For a couple of days the Smalls and I lived in the caravan on the property of our friends who have 20 acres in Hastings. They had asked us if we would like to housesit while they went caravanning for a week and we jumped at the chance. They were to be leaving on Friday…but that turned into Saturday…and that turned into 3pm Sunday…
I love them dearly, but the temptation of having a WHOLE HOUSE to myself, while they extended their leaving time by two days was a bit of a torment. Once they were gone I finally felt able to stuff our food into their fridge, put the Thermomix on their bench and start doing a load of washing. Bliss…
We are in charge of some sheep, an aged cat and about 20 chickens. My relationship with the latter did not begin well – I had been showed by my farmer-friend how to crowbar a few of the hens out of their nests to check for eggs. She did it in a heartbeat – me? I was poking around, worried I was going to hurt the chicken – the chicken could sense my fear and would not budge… and then I felt something strange.
I looked down and saw (ok, so it might not have been hundreds, but it felt like MILLIONS) of tiny mites crawling over my hands and up my wrists. There were some on the Smalls too – they had been helping me. Small Z, hater of such things, ran inside to wash her hands. I wiped them off and continued with my duties. But I could still feel them. Yuuuuuuck….
Later I bathed the Smalls and took a looooong shower and scrubbed my whole self. But after drying off and sorting out dinner, I was STILL finding them 🙁 They are super-tiny, like the head of a needle (not a pin) and almost translucent. I was so grossed out. I had contacted my farmer-friend, who called me and said that she had not known the chooks had mites – they usually treated them with sulphur – but that it was a very stinky and messy job.
Our first night in the house was less than stellar. I could feel small creatures walking around on me. Small DB had chosen to sleep in a different bedroom and woke up twice, calling for me. The morning dawned on three very grumpy people – eventually I took us all to meet up with the WildThings at the beach, and that was a welcome circuit breaker.
On the way home I went into a workwear place and spent $10 on a full body disposable suit – the kind you use for spray-painting. I looked like I worked in a nuclear power plant. But when I checked the eggs, I remained mite-free! The victory would have been sweeter if the suit itself hadn’t stunk like some kind of cheap skanko plastic, requiring another long scrubby shower…
I didn’t check the eggs yesterday – I am hoping that M – who is having a Dadda Day, will do the honours. He continues to spend all his time at the boat, readying it for life aboard ‘on the hard’ (that is the boat-savvy way of saying that the boat is not in the water – it is on the land).
Other than the mites our two days of house-sitting have been pretty awesome. There are many plums, stupid amounts of zucchini and I stewed some of the peaches that had been starting to look unhappy. The Smalls don’t want to leave! My farmer-friend is a crafting goddess and in a former life used to be an art teacher – there are bountiful supplies for us to get making – I am hoping the next two days will involve some of that.
It’s 6am again. Dark. And I am on a train to work to do an 11 hour day or so – this is working better for us all at the moment – giving M an extra day at the boat. I don’t seem to have found any other time to type!