The Wildwood Farm tales are plentiful by day, with our animal count increasing, the days lengthening and oh so much growing and changing.
The grass at present grows faster than the sheep can eat it, and I do believe that in the subtropics, with so much blessed rain and muggy warmth you can literally watch your garden grow. With that comes much abundance for all creatures great and small. Funny how the smallest creatures can at times cause the most damage!
The Spring grasses seemed to be particularly laden with ticks, and a few found a cosy little spot for a snack on our family’s flesh. The reaction to ticks can be as vast and wild as the weather. Our 6 year old daughter’s recent response to a cattle tick bite on her temple had her eye almost swollen shut for a few days. The flu like symptoms which commonly arise, and potential debilitating illnesses that can be transferred naturally lead to great fear of these mini but mighty Arthropods.
This fear kept me and my girls inside for a few days, but as ticks live on grass, leaf litter and shrubs, on a farm it is near impossible to avoid contact. So to bridge my fear, to accept the persistent presence of this parasite energy, we welcomed some predators to the farm, the incredible Guinea Fowl. This african native with it’s striking spotted feathers and unique sounds has a reputation for hunting ticks and it feels good to have them join our team.
Australia is renowned for our deadly creatures, and while they exist, we have a choice whether we let their threat dictate our lives. A dip in the ocean does not equal death by shark, a wander into a wild meadow will unlikely lead to a deadly snake bite, incy wincy spider is not out to get you, but our fear of nature is perhaps the most demobilising and unfortunate fate of all.
Accepting that ticks are thriving all around us, and finding a way to keep them as far away as possible is a lesson for me in working with what arises, rather than against. The permaculture principle “The Problem is The Solution” applies here, and in nearly every scenario that we shed light and perspective on. The natural world has so much beauty and while danger lurks in the shadows (or in this case the grass) I choose to trust in the chaos of this majestic place we call home.