Sunday, November 27, 2011

Fleas, fleas, and more fleas

I have washed every comforter, blanket, and rug more in the past two months than I have in a year. I do not have carpeting so there are very few places for these buggers to hide, yet, still. 

In all my years of having cats, some of which were outdoor animals, I have NEVER had a flea problem - not a solitary one. Move to Georgia, get a dog, and wa-la, fleas galore. 

As miserable and as infested as these animals continue to be you'd think that I would be bit to pieces myself. Nothing. Not even an itch. And the cats sleep with me.

I've tried flea collars, spot-on flea medication, flea baths (chemical and natural, professional and at home), flea pills, flea combs, scrubbing everything with vinegar and lemon juice, spreading diatinaceous earth all over the yard and around the house, and still, even with two good frosts. 

The poor things scratch and bite and run around shaking. Now, I've noticed a few bumps on Mello that I thought at first might be ticks, but are just patches of dry, scaling skin with flea droppings around it. 

It's not healthy to bathe cats too often, so that is out. Mello has been bathed in chemicals, oatmeal, essential oils, and Dawn dish soap. Another can't possibly be good. I feel sooo very sorry for all of them. 

Today, I will once again take everything to wash in steaming water and vinegar. I will apply the spot-on medication and then comb - again. My poor, poor babies. 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Love More, Fear Less

At the Spirit of the Earth Church’s Samhain Festival on October 22, 2011, I walked the labyrinth after first searching my heart and soul about what I needed desperately to release for 2012; searching for the one thing that was holding me back from realizing my dreams. The list rolled in my head: overeating, being lazy, worry, money, etc. Only one word kept blasting me over and over. Every time I meditated on a word that came up, this one word blew it apart and stood prominent before my eyes, whether my eyes were closed or staring at the fire, or looking at another person who was trying to make the same decision.

This ritual of searching and releasing was a solitary ritual in unity. It was a word or act that we were to keep to ourselves and release it in the labyrinth fires. I did that, until today. Today, I must share because the universe has come together yet again to support me. The word, the act that I released; the word and the act that has held me back from everything, is FEAR.

What I realized today is that just releasing your issue once is not enough. It must be released every moment of every day. It must be acknowledged and put aside again and again, otherwise it slowly and surely creeps back in until it once again overwhelms you.

For days, possibly weeks if I’m to be honest, fear has strangled me until in the past few days, I barely moved through the house. I went from bed, to dining room table to armchair, and not much more. Fear is paralyzing. Fear of having made the wrong decision to move away from my support group, having made the wrong decision on the location to settle, fear of having trusted the wrong people, fear of what people think of me, fear of what will become of me in the future. Fear, Fear, FEAR!

Thanks to the energy of good and positive that I’ve learned, even sub-consciously to look for, I’ve been able to acknowledge, name and release my issue—yet again.

  • The first was the reading of Tao te Ching this morning: “When you are content to be simply yourself and don’t compare or compete, everybody will respect you.” I even posted this on Facebook disputing the ending.
  • The second was being too lazy and involved in my delicious breakfast to get up and turn the knob when the Chattanooga Public Radio Classical 90.5 I listen to went into a religious broadcast. Amidst the bites, chews, and swallows, Pastor Jerry Arnold of the Collegedale Seventh-Day Adventist Church told a story of Navy Seals Training. He told of how instructors talked for hours about how terrible the next step would be and all they had to do was ring the bell and be saved from the torture. How several men rang the bell and left the training, not because of what they were going through but out of fear of what was to come.
  • The third came on top of the second. While Pastor Jerry Arnold was talking about being present in the moment and being thankful for what we have, I read an article Love More,Fear Less: A Mantra for the Holidays” by MeiMei Fox on Huffington Post: “By giving to others, we heal our own wounds. We become happier, more fulfilled, and even live longer. So yes, fear less: take on your demons, push yourself past your limits, be brave and bold. But also, love more, starting with yourself.” 

So, I remove the dispute that “everybody will respect you,” because it was fear that people didn’t respect me that made that dispute. I will not stop giving, helping, and most importantly, trusting because of what someone else may think, and if someone doesn’t like me or doesn’t respect me and my decisions, that is their problem, not mine.

Now, out to help with Feed Fannin at Light Up Blue Ridge.

Peace and love

Monday, November 14, 2011

First Snow in North Georgia Appalachians

It's mid November and 70 degrees in the Blue Ridge Mountains. Sky is overcast and the ground is a mélange of colors, except for my yard. My yard alone has captured the first snow fall, and it is a beautiful sight.

Actually, it is diatomaceous earth. In a nutshell, it is the fossilized remains of hard-shell algae. It is food-grade and harmless to humans and animals—unless, of course, you breathe in large volumes of the dust. It is a flour-like substance and has innumerable uses.

My issue is with fleas in this humid environment. Layers of decaying leaves makes my yard (and the surrounding area) prime real estate for these little buggers, as well as gnats. In a previous post, I declared gnats the state insect of Georgia. Well, enough of all of them.

My poor puppy Mello, was just miserable. After Rocky cat found a wolf worm, the cats have, unfortunately for them, reverted to house pets. The cats and the dog stay completely away from each other, which is why neither Rocky nor Lola has fleas. Mello, who plays and rolls in the leaves, does. We spend hours training and playing in the yard and the fleas were having a feast.

All three animals had a flea pill from Mountain Dog Boarding, a dip, an oatmeal bath, and a brushing. All bedding was washed in hot water with vinegar. Almost $200 later and Mello still can’t sleep through the night—which means I don’t sleep through the night.

Enter diatomaceous earth and the 2011 snowfall in Mineral Bluff, GA. DE is non-toxic and safe enough to eat—they use it in grain silos after all. So, here’s hoping the fleas AND Georgia’s favorite insect, the gnats, will enjoy my white yard. Much better than attempting to RAKE!!