Tuesday, July 13, 2021

Pick your Poison

I love weeding my garden. I love the peace and calm it brings me - it's slow paced, and yet I know the little changes I'm making make a difference over time. I regard the cove at the edge of my land as an extension of my garden, it's just that it's a water-garden. Every garden needs some TLC, and weeding, right?

In summer, I love wading through and weeding my cove. We have a problem with Variable Milfoil, an invasive, in our lake, and I work hard to keep it from getting a foothold in MY cove. It gives me a reason and purpose for investigating ALL sections of my lakefront where such plants may be hiding and thriving, and the water is refreshing in summer, which is a bonus. Some of the silt I walk through is a muddy substrate that can't take my weight, so when I feel solid ground beneath me I'm buried to mid-thigh in silt. The silt suspension is the thickest one can get and still be liquid - a little like walking through a Metamucil or Citrucel drink! It's cold down where my feet are, and there are many buried stones, branches and logs, which can hurt sometimes. 

And, if I stay in one position for long, it's really difficult to pull my legs out to walk elsewhere - there's a suction that threatens to split your body off at the knee if you don't fight back. Anyhow, this seems to be where leeches hang out too ... on my most recent foray, we found 9 tiny, light brown leeches feeding on me when I got out. I hadn't felt a thing. They were the color of freckles, but their tapered shape gave them away. They didn't hurt, and 3 days later, they were just small red spots, and hadn't even been itchy.

I think biting flies (deerflies, blackflies) and mosquitoes bother me more when I'm weeding on land than these leeches do! At least leeches are stealthy and quiet, and don't make a big noise about coming to feed on you! Flies and mosquitoes harass with their noisy buzzing before they feed.

It's when I do a combination of wading and swimming (see the photo below that Dale took) that I become bait for all manner of biting insects, aquatic and aerial. Here I was lying on a boogie board to suspend my body on the silt layer, so I could reach the shallower areas where milfoil was growing without throwing up clouds of silt that would mess with my visibility - this is prime leech, mosquito and biting fly territory (and opportunity): shady, and damp. It does mean I have to reach my hands deep down into the cold muck to loosen the roots, but it's less difficult than wading and being sucked down as the silt settles and covers your feet.

I love this work! I can't stop myself from doing this regularly, despite the irritations!


Wendy said...

You are a trooper, I am sure your lake neighbors appreciate your efforts!

Debbie said...

Maybe they do, but I'm really doing this for myself, for my own pleasure. It's what rocks my boat!

Shelley Burbank said...

Glad you are enjoying your work!

Debbie said...

I am for sure. I think maybe I breathe silt!