In March of 1979, we moved from the beautiful hills of Susquehanna
County, Pennsylvania to South Carolina. It was going to be a radical change,
but just HOW radical we never realized at the time!! We moved to York,
South Carolina, and my husband worked in Charlotte, North Carolina. I'll
be showing pictures of the area, writing about our experiences, our garden...and
the many new animals we acquired!! We lived there until 1990!! When we
moved South, we thought we'd be there for a year at most!!!
The move was a sad one as we had to leave behind our Pennsylvania
farm of 114 acres...and move to a 12 acre piece of property. Now...that
may seem like a lot to some of you, but it was very difficult for us!!
We were used to seclusion....and having acres of woods and fields all to
ourselves. During the first few months there....we thought we'd never get
over the loss of our land......but gradually we had some very unique and
new experiences in this region of the country.
A VERY SPECIAL EASTER CACTUS!
I wanted to show you a beautiful Easter cactus that FINALLY bloomed
for the FIRST time in a South Carolina enclosed porch!! I received one
small cutting from a friend in Pennsylvania in 1970. Her plant had never
bloomed, but she was curious if mine would do so. In 1980, one year after
moving to South Carolina, it finally burst into bloom!! It seemd to take
a WEST facing window plus about one month of cold (35 to 40 degree weather)
and then warm...70 to 80 degree weather to make it bloom. After checking
out many houseplant books, we never discovered the name for this particular
species!! The man who owned and operated a huge greenhouse just outside
of York, South Carolina wasn't able to identify it, either. We gave EVERYONE
in the area cuttings.....hoping it continues!! I now have five plants just
like it...and am starting new ones this year. It's really easy!! Just take
cuttings from healthy ends in the Spring, put them in fresh water until
they have good, strong roots...and then plant them in any good potting
soil. BE SURE TO PUT THEM IN A WEST WINDOW!! It's been my experience and
that of my friends that they only bloom well when facing west!!
The first year in South Carolina was spent redoing a house in rather
poor condition...and just "acclimating" ourselves to the region!! Our WORST
PROBLEM??? Well...it was March when we moved there. About May, we noticed
these weird "black spots" on our dogs, Shannon and Snowball!! Thinking
they were some type of burr, we tried to pull them off!! And then...we
realized.....they had...........YUK!!.....legs...bodies...and were attached!!
We started finding them in our own hair!! Of course, we took the dogs straight
to the vet and ourselves straight to the doctor!! Now...you who live in
the South may laugh, but we had never...EVER seen a TICK in New York or
Pennsylvania. And that's what they were......TICKS!!! Every week, we had
to bathe the dogs with special shampoo....or "dip" them to keep them free
of these dreadful things!! I couldn't even walk in the yard without getting
three or four embedded in me!! (Yes...we tried "OFF" and every other spray
on the market, but found we were allergic to ALL of them!) Then...one night.....we
both awoke with dreadful ITCHING!!! We never experienced anything like
it in our entire lives!! In the morning, the area around our ankles, shoulders,
beltline..and um..other places had huge welts well over the size of a silver
dollar!! After seeing two or three physicians, we found we were violently
allergic to chiggers!!
PHOTO OF A CHIGGER....taken from Encarta Encyclopedia.....
The above photo was greatly magnified. The actual chigger cannot
be seen with the naked eye as they are as small as a pinhead!!
Chigger, common name for the six-legged larva of any of several
mites (see Mite), particularly one that clings to the skin of humans
and other animals and sucks blood. Chiggers, also called red bugs, jiggers,
harvest mites, harvest lice, and harvest bugs, are common in the southern
United States. They cling to grass stems and foliage and attach themselves
to any animal that brushes against them. Their feeding causes intense itching
and irritation but is usually not dangerous. The term chigger is also applied
to the chigoe of the flea family.
Scientific classification: Chiggers belong to the family Trombiculidae.
The chigger that clings to skin and sucks blood is classified as Trombicula
I wanted to be sure and give out a little information in addition
to the above!! Chiggers DO NOT burrow under the skin!! They feed on your
blood...causing no pain whatsoever!! After they feed, they drop off. Please
don't listen to the words of a few "well-meaning" people who may tell you
to coat the itchy area with nail polish to "smother" the chigger!! There
is nothing there to smother!!! The itching is caused by an allergic reaction
to a component in the chigger's saliva.
In the Carolinas, I became introduced to ferrets!! I met my very
first "fur person" in a veterinarian's office!! It was love at first sight!!
(Notice...I said..."sight"...not "bite"!!!) A friend of mine gave me my
first ferret whom we christened "Maxwell". One thing just seemd to lead
to another...and before long we decided to buy a "Maxine"!! From that start,
I began raising ferrets to sell as pets, and at one time had over 150-200
"fur persons"!! We still have a couple of "fur friends" left, but I no
longer raise them to sell because of the lack of a market here in Kentucky.
I would like you to meet:
Ivan often goes with my husband and I on trips to town...when he
travels in his "knapsack". At other times, he DOES have a cage, but is
also allowed freedom in the large family room, workshop, and train room
We also have (or rather they have us!), Arthur, Maxwell the Second,
and Vincent (an albino ferret). I've decided to feature their pictures
under ANIMAL FRIENDS at a later date. I'll also
be featuring my entire booklet on ferret care. I typed out a booklet when
I sold ferrets as I realized many people did not really understand them,
nor did they know how to properly care for "fur persons"!!
This is just the beginning of SOUTH CAROLINA LIFE. I'll be relating
stories of the South, MANY stories of the pet snakes, lizards, and caymans
I acquired while living there and pictures of the region both there and
in North Carolina.
Please let the cat know
what else you'd like to hear about South Carolina life!!
Hey....let's see the trains, toys, and dollhouses!!!