Stories from the Homestead: That Moment of…EW!

I have this weird paranoia of anything germy, parasitic, or fungal that can affect me or my family. My first year of teaching I got ringworm from one of my students. I about died. 

Unfortunately, that would not be the only time that would happen to me that year. I soon discovered the amazing power of full concentrate bleach applied directly to the skin. That and washing everything a million times a day was how I treated it. 

Cooking is always an interesting feat as well, all I see when handling raw meat is salmonella, salmonella, salmonella. It stresses my husband out when he is making dinner or about to smoke some meat and I am around; I have certain procedures as to how raw meat is to be handled in my kitchen.

It is also possible that I may stress him out when we go stay at a hotel. I don’t really like to bring anything into the room and will not unpack one item until I have checked the bed(s) and other furniture for bedbugs. I just can’t deal with that.

My poor hair. During my time as a classroom teacher, I wore more hair product than you would believe (partly out of necessity because of the unruliness of my annoying tresses) and always colored it. It was my prevention strategy for lice. 

Y’all, this kind of stuff brings me anxiety.

You know, I had this grand plan to milk my goats so we can have fresh goat milk to drink instead of buying milk. Well, I started reading up on stuff and have just about scared myself away from that idea. I read this article on the cdc website – “Raw milk can cause serious infections. Raw milk and raw milk products (such as cheeses and yogurts made with raw milk) can be contaminated with bacteria that can cause serious illness, hospitalization, or death. These harmful bacteria include BrucellaCampylobacterListeriaMycobacterium bovisSalmonella, Shiga toxin-producing E. coliShigella,Streptococcus pyogenes, and Yersinia enterocolitica.”  I don’t even know what most of those things are…but it freaks me out to think about contracting any of them. 

Now, let me say. I grew up drinking a lot of raw milk. I don’t have a problem with drinking it. I know it can be safe, if handled properly. I just don’t think I trust myself to do it. I am sure I would mess it up somehow.

So, now, I am looking into buying a pasteurizer. (My husband is so patient)

So knowing all this about me, I would like you to picture with me…if you will…as I am tending to my lovely flock of chickens and my two goats one day, I made a discovery. Sweet (kind of a brat) Josie was acting like something was bothering her. So, I went to check her out.

What I am about to say next is not for the weak. 

I inspected her hooves, her ears, her legs, her head and started to make my way down to the top of her neck. That is when I saw it. (If someone could have been there with a camera recording and caught my reaction…it would have totally gone viral.) 

Lice, my friends. Lice. 

My heart pounded. My brain was producing all kinds of horrendous thoughts. After my panic/anxiety attack, I went into a brief moment of denial…followed by a moment of humiliation (how did this happen??? Am I a dirty person??? Am I a terrible caretaker of my animals???). 

Finally, after a moment to process. I took to the internet and searched the first most important thing concerning this situation – “Can goat lice spread to humans?”. My heart began to calm after finding out that lice is specie specific. My chickens and I were going to be okay. 

I went out to my feed shed where I always keep a big container of Diatomaceous Earth (DE) and rubbed her coat down with it really well. So, that, along with cleaning out all the goat bedding, sprinkling DE all over the area, applying some new bedding (with more DE on sprinkled on top) and spraying her down with an essential oil concoction is how I am dealing with it for now. 

It is starting to warm up…I’ll soon be starting my warm weather preparations with all the animals and I’ll be shearing the goats to help bring in a new shiny coat for spring and summer. Doing that and keeping up a good routine with my DE and EO’s, makes me feel much better about the situation. 

**As a disclaimer (for my own sense of pride)…When I sent a text to the lady I bought my goats from (to ask for some advice), she apologized saying that she is pretty sure that they got the lice from her herd.**

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