In the book of Genesis, God tells Adam, “cursed is the ground because of you; in toil you shall eat of it all the days of your life; thorns and thistles it shall bring forth for you.”
And then God created the Bradford Pear, or at least the cross-bred variety covering our land like a plague of locusts.
Imagine if thorny vines grew into trees. Imagine a super-plant that can perniciously sprout out of its own roots and grow in a cluster. Imagine interlocking branches and no smooth surface to grab when dragging them away. Imagine inch-long thorns jabbing arms, legs, and abdomen, leaving a tetanus-shot soreness and a purple bruise.
Granted, in spring they blossom white—they’re lovely if you can get past the stench. In autumn, the leaves are breathtaking shades of red, yellow, and orange. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pyrus_calleryana
But unless cultivated, they’re literally a thorn in the side.
Nevertheless, we’ve cleared enough to put down a sheet of plastic roughly the dimensions of the tiny cabin. This sheet is 10’ X 25’, and our cabin (with porches) will be 16’ X 22’. We still have to remove some stumps, and the impending rain should work in our favor for once–hopefully softening the ground enough for us to pull them out.
People have asked if I’m afraid of snakes. Arkansas is, after all, home to the copperhead, rattlesnake, and water moccasin. With a pond on one side of the land and a flood on the other, I’m sure the snakes out there are happy campers.
It’s been my experience, however, that snakes are more afraid of me than I am of them. I’m mindful of where I’m walking and where I go poking around. I don’t begrudge an angry snake—I don’t like anyone bursting in my house uninvited, so why should they?
Ticks are another matter. I am, indeed, afraid of ticks. Like snakes, they’re stealthy, but they’re out for blood whether or not they’ve been wronged.
Someone told me that ticks are bad this year. I don’t have a basis of comparison, but I know I’ve seen plenty. A bite I got on Wednesday is now about the size of a nickel and inflamed. Granted, it’s in a sensitive place that gets a lot of movement…
Just to be safe, I went to my doctor. He’s a tall, elderly man who reminds me of Clint Eastwood. He looks to me like he’s seen a few things. I trust his opinion.
He told me to keep an eye on it and let him know if it gets worse. Though it’s unlikely that I’ll contract a tick-borne illness, I have to wait 10-14 days before I experience symptoms of a more serious condition.
The woods are not without threat, but then again neither is suburbia.