Outing Observations

Today I chose to go out. To break lockdown. Why? To mail in my tax stuff (the refund will be nice), and to get a yard spray. About every 3rd year, I get noseeums in my yard. How do I know? Time in the yard has them deliver little red welts that burn, itch, and hurt about 2 to 4 hours after the yard time. Starting at the ankles and working their way up the pantlegs. Washing with rubbing alcohol stops the progression, but it takes days for them to resolve.

When the yard is your only escape from the house for a few months, reclaiming it matters.

Then, since I was venturing out, topping up the salad, meat, and tonic water maximized the return on risk.

I used a surgical mask (turns out we had a box of these for dog grooming day) saving my few N95 masks for when things get really bad. Shop glasses & latex gloves completed the set. After getting home, I realized that with a week or two between outings, and multiple cars, each car can be parked long enough to neutralize any virus. So the mask was left on the dash where sun can bake it. Glasses, keys, credit card all alcohol wiped. Gloves inverted and disposed, then hands scrubbed.

At Smart & Final, they were mostly fully restocked, but a lot more #10 (big restaurant size) cans. A few too many people, but some social distancing. About 10% to 20% with some kind of mask. Maybe 5% to 10% with gloves. I was the only one with it all. At first a bit self conscious, but gradually felt really comfortable.

At Home Depot, almost nobody in gear. Maybe one in 20. Clearly the folks doing yard, garden, and home projects less concerned… IMHO, way too many people out who were not doing emergency things. But whatever.

A clear divide between “I must get supplies” but don’t want the exposure, and the folks doing “screw it, lets do some shopping and projects”.

Once home, plastic salad bags wiped with alcohol. Salami paper removed and repackaged. Chicken parts repackaged (and some for dinner :-) then hands and all washed again.

I did forget to do the “strip & wash” of clothes. OTOH, nobody was coughing, I didn’t lean on anything and moved fast, so likely OK. Frankly, were it not for the bug bites, I’d have likely not gone out. But pain has direction…

Overall, not too bad. I’d not want to risk it more than every other week, or month, though.

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About E.M.Smith

A technical managerial sort interested in things from Stonehenge to computer science. My present "hot buttons' are the mythology of Climate Change and ancient metrology; but things change...
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18 Responses to Outing Observations

  1. p.g.sharrow says:

    your bug bites sound like fleas, warm damp really hatches them out. Set out a dish/saucer of water with a bit of oil on it. a lamp near over it will really draw them buggers to jump into it and you can see them. No-see-um’s fly and generally hit arms and neck, fleas jump and really hit the feet and legs.. Flea bites are raise welts about pinhead size and you immediately feel them. No-see-um bites take a bit of time to flare up to pea size and you really feeling them. Not sure how to trap them. Ether are a real downer if you have to work with them around…pg

  2. David A says:

    I am surprised at how many are out driving. ( North County San Diego)
    Yet many people go stir crazy, especially if told to stay put.

    Nice sunny day, so it felt good to tend the yard and work some.
    (I Completely forgot about the world for a bit)

  3. Rev Logos says:

    I’ve been watching a few post-apocalyptic disease movies over the last week, such as The Omega Man, Train to Busan, and 28 Days Later. And a favorite from my youth, “The Andromeda Strain”. In the making-of supplement Michael Crichton says something the effect of “How can you control a people if they are not sick and afraid?”

  4. E.M.Smith says:

    @David A:

    While officially on the no-no list, just driving around the block is not exposing anyone. The Spouse wanted to “get out” so we did just that 2 days ago. About 6 blocks in a rectangle. One wide, 2 long.


    I can usually see fleas. Also, the dogs are flea magnets and have the absorbed flea treatment in them, so any flea bites them, dies. In this way the eliminate any fleas ;-)

    I’m not sure noseeum is the right name for these. They do raise quite a welt on me. About pea sized in a quarter sized splotch of reddish pink. Usually showing up about 1/2 hour after yard time, but sometimes longer (as someone takes their time picking their dining spot.?.) They are not the flying noseeums (that I’ve run into camping in the mountains) but some kind of “living in the grass” thing you also can’t see. They are definitely climbing / crawling, as “how high up” varies directly with how fast I hit the legs with the alcohol. (First time of the season I’ll occasionally get one on the “boys”… after that MUCH more decontamination after a moment in the yard). If I get alcohol on quickly enough, whatever was there dies prior to biting.

    Whatever they are, I like them dead… So guess what I’m doing next dry day…

  5. Laurence Eades says:

    Down here in the south we call these things chiggers or redbugs. I think the technical name is “trombiculid mites.” You need a magnifying glass to see them but you can definitely feel them.

  6. Greg says:

    If you want to clear your yard of all the biters, get a bottle of Cutter Backyard Bug Control, Spray Concentrate, hook up your hose and spray the grass. It lists most biters on the label. It will last a couple of months. I use them for Punkie’s in the spring. As soon as the heat starts, they die. But until then, without treatment, I experience what you do now.

  7. H.R. says:

    I use Triazicide® lawn insect killer once or twice per year. The Cairn terrier is highly allergic to any insect bites and will scratch herself raw after one flea bite.

    The thing I like about Triazicide® is that after you put it down, the maker says it is immediately pet and child safe after being watered in by either rain or a sprinkler. It’s effective. It’s pretty cheap, too.

    The other thing I do is only fertilize the lawn. I don’t use any weed and feed, which has been associated with cancers in dogs. We lost our favorite Scotty to bladder cancer and the vet tipped us off to a study done at the Indiana University Veterinary School that found a very strong indication of a problem with weed-n-feeds and cancers in dogs. Maybe it’s all that sniffing dogs do and they are inhaling the stuff. I can’t recall. (And what about people!?!)

    So I now put down the fertilizer only, then I get some Weed-B-Gone (doesn’t kill grass) and patrol the yard spraying individual weeds. My yard is one of the poorest looking ones in the neighborhood. I miss spraying the really young weeds that have not poked up through the grass yet, so I have to do weed patrol a couple of times per week until about July, when new weeds stop popping up.

    Most of the neighbors have someone like Chem Lawn or Tru-Green do the 3-4 applications of weed control and fertilization for them. Then those companies stick little warning signs in the yards indicating the lawn was treated and to keep pets and children off the treated lawn! No thanks. I’ll live with a bit scragglier looking lawn and take a pass on the herbicides.

  8. p.g.sharrow says:

    Maybe this is the problem, pictures of chiggers bites, normally on feet and legs;
    your description brought this to mind, I seem to encounter these on occasions when I prune in the vineyard and they get on my arms and neck.

  9. E.M.Smith says:


    I think you’ve got it. Bite looks about right. Seasonality matches. The crawl around befor first bite matches. Chiggers it is then.


    I have Darwin’s Lawn. If it is green and can be mowed, it lives. No nothing added but water, and not a lot of that. Only when chiggers show up is any spray used, then it is a food garden safe one. Sevin I think.

  10. E.M.Smith says:

    @Lawrence Eades:

    DOH! When working st Disneyworld I looked up Redbug Lake / road in Orlando. Guess the recent events had the memory stuck. Thanks for kicking it loose. Somehow I’d not generalized Florida red bugs to chiggers everywhere.


    Next time I’m out in the world I’ll look for it. I’ve generalky liked Cutter’s products.

  11. Ossqss says:

    I have used Fipronil for years. Every 7 years or so, it goes around the perimiter of the house down near the footer through injection or dug trenches in liquid form (think Termidor). I also spread a pelletized version in stripes, not every square foot, across the yard every few years. The pelletized version completely rids my yard of fire ants for a long time. Years in many instances.


  12. Ian W says:

    Looks like there is a chink in the CDC dam preventing the use of hydroxychloroquine. (There are Australian trials already) see this from minute 15 in

    There was a ‘loser think’ approach science and plodding procedure vs the Engineer ‘this works’
    They are also going to test for antibodies that will show that people have had COVID-19 and recovered

    This is excellent news.

  13. philjourdan says:

    I just do not care. I refuse to succumb to the hysteria. I am not hugging people, but I am also not becoming a hermit. Sorry, I am not buying into the hysteria. I am the problem.

  14. H.R. says:

    I’m going fishing whenever the weather is nice. They can arrest me and then… what?

    How do you cuff someone when you can’t get closer than 3 feet? ;o)

  15. ossqss says:

    This way?

  16. ossqss says:

    This was quite an interesting vid from 2017 with some certs. Albeit, I don’t necessarily agree with delivery technique, but it gets the point across.

    I would bet on reanalysis, we will find some very interesting primary transmission vectors.

  17. Steve C says:

    I’m pretty much with philjourdan on this, though I don’t reckon either of us to be the problem. I’m not going to tempt Fate by hanging around in crowds, but I do need several miles’ walk a day to keep the aging body moving, and you can’t do that indoors. I also use the walks to shop “little and often”, and have seen acres of stripped shelves in supermarkets in the wake of the selfish hordes. They are the problem, along with thoughtless idiots like the a-hole on the bus when I went over to Derby a couple of weeks ago. He was so engrosed in what appeared to be an online text conversation with his girlfriend (who was sitting next to him) that he couldn’t spare a hand to cover his mouth as he coughed his goodness all over the rest of us. (Trouble is, this being Britain, nobody said anything.)

    I’m still keeping my vit.C & D levels well up, with pre-panic backups of both. Morning temp consistently 36 point something, the only cough my usual robust smoker’s one. Took my regular prescription down to the Health Centre this morning – just the one receptionist (my GP’s, happily) in there as the other practice in the building had gone home and told their patients to phone in. (I added a note asking her for a course of chloroquine, more in jest than hope – but you never know. ;-)

    I mentioned on another thread that on Friday 13th we had our first 2 cases in the city and 3 in the county. Well, ten days later that’s gone up to 41 and 71 with 5 dead – a disincentive in itself to doing anything stupid when out & about. The worst hit, other than those who died of course, are the poor (literal) beggars who rely on food banks for their survival, since the food banks rely on supplies from the supermarkets that have been stripped. It is quite pleasing that people are rapidly organising appeals for them, support groups for the elderly who are isolating themselves and so on – the milk of human kindness is still there even when the milk for your coffee has been stripped from the shops.

    “Borisconi” isn’t helping, flapping about with his completely disorganised response. It isn’t encouraging that the Gov is taking its advice from the Experts at Imperial College, who are advising that there is no treatment for CV, nor is it good to see people writing that they may achieve infection rates here even higher than Italy’s. It is worrying too to hear that their Coronavirus Bill, to be passed into law by the end of this month, includes details like reducing from two to one the number of doctors needed to “section” an individual under the Mental Health Act so that (s)he can be immediately hospitalised and medicated against his/her will. Hmm. One doctor, employed by the government … what could possibly go wrong?

    Meanwhile, it’s spring, with clusters of cheerful daffs, snowdrops and other spring flowers lifting the spirits as nature rouses itself from the last few months’ rain. There is a pair of magpies nesting in next door’s tree – unfortunately another of his trees is coming into leaf and will soon hide the nest from view, but still I’m getting plenty of black’n’white birdy entertainment. The ducks in the park have suddenly become very friendly too, because most of their feeders (mostly mums and small kids usually, plus a few old twozzers like me) aren’t showing up – oh, well, maybe they’ll remember they’re wildlife!. So okay, there’s some new bad stuff out there, but if we keep a couple of metres apart (very easy at the moment!) and don’t spray one another, there’s no need to panic. Dammit, if it kills me, I’ll die cheerful!

  18. Power Grab says:

    Re chiggers:

    Dad used to take us to the “company picnic” every year. It was held outside in an area that hadn’t necessarily been mowed enough to discourage the insect life. So he always put some sulfur in a little plastic thing with accordian sides and an opening on top with a very small hole. He would puff out the sulfur into our shoes and socks.

    After we returned from the picnic, we had to sit on the edge of the empty bathtub with our feet in it and, with the water running, sprinkle salt on our legs, rub it around, and rinse them off.

    We kids heard that was to prevent chigger bites. I guess it worked, I never knew what a chigger bite looked like!

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