This was another of those days where I spent many hours outside. I hadn’t planned on it, but with a possible thunderstorm expected tomorrow, I thought I better mow my lawn before it got drenched again. And then, since the thunderstorm is only possible, I thought I better water my grass and other vegetation because some of it was looking a bit droopy. And then, I had to plant a few things my neighbor brought over. And then . . . Well, the day got away from me. I only stopped working because my legs and feet gave out on me.
As it turns out, it was a good thing I did all that. Now the forecast says that dangerous storms are possible today as well as tomorrow. Yikes.
It was also a good thing I planned ahead, unlike yesterday, and wore my gardening clothes.
People have asked me if spraying my gardening clothes with permethrin helps prevent mosquito bites, and it seems that it does. Yesterday I ended up with a few hugely swollen mosquito bites (I tend to be sensitive to the bite of little critters) and today, I had none at all. The pants I mosquito-proof are khaki rather than my usual black, so that helps, too, but I tend to think the major help is the mosquito repellant, both on my clothes and my hands. (I use lemon-eucalyptus oil on my skin which works as well as Deet and is supposed to be a lot less toxic, though I still use it sparingly just in case.)
Unfortunately, I have yet to find something that works to eradicate the itching once I have the bites. I use witch hazel as a wash, and that does help some, but what comes next is rather a crap shoot because sometimes a thing works and sometimes it doesn’t. I’ve tried everything, included things people have suggested, such as Melagel, Campho-Phenique, After Bite, Lidocaine, hydrocortisone cream, Caladryl, and several others. The only thing that ever worked for me was on the market just a short time — it was a homeopathic product put out by TechNu, but it’s long gone. (Amazing how that happens — every single time in my life I found a product that actually works, it disappears, and I’m left trying in vain to find something to fill the need.)
But, sore feet, mosquito bites and all, these two days were worth it. My yard looks great! Even better, because of all the work, I have nothing much to do tomorrow but dig up the patch of ground that spent almost three years beneath the pallet of shingles. Not only is that ground hard rock (the truth, not just a cliche), but the grass and weeds that survived the lack of sun, moisture, and air are wickedly strong. I did water the area today, so I’m hoping the moisture will make it easier to dig down to remove the weeds when I get around to doing the work.
But that’s for tomorrow or even the day after that. For the rest of today, I’ll . . . rest . . . and enjoy the single johnny jump up that jumped up and showed its pretty face.
Pat Bertram is the author of intriguing fiction and insightful works of grief.