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Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Caddo Lake and I've an Itch

Caddo Lake State Park, Texas

There's nothing in my memory that itches worse than poison ivy other than perhaps chiggers. As I type this post, my left hand and right arm is covered in a blistery oozing rash that itches something like fireants and an old wool sweater. In fact, poison ivy never bothered me until I became pregnant with my second child. That pregnancy was a curse to my hiking sensibilities. However, I should be grateful that it is just poison ivy and not chiggers...

The first time I ever got chiggers I was about age eight. A mean girl at school broke my foot by jumping off the seesaw when I was high in the air and the board came crashing down with me on it, crushing my foot. I wasn't the type of kid who stayed indoors and rested while having a cast on like I probably should have, but instead spent hours in the field behind my home exploring and playing with my older sister and twin brother.

Trust me, playing in high grass with a cast on in the Texas summer heat is not a very smart thing to do.

In hours, my leg and foot with the cast on came down with an itch so bad that I took a wire coat hanger, straightened it out, and rubbed it up and down on my skin between my cast and my leg. This only made the itch worse, but since I had a cast on my mother couldn't put any creams or salves on my leg to make the itch any better. Me scratching my leg with the coat hanger went on for at least a week until my leg began oozing and blood began to appear.

(Have you lost your appetite yet?)

Finally, my mother took me back to the doctor that had wrapped my leg and foot in the cast. The doctor cut off my cast and underneath revealed what had been bothering me so much--hundreds of chigger bites and infected sores. Needless to say, I hate the cursed arachnid that is the chigger.

So you can understand why my husband and boys have the following looks on their faces:

Look at those Faces!

If it looks like something is crawling up their rears, well that's because there is. When we got home from Caddo Lake State Park this weekend my husband and my boys' behinds and bodies were covered in chigger bites. There is a reason sometimes why me being behind the camera is not such a bad thing...I don't have to sit on logs and get eaten up in the process.

And yes, that is poison ivy on the ground in front of them. Amazingly none of them touched that stuff.

Now for some photographs of Caddo Lake State Park, which we visited on a whim Saturday because my husband woke up very early and exclaimed that he wanted to see a real life alligator and were there any parks in Texas that we could go to that had them. And he claims that I am random.

The pawpaw grove--my husband and I want to grow some of these even though we've never tasted them. Anyone ever tried these before?

Boys in the Pawpaw Grove

The weird plant with the funny-looking fruit that we still haven't identified. Anyone know what this thing is?

Plant on Hiking Trail

There were more than enough daddy-longlegs and dragon flies...

Dragon Fly

and definitely more caterpillars than I could handle (gag!):

The Mass

My favorite part was the swamp--

Caddo Lake State Park, Texas

although fortunately my husband didn't get to see any alligators.

PS: It's my nine year wedding anniversary today! We made it through the seven year itch. In fact, that may just be the worst itch of all.

What did you do for the weekend, and most importantly do you have any good remedies for poison ivy or chiggers before I scratch all my skin off?


Le'Ann Ruggles said...

Ooh, I hate chiggars! Got attacked by those little buggers last weekend at Brazos Bend. Benadryl cream did the trick for me. Not sure what to suggest for poison ivy since I seem to be one of the lucky ones who never gets a rash. *crossing fingers*

The Boob Nazi said...

Congratulations on nine years!

DangGina said...

I've never experienced either chiggars or poison ivy; but reading your story made me more than a little uncomfortable. (Mostly because your poor leg was in that chiggar-infested cast for a week! YOUCH!)

Your pictures are beautiful! I want to go to there...

My weekend was so awesome. Spent some time with my family down in Zion for a couple days, then came back and met my boyfriend's family. (Why is that always such a scary thing?) Turns out they're super nice (I figured they would be) and they think I'm nice too...but I also know that they don't know I'm fun and funny and witty and charming to boot as well, because I get quiet when I'm around a group of people I don't know.

Aren't you glad you asked? :)

Screwed Up Texan said...

Lee'Ann, that's what I used to say until Baby 2 messed with my immunity to those bastardly things. Mosquitoes still dont bother me though.

Boob, Thanks!

DangGina, I react the same way when I am around a large group of people I dont know. I have a feeling we'd get along just fine...

Marylin said...

Oh man the only time I have had any experience with Chiggers was in High School on a summer trip and it wasn't me that got bit, it was everyone with me borrowing my nail polish to cover the bites cause someone told us that helped! I don't know if it did, all I know is there were a lot of people walking around with pink dots all over them :) LOL!! Oh and your story about them in your cast creeped me out!!! :)

Mindee@ourfrontdoor said...

I have no advice, or remedies or anything remotely helpful.

I do, however, have immense sympathy for you!

Teddy Started It said...

Well it's so nice to know that the chiggers weren't just hanging out at Lake Texoma this weekend...because misery just LOVES company, and me & my boy (and our bottoms) can definitely keep y'all company. This is our first go 'round with chiggers. Hate them! Don't even want to think about them under a cast. YIKES!

As for poison ivy - I'm horrible for that stuff. The quickest way I've found to get rid of it is to dowse it with peroxide or rubbing alcohol. Lavender will help ease the itching, but the peroxide/alcohol will dry it up and make it go away much faster.

Le'Ann Ruggles said...

Guess it's a good thing that I decided to stop with one kid, huh? ;)
Oh, and mosquitoes give me huge welts. In our neck of the woods, we see lots ofmosquitoes... and for some reason, they find me very tasty. Ugh!
Hope you get rid of your rash soon.

Angie S said...

Chiggers are no fun!

Layla got a mosquito bite this weekend while we were in the made her forehead swell so bad we thought she got kicked in the head.

It was horrible.

I love all the buggy pics!

Renee said...

funny post...had chiggers before several times in all the usual places: ankles, knees, pantylines, but one time i got them real bad in the under-carriage area if you know what i mean...what is the point of these evil infintessimal creatures?

clear Caladryl in the white bottle sold near the pink's benadryl and calamine all in one lotion so it helps dry up the weepiness and helps with the itch for both PI & chigs; plus take benadryl, i don't know if it really helps, but being partially unconscious really masks misery

Grams said...

If you're looking for a home remedy, my Granny used to make a paste of shortening and baking soda and rub it on our chigger bites. In my memory it worked. But the best thing I've found is a product called Chigarid. You should be able to find it in your local pharmacy.

Julie K. said...

I HATE chiggers with a passion. They are awful. Spray deodorant calms the itching for a while. I am known to take a Benadryl pill if the itching is unbearable.

I have never had poison ivy, but my husband says the pink calamine lotion is the only thing that helps. He has also gotten a shot for it when he was really covered in it.

Foursons said...

That fruit just may be a fig! I can't really see the leaves, but I'm thinking fig.

I have about 50 mosquito bites on each of my legs right now (may be sorely underestimated) and I can't tell you how horrible they feel. Ugh.

Kristen said...

Chiggers are evil. Plain and simple. I put poison ivy in that category as well, even though I personally have yet to succumb to it.

Congratulations on your anniversary!!!

J said...

OMG the exact same thing happened to my husband and I this weekend (haven't blogged about it yet, though). We are covered in bites!! I am going to use all the commenters' suggestions FOR SURE. Thank you!!

Screwed Up Texan said...

Marilyn, That had to be a funny sight!

Mindee, even sympathy helps!

Teddy, I tried the lavendar...wasnt sure at first, but I think it actually helped! Thanks!

Lee'Ann, Yes, you are lucky, ha ha!

Angie, I once got a mosquito bite on my eye...the only one that had swelled in years...looked like I had got into a fight.

Renee, I forgot all about Caladryl--thanks for the reminder!

Grams, Interesting...I've been known to do strange things so this one might get tried...

Julie, Oh your poor husband! I wish there was a magic pill or shot that got rid of the stuff instantly.

Foursons, you sure those arent chiggers? In either case, I feel for you--

The fruit does look like a fig, but the leaves are totally different. I cut open one of the fruits that was laying on the ground and the inside didnt resemble a fig at all, at least not a ripe one.

Kristen, They ARE evil!

J, If any of these remedies work for you, let me know!

Leiah said...

Whomever mentioned nail polish is right. Katiebug's pediatrician taught me that years ago - she's severely allergic to mosquitoes, etc. and that stuff you can buy called "Chigger-rid" is just clear nail polish with some additional scent added. The polish 'seals' it from the air - which is what actually makes it itch. Never really understood exactly how it works but it definitely does. I keep some in my car first-aid kit.

Sell...Party Of 4 said...

I adore the picture of all the caterpillars, but I wouldn't want to touch any of them. This looks like heaven for my child.

Candance said...

I was totally going to go with the clear nail polish thing for the chiggers, but others beat me to it, so I got nothing.

I also go nothing on the poison ivy. I don't go out into the wilderness much, so you know.

Tracy said...

My in-laws live on Caddo Lake. I got chiggers EVERY TIME we visited them the first few years we were married. Now when we visit, I refuse to go outside. :)

NitWit1 said...

For some reason I could not view your photos but I scratched and scratched my way through your blog today. Hope itching has relented a tad.

Jackie said...

ARGH! It sounds so gross! I HATE being itchy!

Gotta love the Texas 'wildlife'

Your photos are fantastic!

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