Ticks do not tickle

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Do the ticks tickle this deer? Looks like it!

May all creatures be happy and good! Sounds like a good motto.
But concerning ticks, I have a very different opinion. Ticks are nasty little buggers, they can transfer a dangerous disease like Lyme disease. And they are ugly. A brownish/black, flat, diamond-shaped body that swells up when they suck blood from a warm-blooded animal. Eight short spidery legs and a snout that is able to dive into flesh, my flesh.
Describing this beasty already sent shivers down my spine. I can not find any good qualities in the insect-like making medicine against life-threatening diseases or helping to relieve pain. I don’t know why ticks ever evolved in the first place if their intent is to be vampires. They are dark side creatures.

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Ugly little bloodsucker

Despite their 8 legs, they cannot move very fast but cling on to clothes or tent or wherever they are on. During the years it looks like ticks are increasing in numbers. After a walk, we find a few on our socks and trousers. They lurk in long grasses, heather and bracken waiting for a warm-blooded creature to come along.
This year we put the tent up in, what looked like, a nice bit of grass. It turned out to be a nest of very small ticks and the tent was covered with them. We spent 2 hours getting the tiny ticks off the tent. And they kept popping up.

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Very idyllic campsite with an infestation of tiny little ticks

That means socks and trousers will be outside the inner tent. But that is by no means a guarantee that they won’t find a way to gain access to the tent and slip in my sleeping bag. We have to be vigilant and check our clothes every day. Especially in area where there is deer around. Deer are the favourite victims of ticks.
We check our body’s as well. If a tick is attached for longer than 24 hours on your body you have to keep an eye on the bite for redness or circular markings. On the optimistic side, not all ticks carry Lyme disease. But that doesn’t make them a good guy again!
They have favourite places to bite, like the back of your knees, armpits, behind the ears, in the groin. Nice warm places near to a nice warmblood supply. I am always worried they get into my hair and I cannot spot them fast enough. Alexander has to check my hair twice a day. Looks a bit monkey-like. But very good for the relationship. I think that must be the only beneficial effect of ticks.

 

Charlotte Gannet

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 Favorite host of ticks relaxing in typical tick vegetation

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How to kill a fish.

Charlotte Gannet fishing with a hand spool in her kayak.

Catching fish with a hand spool

I put my index finger in one gill and my middle finger in the other. I place my thumb on the spine. I close my eyes and bent back the head of the mackerel. I hear a tearing sound, like the ripping open a seam of your favourite jeans.
The whole fish just went limp in my hands. I open my eyes and see a big red droplet of blood trickling down the left glass of my sunglasses. As I look down I see my kayak covert in blood. The same colour as my own blood. It is almost too much blood, I quickly check if I have any wounds.
I look at the silver coloured fish, so dynamic and lively as it was on the fishing line. So beautiful in the black coloured pattern on the back and the iridescent shimmering in the smooth scales.

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Beautiful iridescent skin of the macerel

‘Yeah, that looks like dinner, gut it and fish for some more!’ Alexander cheers.
‘What?’ I look up from my dazed moment contemplating the fact that I just killed a fish. I overpowered another living thing, weaker than I am. I tricked it with a shimmering piece of plastic and a hook, pretending it was food. Food, the basic necessity for all life on this earth.
Ironically, I’m going to eat it as food. How can I not have feelings about killing a fish?

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Killer kayaker

Recent scientific research has shown that fish do feel the pain of catching and when it dies of suffocation when out of the water. This knowledge changed my entire view of killing fish.
I used to catch fish and let my husband do the killing because I am a bit of a coward. But in a higher sea it is not possible to hand over a slippery fish, we tried and lost some good fish that way. In bigger waves, I would just remove the hook and leave the fish to die in my kayak. Now I know that is a horrible way for the fish to die.

Killing the fish is the most difficult thing to do when you think about it. It appeals to my conscience ‘Thou shalt not kill’. Taking a life to feed yourself. At home it is so easy, the fish is already dead and gutted when I buy it. It is neatly packed into some plastic. It is not even a fish anymore. Life has left the body, it is just flesh. But out here, I need to find my inner hunter, that ‘ eat or be eaten’ instinct. Although, I don’t think a mackerel will strike back and throw me overboard to kill me. Because it is not a big threat to human existence it makes an easy prey.
But if I choose to eat fish I better take the responsibility to kill it as quick and painless as possible. If that even exists.

But I don’t think it is sustainable to eat fish or any other animal every day. The planet can not cope with that.

I only fish with 2 hooks on my line twice a week, only catching what I eat, kill it swiftly and thank the fish for feeding me.

Eating the makerel after it is cooked in alu foil on the fire.

Eating the makerel after it is cooked in alu foil on the fire.

Charlotte Gannet