I learned an interesting fact the other day from visiting one of my favorite bloggers, Carson at The 7MSN Ranch. Actually, I always learn interesting facts from Carson, especially as she’s about 15 years ahead of me in this City to Ranch transition. Unlike my Dubya Style Ranching (defined as a having the trappings of a ranch except no livestock but terriers), Carson has a real ranch in, as she describes it, Seven Miles South of Nowhere, New Mexico. You want livestock? She’s not only got livestock, but the most personality-forward livestock this side of the set of Babe. As an added bonus, most of them are named after iconic country singers. There are the goats, Willie and Waylon (the latter now sadly deceased), Lyle and Hank the Horses, George and Alan the Burros (named after Strait and Jackson for you non-country fans), and Wynonna the Pig. There were some chickens called The Dixie Chicks, but they aren’t talked about much these days. Carson’s now veering off to naming conventions from the great Western novel, Lonesome Dove, hence Deets the Barn Cat. Smooch the Dog, deserved a name of her own devising.
Anyway, back to that interesting factoid. Have you ever wondered why the West, with millions and millions more acres of tick-infested grasslands, doesn’t have the same or higher incidence of Lyme Disease as the built-up East Coast? Okay, I wonder about these things.
Apparently, when ticks are young. Really young and about the size of a pinhead, their host of choice is the Western Fence Lizard. But when they draw in the blood of the lizard, an interesting thing happens. The tick’s blood is cleansed of the Lyme Disease spirochete (or whatever it is.) So when that tick then grows up and bites you, or your horse, or your terrier, it’s disgusting, but not as dangerous. (It’s all more scientifically explained here.)
Western Fence Lizards, in addition to hanging out on fences, absolutely love stone walls. Luckily, we’ve got loads of them. Yes, we went a little crazy with stone walls up here. Maybe because we have more stones than anything else on our property and we know a great father/son pair, Felix Jr. and Felix Sr., who build beautiful stone walls the traditional Mexican way. Now I’m realizing the stone walls are a health clinic as well as a Club Med for Western Fence Lizards. We’re talking a first line of defense in the prevention of Lyme Disease. I’ve never been so grateful for Oscar and Lucy’s general incompetence as hunters.
(In spite of the help of the hardest working lizards in show business, still be vigilant about tick bites. Work hard to prevent them and, if you get one, watch for the tell-tale signs of Lyme Disease.)
Oh, and Carson? Check out her site. Especially one of my favorite posts: the one where the herd takes on a pack of coyotes and kicks butt.
Above two photos Copyright Linda Carson at The 7MSN Ranch.
I ablsultely love reading Carsons blog as well as yours. Keep it up please.
photo of Wynonna is fantastic, the colors are so vibrant!
You know, when you did your post about Dooce’s remodel and chopped liver and where are the comments, I thought I really should do a post about your blog because it’s so stinkin’ well-written I can barely stand it and people who would love reading it and don’t live in Eastern Europe just haven’t found it and dang that’s a long sentence, but I haven’t gotten around to it yet and now it’s going to seem all like ‘she plugged me so I’d better plug her’ but that’s not it at all. In a blogosphere where so many have so little to say in so many words, only a few stand out as unique and worth reading, and yours is one of those. Thanks for all the kind words you had to say about mine.
Glad to do it for one of the best blogs out there. Just put in a good word for me with Alan and George. And what DID happen to the Dixie Chicks, anyway?
The Dixie Chicks went off to live at the chicken rescue when they stopped laying eggs. Rookie chicken farmer that I was, I kept a light on in their hen house during the winter to mimic the longer daylight hours they need to keep laying. Little did I know that would confuse the heck out of them come spring. So they stopped laying and didn’t seem very happy. I couldn’t bring myself to release them in the wild for coyote bait, so I found someone to adopt them. They made a comeback and started laying again at the new place.
love the pig photo and I checked out the other blog – some good reading between the two you of you.
Very interesting about the lizards. Having grown up in the fine Garden State, and having seen friends get lyme disease and the horrifying symptoms we are especially careful when out in tall grass. Where we live now, it is also a high risk area. When my son was 8 we got back from a camping trip and sure enough, he had a tick embedded in his chest. Very scary. Wound up with a huge rash and luckily we got the meds to him quickly. You are doing a great public service here. I’m not sure that many people are aware of the scary consequences of a run-in with a bug the size of a pinhead.
Thanks to those lizards! And the burros are darling…I’ve always thought them to be such placid looking animals. You rarely see a burro with an angry look 😀
I am assuming the dixie chicks were actual animals? lol!
Most ticks do not carry diseases, and most tick bites do not cause serious health problems. But it is important to remove a tick as soon as you find it. Removing the tick’s body helps you avoid diseases the tick may pass on during feeding. Removing the tick’s head helps prevent an infection in the skin where it bit you. See the Home Treatment section of this topic for the best way to remove a tick.`’;’