These guys will be happily strutting around in my pasture today. I don’t think they realize just how lucky they are. Wishing everyone a very Happy Thanksgiving!
Most spider bites are harmless and require little or no treatment, except perhaps an antiseptic swab or anti-itch cream. However, there are four types of spiders commonly found in much of the United States whose bites can have more drastic effects and infections. The four spider bites most individuals need to be especially wary of are those of the black widow, the brown recluse, the hobo spider, and the yellow sac spider.
The brown recluse spider is native to the United States and found mainly in the central Midwestern states southward to the Gulf of Mexico (see map). It is also called the fiddleback spider due to the dark violin shaped marking appearing on the spider’s back.
At our country home, we’ve had our share of insect bites and I’ve been bitten by a brown recluse spider twice before. Both times the bite grew to golf ball size, became infected and required a trip to my Dr. for wound debridement and a round of antibiotics. In both instances, I was left with an ugly dark-colored scar.
About a week ago, my 21-year-old daughter Caitlin showed signs of being bitten by a brown recluse spider. The spider is not aggressive and will only bite if it feels threatened. They like to hide in dark snug places and will crawl into clothing left on the floor, and occasionally will get into your bedding.
Brown Recluse Bite Symptoms
Brown recluse spider bites often go unnoticed initially because they are typically painless bites. Symptoms usually develop two to eight hours after a bite.
Victims may experience these symptoms:
- severe pain at bite site after about four hours,
- severe itching
- muscle pain
Initially the bite site is mildly red and upon close inspection may reveal fang marks. Most commonly, the bite site will become firm and heal with little scaring over the next few days or weeks. Occasionally, the local reaction will be more severe with reddening and blistering, sometimes leading to a blue discoloration, and ultimately leading to a necrotic lesion and scarring. Signs that may be present include:
- blistering (common),
- necrosis (death) of skin and subcutaneous fat (less common)
- severe destructive necrotic lesions with deep wide borders (rare)
Caitlin initially presented with reddening of the skin, severe pain at bite sight, severe itching and mild blistering. After doing some research, I decided to create the following home remedy:
First Aid Tape (for sensitive skin use the paper type)
I melted 1 aspirin in 1 teaspoon vodka. Then added enough baking soda to make a thick (toothpaste consistency) paste. If the paste is too thick, add more vodka. Gently apply a thick coating of the paste on and around the spider bite. Cover the area with a gauze pad and tape in place with first aid tape. I repeated this treatment morning and night for about three days. Within the first 8 hours the pain and itch had greatly subsided. By the third day, the bite had opened and the venom began to ooze out in a clear/bloody discharge. (If at anytime the bite showed signs of infection, I would have promptly taken Caitlin to our Dr. for treatment.) The bite was still somewhat red and you could feel a lump under the skin about the size of a large marble, but there was little to no pain. Once the bite opened and drained, I stopped using the paste and started using triple antibiotic ointment.
Now, a little over a week later, the wound is completely healed and doesn’t show any signs of scarring. I’m sure this remedy would work on most painful insect bites.
Disclaimer: You can use home remedies to treat spider bites, but if bitten by a poisonous spider, it is highly recommended that you also seek medical attention to treat the spider bite before your symptoms get worse.
Sunfire sparkling on the Pedernales River
Soaring a red-tailed hawk on the wing
Cedar and Cypress perfume dance on the water
Bull frog on the bank calling out to his love
Fireflies flicker in the wildflower valley
Cicada chorus singing their lullaby song
Whippoorwill lamenting a nightbird’s serenade
Hill Country Sonata playing my memory’s tune
Bending my heartstrings like a sweet lover’s touch
And calling me back to those hills that I love
My husband captured these shots this week. The group of vultures were roosting on one of our old trees that fell victim to the recent years of drought here in Texas. The male painted bunting stopped by our koi pond for a quick bath. I wish the bunting photos were a little better, but we had to take them through the glass of our back window.
For the last week my darling daughter Rachel has asked me to make her some “Smack Mackem” which is her silly term for Salmon Croquettes. I’m not sure if this is a Southern dish or if people everywhere eat Salmon Croquettes, but I’ve eaten them my whole life. When I was a kid we dipped them in ketchup, but now I like mine with a little Dill Remoulade. Since mayonnaise is forbidden in my household, (Rachel hates it) I always substitute it with sour cream or greek yogurt. Have you ever eaten Salmon Croquettes? If not, here’s my version. I hope you’ll try it sometime and let me know what you think.
1 egg beaten
14.75 oz can Wild Alaska Pink Salmon crumbled and bones removed
1/3 cup chopped onion
2 TBS Sour Cream
1 TBS Melted Butter
1/2 cup Flour
1/2 cup Yellow Corn Meal
1/2 tsp Slap Ya Mama Cajun Seasoning or use Salt, Pepper and dash of Garlic Powder
Oil for Frying
Mix all ingredients and form into 4 equal sized patties. Meanwhile in cast iron or heavy skillet add 1 inch of oil and heat on Medium setting. Place patties into hot oil and cook about 4 minutes per side or until browned. Place on parchment paper to drain.
Sour Cream Dill Remoulade:
1 Cup Sour Cream
1 1/2 tsp Dill Weed
Mix together and serve with Salmon Croquettes.
When my family moved to our country home in 1995, we were eager to embrace all the wonderful opportunities that country living had to offer. We mended the old fence and barn and soon added our share of farm animals to complete our little country haven. Our animal menagerie included a flock of laying hens and a rooster to give us fresh eggs, but over the years our flock decreased and eventually our fresh egg production came to an end.
Recently, after purchasing a $4.00 carton of organic cage free eggs, I discovered all the eggs were disgustingly runny and obviously inedible. Having this less than satisfactory experience with store-bought eggs, and being aware of the absolute horrors chickens have to endure in the commercial egg production industry, we decided to rebuild our chicken coop and start enjoying our own farm fresh eggs again.
My husband spent all weekend building the new coop and we went to our local feed supplier and bought 4 baby turkeys, 10 chicks and 1 rooster Like our Rat Terrier, I too find watching the baby chicks completely spellbinding and I have begun to named them based on their personalities.
My favorite is the largest Black Spanish turkey that I have named Hey Zeus. He is just a baby, but he’s already trying to strut his stuff. I don’t think the girls are impressed, judging by the expressions on their faces.
Now for my contribution to the new chicken coop; the decor. My husband is quite the handy man and we always have wood scraps leftover from past DIY projects. I found these weathered wood scraps and thought they would work out great for making some homemade signs.
Next I gathered up my acrylic paint, paint brushes and paint sponges. Then I painted the wood a solid color and outlined the edge with a contrasting color, creating a framed effect.
Then I purchased two different stencils. One was a cursive type and one was block type letters
Using a sharp pencil, I traced out the word Farm Fresh on the wood using the cursive letters and the word EGGS using the block letters.
Then I highlighted the word Farm Fresh in a bright yellow and painted white eggs around the word EGGS.
Next I carefully painted in the words. You will need a steady hand and a very small detail paint brush.
And here’s the finished product. Add some eye hooks and a chain to hang it and throw on a couple of coats of clear polyurethane to weatherproof and it’s ready for the coop. Now to decide what to put on the other two signs.
The coop will only be used to protect the babies while they are growing. As soon as they are big enough, the door to the coop will be left open and they will have free access to the yard and pasture, as nature intended. If you would like to help support current legislative efforts in banning the barbaric and cruel practice of battery caged chickens in the US egg industry; please visit the Humane Society of the United States website by clicking on this link: Help Improve the Lives of Laying Hens
The following information was taken from the Penn State Live website. You can click on the heading below to see the full article.
“Compared to eggs of the commercial hens, eggs from pastured hens eggs had twice as much vitamin E and long-chain omega-3 fats, more than double the total omega-3 fatty acids, and less than half the ratio of omega-6 to omega-3 fatty acids,” she said. “Vitamin A concentration was 38 percent higher in the pastured hens’ eggs than in the commercial hens’ eggs, but total vitamin A per egg did not differ.”
“Eggs of the hens that foraged grasses had 23 percent more vitamin E than eggs of hens that foraged clover. “Results suggest that grass pastures may enhance vitamin E in eggs of pastured hens more than clover,” she said.”