less likely to leave the house than ever before. So I’m still being a hermit, intend to continue being a hermit, and will likely become an even more reclusive hermit over time. If I could develop a taste for yogurt made from goat milk, I might even get a goat and eliminate the main reason I go to town in the first place.
I’ll just focus on building fences, keeping the jungle at bay and the driveway passable, make and enjoy my gardens, forage for pigments and herbs, facilitate the schooling of the granddaughter, make art, battle the recluses, and generally hold down the fort while Mr. Wild Ozark is keeping the communication lines open for the military base on the other side of the world. I know we’ll both be glad when he’s back on this side.
Madison Woods is a self-taught artist who moved to the Ozarks from south Louisiana in 2005. In 2018 she began experimenting with watercolor painting, using her local pigments. She calls them Paleo Paints, and her artwork features exclusively the lightfast pigments foraged from Madison county, Arkansas. Her inspiration is nature – the beauty, and the inherent cycle of life and death, destruction and regeneration.
Her online portfolio is at www.MadisonWoods.art.
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