Thursday, October 24, 2013

ticking me off

Well, it was either that or "tick talk."  And that seemed a bit too precious.

I had talked my friends Lou and Wynn into joining me on a trip to
Villa Purificación in the hills above our little fishing village.  My first visit was last March when my mother and brother were visiting.  (purity of sacrifice

Because that visit was so brief, I wanted to spend a little more time there.  But that was not to be.

One of the reasons I like traveling with Lou and Wynn is that both of them love traveling down roads with unknown destinations.

We did not exactly do that.  But we came close.

I had mentioned to them, that in the five years I have lived in Melaque, I have never visited the coffee plantation at Cuzalapa -- just an hour or so away by car. 

People who drink coffee have told me that the brew is delicious.  But I was far more interested in seeing how coffee grows locally.

So, off we headed in the opposite direction from
Villa Purificación.  Stopping along the way for a quick visit to the church in Cuautitlán de García Barragán.

The church is nothing special, but the area is one of the most pleasant I have visited in Mexico.  With ts high-ridged mountains and billiard-table-smooth fields, the area could convince urbanites to join a Rousseauean simplicity clan. 

The coffee plantation is not really a plantation at all.  It is actually a co-op that roasts and markets the locally-grown coffee.  On Wednesday,they were not yet ready for northern visitors.  (Even though there were parking signs in English -- giving away the little secret of who stops by these hills.)

I am not certain what I expected from the grow operation.  I knew coffee trees are rather small and need to grow in the shade of other trees.

But I was not expecting how spread out the trees are.  After all, this is a co-op where coffee trees are planted where the various owners can harvest the berries.

Right now, the flowers have faded,and the berries have started forming.  But they are a green as limes. When they turn red, they will be ready to harvest.

The three of us took a short hike amongst the trees nearest to the village.  But most of the trees (and wildlife) are on the other side of a stream that was too swollen to cross on this trip.

That means a return trip will be in order -- maybe next year -- when the berries are ready to harvest.  Or I may end up telling the coffee story during our trip through Central America.

I did have one uninvited guest on this visit.  In order to get close-up shots, I walked through some high grass.

About a week ago, I told someone I was amazed that I had not been bitten by ticks while living down here.  That changed yesterday. 

I felt a sharp sting on the front of my right shin.  It looked as if I had picked up a spider.  But when  tried to brush it off, it stayed in place.

Now, I am no stranger to ticks.  We would often bring them home after playing in the woods around Powers.  And Mom did her maternal duties by picking the ticks off of us.  The same companions often joined us on Boy Scout camping trips.

This was a big guy.  But he had obviously not been on my leg long.

Out of curiosity, I performed a due diligence on the internet.  You would think the same hysterics that write for the State Department write these tick articles.

From Wikipedia:  "
Major tick-borne diseases include Lyme Disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever, relapsing fever, tularemia, tick-borne meningoencephalitis, Colorado tick fever, Crimean-Congo hemorrhagic fever, babesiosis, and cytauxzoonosis."

And if you are curious about the symptoms of Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever,for instance:  "
Initial signs and symptoms of the disease include sudden onset of fever, headache,and muscle pain, followed by development of rash. The disease can be difficult to diagnose in the early stages, and without prompt and appropriate treatment it can be fatal."

Of course, that is about the same as describing cars as devices to transport humans -- often resulting in accidents that can include serious injuries that can be fatal."

So, I will do the smart thing and watch for fever, headache, and muscle pain.

But, I suspect I will be fine -- just like the thousands of people bitten every day by ticks.

I seem to be on a trend here.  De-worming earlier in the week.  And de-ticking yesterday.  At this rate,I will soon be eating my supper out of a dish marked "Fido."  And hearing whispered threats of neutering.


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