Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Ticks are edible

     This year with spring arriving about a month early we’ve wondered if the population of ticks sneaking around our yard are silently exploding, those creepy little killers. Sure enough just a few days ago, Anita pulled a full-bellied deer tick off Blackberry’s ear.  (He is Honeysuckle’s remaining son, a messy teenage boy, finally ready to leave next week for his new home as a surprise birthday gift to a seven-year-old.)
     Just today the Huffington Post published a warning I take to heart. It is enough for any situational hypochondriac to repeatedly Google Lyme disease and be certain you’ve had it at least  twenty times in the past year.

     You can’t be smugly indifferent just because you don’t live in the forest. No. Even we urban dwellers are targets for lyme disease and other tick borne plagues. (If you don’t believe me just go ahead and Google ticks.) I hope the following helps you: it turns out that guinea fowl love ticks! Some reports claim a single hen can clear a two acre area clean of any tick that dares crawl through her territory. But you can’t think in “ones.” These animals thrive as flocks, in communities, not as singles. So if you take my advice get at least two. Three. Perhaps ten.
We would love to own guinea fowl, but I doubt our neighbors would tolerate them. Maybe we couldn’t either, when it gets down to it. They have one tiny little unfavorable characteristic.

      We have grandchildren who live on ten wooded acres surrounded by hundreds more, who lie on the ground and play in the dirt.... Perhaps it is our duty to protect them from tick-borne illness? Perhaps we should gift them with a little flock. Perhaps Guinea fowl cries could be considered musical if you thought of them as tick-eaters rather than something that makes you scream SHUT-UP OR I WILL KILL YOU THIS INSTANT.
     What do you think, Micah? Jerem?