Saturday, May 5, 2007

No More Ms. Nice Guy and I've Been Shingled!!

I'll begin with the reason I've not been blogging the past, nearly, two weeks. The Friday before last I started to feel an odd tingling on the back on my left leg. The next day the tingling spread and was kind of painful. Since I was having a small family party on Sunday, I was running around the house cleaning and preparing for the celebration all of that Saturday. I attributed the pain and tingling to the past work week. Sunday my family and I went on a hike on a wilderness trail and returned for the party. By that time my leg hurt in other places and spread upwards. To make a long story short, I find after looking in my Merck Manual of Medical Information that I've got shingles. Ugh! By now I've got red patches of skin with blisters that itch and burn up the back of my left leg. It feels as if I've constantly got a bad sunburn. I've been really tired, worn out, chilled, etc. since this began and had no interest in anything except sleeping and dragging myself into work. I've got a doctor's appointment Monday, but there isn't a whole lot that can be done - just let it run it's course.

And now to the first part of my title. Below, sticking out of that hole in the rail road tie in my Main Garden, is a beautiful tulip in full flower - dragged there by a vole! That was the final straw for me and those voles. I have used 5 different repellents that are meant to drive them away, but do no harm to them and given them every chance to get out of Dodge! But, they ignored me and have kept eating tulip bulbs and rubbed my face in it with this last bit of nastiness!! I checked the internet for trapping voles and came up with a tried and true method - the good ole mouse trap - baited with apple. The three traps are covered with pots and an old colander so nothing "friendly" is caught. So far we've gotten two large voles but I'm not about to feel victorious. On the vole trapping site it said that voles have 17 litters (!) a year, 11 to a litter and the little ones leave the nest after 14 days. Just do the math - that's 187 babies a year. The possibilities are endless . . .

I finally took a walk around the gardens and snapped some pretty pictures.
These variegated iris and grape hyacinth set each other off very nicely.

A whiskey barrel of mixed lettuces and peas with flower and tomato seedlings in the dining table.
My metal chicken statues in the Main Garden.

Virginia bluebells and trillium in the back gardens.

Little species tulips around the pond after the mini daffs and scilla have bloomed.

Here's an unhappy Garm looking at Mom walking in the gardens without him. Kind of a sad sack.
I'm hoping to feel better as time goes by (it takes about 6 weeks for shingles to do their dirty work) and get some real gardening done. The vegetable garden needs digging, weeds are starting to get a foot hold in the Back Garden, there are things to yank out that fared poorly this winter and much more.
What is a weed? A plant whose virtues have not been discovered.
Ralph Waldo Emerson
Bye for now,
P.S. A new elephant has arrived at the Sanctuary. Her name is Dulary , she is 43, and from the Philadelphia Zoo. She came by special trailer on May 3rd and is adjusting splendidly with the members of her new herd. This is the first time in her life she is able to do as she pleases. Visit the web site to read the wonderful and heart-warming story.


Carol said...

Get well soon! I feel bad for you because this is the worst time for a gardener to get sick.

I had some voles once. You can't be too nice in getting rid of them. You just can't! They got into my garage... drastic measures had to be taken... that's all I'm going to say.

Mary said...


Oh, My. I'm so sorry you have shingles. I've heard it's painful.

The voles are evil little devils and it sounds like there's little hope. But good luck trying!

My favorite flower today: your Virginia Blue Bells

My favorite photo today: That poor puggy face making you feel guilty.

Lizzie A said...

Thanks for your kind words! About what you said about when you had to put your little dog down, you said that your husband cried every time he mentioned your dog's name. I was wondering, is it bad if I am the one who cried the least when my family and I went through this? I could understand it if I wasn't as close to him as the other members of my family, but that's not how it was. He was my dog, and I was the one who fed him, and walked hime, and talked to him when I was sad, and held him when he was cold, and all that jazz. Why didn't I cry? I want to say it was because I wanted to be strong, but that wasn't it! I want to say that it is because the tears will come later, but that's not it either. I just don't know! I did cry when we watched him get put to sleep, but is was minimal. My parents could hardly stop crying, and my brother cried, but he just tried to not let us see (which can't be done, I see almost everything!)
Well, thank you for your insights! And, of course I an ok with an older person commenting on my blog! I have always felt like I don't excatly fit in with all the people of my generation (age wise). I have always been better and more open to talking to teachers and adults rather than my peers. You are one of the adults who is actually happy to respond to my inquiries and become as much a friend as we have become(you do consider us friends, right?)
I have to go, my family is sitting down to eat dinner!
P.S. I am sorry that my comment is so long!

DWPittelli said...

Here's an idea that works for chipmunks. Take a 5-gallon plastic pail. Fill it half-way with water. Sprinkle a layer of sunflower seeds on top; they float. Put some firewood or a ramp up the outside. The rodents walk up, peer in, say, "look, a bucket full of sunflowers, let's jump in," and then they drown. You put on a rubber glove and fish out the corpses every day or two.

Not that I would ever do this. Really!

I would imagine this would have to work with voles, perhaps more effectively with a 1- or 2-gallon bucket, and perhaps some other favorite floating seed.

Lizzie A said...

I was wondering, how does one get shingles? What is it? What are voles? What do they look like?
I am sorry if I seem kind of naive and silly for asking all these questions, but I just don't know.
Also, how do voles get to the mice traps under pots if other "good" vermin cannot?
Those are all my questions for now. Hope you feel better soon!!

Lizzie A said...

Thank you for answering all my questions that I asked in my last comment. I am glad that you are feeling better!

Kate said...

Hi Alyssa,

Shingles are nasty to have. Worse still is that there is nothing to do for them. My heart goes out to you. I am sending many healing thoughts your way.

Your pugs are adorable ... and I am glad to hear about the elephants.

As always, your garden is inspiring. I love your metal chickens!!! I hope the voles are getting under control. Those critters are something else!!