Friday, February 27, 2009

Little Miss Muffet

Well, I’m starting to wonder if my mosquito bites are really spider bites. And how do I tell the difference? Although there still are some killer mosquitoes here, Ed has killed plenty of them. But I wonder about the spiders, because for the past few days Ed and I have been sitting on our pillows in the “living room”, and have sworn that we have felt little things falling on our heads. Well today Ed finally saw them, lots and lots of tiny spiders on fine little webs on the ceiling. I wonder about my bites because they are just not acting like mosquito bites, they are not going away, still itch like crazy, and the red welt circumference is larger than a silver dollar. I’ve never had a mosquito bite last this long. By the way, I would like to thank everyone for their wonderful advice on mosquitoes.
So we are fogging the Airstream, took everything out, and dropped the bomb. I’ve never done anything of the sort, although I can remember my grandparents spraying our house for bugs when I was little. I’m scared to go back into the trailer, but at least all the spiders will be dead. Die, spiders, die.

On a happier note, we officially named the Airstream yesterday, and again thanks for all the wonderful suggestions. The winner was: The Ellie Mae. There you have it folks. Have a good day.


  1. i know it sounds weird, but hemeroid cream works better than anything to stop pain and itch from bug bites...try it...

  2. Wow, I just read the CNN article about you and Ed and that's really cool. Hooray!!! :)

  3. Well, you made it a few more days. There must be some strength in there somewhere. Those duckes eating the mosquitos spounds like a good fix. Try it. If you have them already you had better try SOMETHING. It's only the end of February for chrissake.

    As you watch the news, if you watch the news, you will begin to realize that you have a little slice of Heaven on that little farm, living in that Airstream. Be glad and rejoice in it.

    Don't forget that big garden and don't forget some chickens. I see I do not have to remember to tell you about Skin So Soft as others have already done it. I never had to get rid of spiders so the 'bomb' was a good idea, I think. Just remember that Chlorine will kill most things that ail you. For real strong chlorine go to a store that sells supplies for swimming pools and buy the Hypochlorite or however you spell it.

    Many bugs will die from being sprayed with a strong soap solution. A lot of gardeners use that trick. My wife, the Handmaiden, makes a bug spray for me. The recipe is 2 heads of garlic, one medium onion, 2 tablespoons of Cayenne pepper, one gallon of water. Mince up the garlic and onion and throw all the ingredients into the gallon of water and bring it to a boil, shutting off the heat as soon as boil is attained. Put a lid on this concoction and let it sit for 24 hours. Strain it as you pour it into your hand sprayer. Then go forth to spray your bug varmits in the garden. Works like a charm. If you have any spray juice left over you can always use it on your rice and beans.

    Take care!


  4. I love the Ellie Mae! Perfect! I love your blog, it makes me laugh, and what better medicine then laughing..keep up the good attitude.

  5. Very nice, Congrats on the name and best of luck with those tiny eight legs :-)
    Hope you guys have a great weekend.

  6. If you can get your hands on some get Avon's skin so soft for taking baths. The mosquito's will not bug you!

    Hope things work out for you and you both find your dream job!

  7. Leah, sounds like pure hell. I would love to leave it all and live in a trailer, I really would. How cold does it get at night? Do you have heat? Take care and better luck.

  8. Great publicity stunt! Hardly newsworthy.

  9. spider bites tend to be pretty horrific. not red welts. I would guess that your bites are red, and probably puffy and swollen, but that is from scratching usually. Most times, when horrific bites can't be identified they are blamed on spiders, but really there are very few spiders that bite people, and as I said, the bites from spiders are very serious. (ie. a bite on the hand will leave the entire arm swollen 2 or 3 times it' normal size. )

    and FYI, spiders eat mosquitoes, so that is probably why they were in the trailer.

    good luck.


    wilderness EMT/EMT-Paramedic

  10. Mosquitos tend to stick close to water. If the water happens to be soggy grass, then that's where they are. If there's some elevation where you are and if it's possible, stick to higher ground, particularly during dusk and dawn.

    Green and blue clothes tend to ward off mosquitos, reds and purples attract them.

    Wear multiple layers so that it's harder for them to bite. Several layers of thin cotton can be as warm as, or warmer than, a wool sweater.

    Wiping your skin with straight vinegar or diluted lemon juice after a bath or shower, and letting it air-dry will deter mosquitos. The increased alkalinity of your skin just became unpleasant for them. Your body might also be more acidic with the stress of the changes you've gone through, and the increased alkalinity of your skin will help.

    Increasing alkaline foods (specially green veggies and leafy greens) and minimizing acidic foods (specially red meat) will help your body's systems handle the stress better (and help make your body unattractive for bugs).

    I'd also like to suggest looking up primitive skills groups in your area. They can provide a multitude of tips and tricks about dealing with nature, they'll help you find a new network (which can be useful in establishing a social life and a sharing network for rural living), and give you more confidence in adapting to a rural lifestyle.

  11. Sounds like you have fleas to me, frankly.

  12. I just read your story and think you are both very brave. Congrats on the move and I know that not being in the "City" is hard but I'll bet that you will never go back once you begin to feel the wonderful draw of "country living". I would liken your adventure to more of a "Green Acres" than Beverly Hillbillies. Good Luck

  13. Leah and Ed,

    Good morning. Do you both realize how lucky you are. I am professionally employed but stuck
    in East Texas! The real estate market is different here but I still think I will lose money when I try to sell my home. I would be forever grateful to live and work on a farm anywhere in North America.
    I was raised back east and educated in Northern
    California so you can just imagine the culture shock I witness daily.
    Enjoy your new lifestyle. Perhaps you might think about adopting/rescuing one or two horses
    and learn something new and valuable. It would prove very wothwhile for both horse and human.
    I really hope you learn to love your new lifestyle.
    Stuck in T and not loving it

  14. I am so glad cnn is posting stories like this. I was living in Dana Point on the beach and after my layoff, loosing everything I too found myself on a rural ranch in Texas in the middle of nowhere. I love country lifestyle though. I've had my emotional meltdowns though from being alone. You at least have eachother. Thats wealth. I'm now in a nice place temporarily in northern CA but who knows how long that will last? I'm a yogini, I am responsible, but I can't control everyting. This economny has brought out the best and worst in people. Lots of luck to you. If you want to talk to someone who knows exactly what you are going thru, email me We probably know the same people.

  15. Hello Leah,
    Watch the spider bites, they are different from mosquito bites and after you have bombed the place you can keep them in check with a vacuum cleaner. I went to Ikea last week (for the first time) and they sold these rings that mounted above a bed and supported a mosquito net.

    I first heard your story this morning, someone posted the link to the CNN story on the Homestead email list .

    Moving on because you HAD to is big time stress but having the money to buy shelter a place to park that shelter and the ability to get it there helps a lot. It’s a stress as old as the human race but it’s still a stress.
    As a plus you have a big learning curve to get thru, spring is right around the corner and you’ll figure it out.

    There are number of people on the road today for different reasons, many new ones because of the economy and not all of them with the economic means to do what you did. There is a list for folks on the road (for whatever the reason) .

    As the year goes on and you work the way thru the learning curve of your new life things will get better. Southern Oregon is a great place in the summer and spring is just around the corner, hang in there. Life will be better when the rain stops and you are in a good place to get thru the crumbling economy.

  16. Hey Leah,
    Read about you on CNN (like a lot of others leaving comments today) and have to say we're rooting for you.

    My wife and I, along with another couple, are dreaming of someday leaving Chicago behind and opening a bed & breakfast out in Oregon. Your experiences, (which I'm only starting to catch up on) sound exciting and so informative as to the thrills and challenges of leaving "civilization" behind to some degree.

    We'll also be bringing our Airstream, by the way - a 1962 Globe Trotter.

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  19. Hey Frank,
    It drops to the low 30s at night, and yes, we have heat. Thanks.

  20. Hi-
    Mosquitos are beneficial food to bats, frogs, fish and other animals. Mosquitos are attracted to CO2- ie your breath. They also can carry a variety of viruses, known as "arboviruses". In your area namely, West Nile Virus. Use appropriate bug repellent. Here's a link from Univ of Florida that talks about effective repellents:

    Spider bites can be dangerous. You have both black widow spiders and brown recluse spiders. Watch any welts you have on your body and notice if you see any red streaks coming from the bite area. If so, get to the doctor or local emergency room immediately for treatment.

    I'm from Southern Oregon. It's no picnic, I can guarantee that. Yes, it's beautiful, but it's also an incredibly depressed area. Nothing has changed since I was a kid, regardless of where the people are from. The areas are known for high drug trafficking, due to the proximity to the coast and I-5 corridor. Meth labs are almost more abundant than pine trees.

    I have family that lives South of where you are and the closest town (which has well over 100,000 citizens) no longer has a library, nor enough money to have sheriffs nor state patrol officers. Somehow, the bars stay in business and are just as numerous now as they were 30 years ago. Lawlessness in their area is incredible.

    Education is key to living in this kind of area. If you don't have a marketable skill, you will be competing with everyone else for the minimum (or less than minimum) wage jobs at the local gas station and market. Most people I grew up with either joined the military or went to college in order to get out of the area. When I graduated from high school, you were successful only if you could find a way to leave.

    Good luck to you. The environment is rough and not forgiving. Isolation and depression will be your biggest hurdles.