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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.

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??? 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!! 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!) 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 irritans.

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:
IVANHOE......IVAN....for short!!!!!!
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 combination!

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!!!