The Tick Graveyard

My girlfriend and I took our two dogs and my two girls for a walk in
the woods. It was a gloriously warm, but crisp Fall day. When we
returned home we all felt a little itchy… We quickly found a tick on my
youngest daughter. (In fact, I feel itchy just thinking about it). Next
thing I knew we were all taking off our pants in the driveway because
each had about a half-dozen ticks, and many more on each of the two
dogs! We decided not to pick the ticks off and just drop them onto the
driveway because they would jump right back on us.

We had so many ticks that more drastic measures were called for. And
so, my friend created the Tick Graveyard with an empty jar filled with
some rubbing alcohol. For the next 90 minutes, twice as long as our
actual walk in the woods, we proceeded to pick all of the ticks off of
the four of us, and then our two dogs. Our Tick Graveyard was turning
into a mass gravesite! The pleasures of living in a slightly more rural
area outside of Boston were beginning to diminish rapidly.

When we moved one town further outside of Boston last spring we had
no idea that we would be moving into the land of the Tick. In six years
I had found one tick on me. In one walk, six! If the ticks would stay
in the woods, it would be easier to manage. However, when we play
T-Ball in the yard with the kids; we need to check for ticks. In case
you were wondering, we are not diving into the grass and rolling to
catch the ball, my girls are only 5 and 6! These suburban Boston ticks
are just really good jumpers. Our dog goes out to do his business and
we give him a hug hours later; we need to check for ticks (our dog gets
an anti-tick killing medicine monthly – hmmm… do they make one for

We hit a new level of gross with the ticks when they started to
appear in my husband’s boxers and my bra. YUCK! What to do? Helemeted
guinea fowl to the rescue! A neighboring friend discovered that this
type of bird that has the body about the size of a football, a long
neck and short legs, and just happens to be the natural predator of the
tick! Woohoo. No pesticides, no spraying, just a bunch of birds to eat
the ticks. So we decided to get some guinea fowl as yard pets to eat
the ticks.

All we had to do was to learn how to take care of them, build a
chicken coop for their home, and order some over the internet because
there are no breeders in Massachusetts. Stay tuned…


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