A month or so ago, the kids went to visit their cousins, aunt and uncle in New York, and Nicolas and I had a week to ourselves. Since we home school, this week was the only time we have to ourselves all year. I envisioned date nights! And very little laundry. And being able to buy an organic steak to share!
Instead, I did many loads of laundry – everything that may have been near one of our dogs. I spent much of the week with a bandana around my face, spreading diatamaceous earth on every rug and floor and into every tiny crack and crevice (our home is over a hundred years old, we have a lot of those). Diatomaceous Earth comes from hard shelled algae. It has the consistency of powder and when you place it on the floor it floats up and searches for your nose and mouth in order to suffocate you. Not really, but it sure felt like that every day. The reason I was covering my house in this white suffocating powder was fleas. Our dogs were starting to be covered with ticks and fleas and we are organic farmers and love our dogs and didn’t believe in giving them chemical flea prevention. So, the alternative was combing them twice a day, covering them in essential-oil filled ointments and sprays that the fleas wouldn’t like, covering everything with this diatamaceous earth (it suffocates the fleas; they aren’t wearing bandanas) and vacuuming a lot – of course being sure to keep the vacuum bag in the freezer so that no fleas could escape back into our home.
After spending a few hours on this every day for two weeks, most of the fleas seemed to be gone from our dogs. But. Not. All. Of. Them. My mood was determined by whether or not I had discovered a flea in the comb or the trap that day. There was only one date night and it was down the street because we were both too tired to go all the way to Atlanta.
So, you may have noticed that I wrote “didn’t” believe in giving our dogs chemicals. That belief has been put to rest, for one month anyway. We sold out. We bought the chemicals. There are absolutely no fleas, for now.
As a result of this, I have even more respect for my organic farmer husband and what he goes through everyday. Because his customers’ health, his family’s health (not to mention the health of the planet) are at stake, he would never even consider the use of chemicals in his war against the many weeds and bugs. And yes, sometimes it is quite a war. I’ve seen him spend hours immersed in books about weeds and bugs and how they operate in order to come up with new ways to keep help his vegetables survive a new squash bug or crab grass problem. Beneficial insects that are drawn to our chemical-free land help, as does the production of compost tea that he sprays over his vegetables to keep them strong. But it all takes lots of time and digging deep for extra energy on those unrelenting hot days. And I thank him, for looking out for us more industriously than I was able to look out for my dogs. sigh.
It’s almost time to give them the next dose of Advantage. I think I’ll take out the Diatomaceous Earth instead. Maybe they’ve finally ingested enough garlic and brewer’s yeast and good food to keep them at bay on their own. It is so not easy doing the right thing but of course, in the pig-picture-long-view, it is worth it.