Thursday, September 25, 2008
Chiggers and geraniums
At first Tuesday when my ankles started to itch and small welts arose there and elsewhere I decided the office carpet had fleas --- then chigger attack occurred to me, bites of which start to itch up to 24 hours after the little critters have had lunch.
It's the worst and most widespread chigger assault I've experienced since I was a kid and that's odd since (a) I spend quite a bit of time tromping around outdoors and (b) this is not the time of year, supposedly, when chiggers are most active. I suppose the fact it's been a cool and wet late summer/fall has something to do with it.
I could have become a chigger cafe down around Lake Rathbun Monday afternoon, since I was in and out of tall grass with the wrong kind of shoes; but most likely invited them aboard that morning while crawling around on hands and knees and sitting cross-legged on the ground out at the cemetery clipping around tombstones and getting rid of faded summer floral tributes.
The itching's about gone now, but the geraniums are still blooming --- and that's the positive thing to report. It's nice that they're still so enthusiastic as frost nears, adding color around the house as everything else (other than chrysanthemums, asters and marigolds) fade. I miss the chrysanthemums killed off during the great spring freeze a year ago last Easter and need to remember to plant more.
One thing that's been clear this year is that the coneflowers have gone out of control and will take over everything unless I do some serious surgery in the flower beds next spring. I've also run out of anywhere to plant more fall bulbs, so it's time.
The thing I've been admiring most this fall is the modest clump of Indian grass I planted out in the back forty last year. It obviously recognized a friendly environment when it met one and now is tall, gone to seed and waving in the breeze. I wonder what the neighbors would say if I decided to return that big patch of grass back there to its former prairie state. Maybe I'll move some of the coneflowers out there.
Since I failed to photograph the Indian grass, here are two views of the geraniums. They're living on borrowed time since first frost can't be that far away now.