Looking for Answers

Right now I am plagued by mysteries. I have always loved to read detective stories but I’m finding my own puzzles simply frustrating. I am tired of bewilderment and yearn to flip to the back of the book and get the answers.

What is going on with Katika’s udder?

Yesterday her poor udder was even bigger and hotter. She is obviously quite uncomfortable but stands bravely while I struggle to get milk out of the swollen, rock-hard quarters. I’m praying the vet office comes up with a diagnosis today.

What is biting me?

For the past ten days I’ve been bitten by some invisible creature(s). First my belly was polka-dotted with bites. Then the back of my thighs. Then breasts, upper arms, and now my neck. It seems every morning brings a fresh crop of three to six. These bites are fiercely itchy. I have waked up in the night to find myself raking the welts bloody in my sleep. No one else in the family has been bitten. Under my clothes I look as if I have chicken pox.

My friend Joanne, a nurse, has ruled out bedbugs. She thought they might be flea bites. I checked the dogs and cat for flea dirt. I couldn’t find any, but have washed and changed our sheets multiple times just in case. Still I am bitten.

Joanne’s next thought was hay mites. This could be possible. Hay mites, also called straw itch mites, are microscopic, 1/125″.

The mites cannot be seen and the bites are not felt, but leave itchy red marks that can resemble a skin rash. When itch mite populations ‘explode,’ people and other animals may receive numerous bites. Fortunately, the mites cannot live on humans, do not survive indoors, and are not known to transmit disease.

It’s been so unseasonably warm — due to be 77° today — that it will be tough to wear coveralls but I will try it today at chores when I feed hay, and see if it makes any difference.

If not, back to the drawing board. While itching.

Where is Mom’s pendant?

For the past seven years I have worn my mother’s gold monogram pendant on a chain around my neck. Dad gave it to Mom in the 1970s, on the anniversary of their first meeting in the spring of 1946. Since my parents met on a blind date to play bridge, on the opposite side from the monogram Dad had engraved the date, both their initials, and “Bidding two hearts.” (Yes, he was a very dear romantic.) I have worn the pendant in memory of my well-loved, much-missed parents ever since Mom died.

This morning I found the pendant had dropped off the necklace some time this weekend. I am devastated.

I know I was wearing it Friday night when DH and I went out to a school function. But after that, I don’t have a clue. Lucy says encouragingly, “That means it’s somewhere on the farm! That means you’ll probably find it!” I hope so. But I spent a lot of the weekend weedwhacking four-foot-tall raspberries, poplars, and briars — and the chances of finding a small round disk in heavy mulch litter on those rough and rocky acres seem remote.

*   *   *

Sigh. I’m so frustrated by these mysteries. Where are Sherlock Holmes, Hercule Poirot, Miss Marple, Lord Peter Wimsey, Nero Wolfe, or Kinsey Milhone when I need them? At this point I’d settle for Nancy Drew arriving in her blue roadster! Or even the Hardy Boys!


9 Responses to Looking for Answers

  1. June says:

    Don’t give up hope on the pendant. My grandmother lost her original wedding ring in her 40s and was devastated. They replaced it, but she never forgot it. One day while cleaning out the upstairs storage, she found it again and wore it with the other ring until she passed away. Apparently it had slipped off her finger (she had lost some weight at that time). Fingers crossed for you 🙂

  2. Amy says:

    Selden, I can relate to the devastation of losing something precious while working hard. I lost my engagement ring not long after I got it while furiously raking and piling up slimy, nasty leaves along the street beside my big Craftsman house in Tacoma. I had three 100+ year-old elms, a mature tulip tree and some mangy decidious tree that all contributed their leaves to the parking strip and street, clogging up the storm drains. I had just finished and was admiring my towers of nastiness when I realized my ring was missing.

    I was certain there was no hope and was beside myself, but my fiance’ (now DH) rented a metal detector…and found it!!! It was there, perfect, buried beneath about 3.5 feet of muck and leaves.

    So, if it’s possible you could have lost it in the brambles, perhaps you could rent a metal detector for a couple of days! You might just find it!

  3. I would also suggest a metal detector. Who knows what else you

    might find. The bites could be chiggers, look them up.


  4. Beth says:

    I agree, don’t give up hope on the pendant. I found an earring in the compost pile two years after it had gone missing. In my experience, the tiny, really itchy spots are flea bites. If you have pets or farm animals, they are everywhere, including in your bed. You have to wash everything and vacuum like a crazed cleaning woman. Seriously. They can hang out in your clothes and shoes for months. Some are tiny, some are large enough to pick up between your fingers. The bites hurt! The udder sounds like an infection that can be cured with some medicine. Keep smiling! Agatha and Hercule to the rescue!

    • adkmilkmaid says:

      Thank you, everyone, for the encouraging words and the suggestion of a metal detector. I vaguely remember that a neighbor may have one and I am going to call to find out.

      Beth, I can’t understand why I would be the only one bitten by fleas if our house was infested. However I will reapply myself to the vacuum cleaner and strip, wash, and remake the bed again! 🙂 I am so itchy that it is comforting to try ANYTHING.

      Cindy — chiggers! Ugh! Luckily we are too far north for chiggers. We rarely even have fleas on our pets — i.e. every 3 or 4 years. But the idea of mites in the tall weeds and brush I am weedwhacking (picture clouds of flying debris) seems plausible. I am finding myself wishing I could wear something vacuum-sealed.

      Thanks again to all.

  5. Jessika says:

    The pendent will probably show up. I know how sick you must feel over losing it.
    I think it sounds like you got mites from somewhere. Your family doctor should be able to do a simple skin scrape and put it on a slide under the microscope. I’d keep up the sheet washing, in hot water and dried on high heat and vacuuming just in case.
    The best you can do for Katika right now while waiting, is to keep the milk moving out as good as you can, Have you tried separating her calf for the day, milking out the good half thoroughly and then Fee will be quite hungry and have nothing but the bad half to work on. This could backfire if the calf won’t nurse the affected quarters, so leave time to milk those too if that happens. I’ve noticed a hungry calf can do a much better job on mastits if it has no other choice.

  6. Alison says:

    Selden – I rode on Sunday and also was covered with bites – mostly where skin was bare but the bugs were terrible! I think the warm weather has got them in a feeding frenzy! benadryl ointment or spray and cold weather should help!

    I also hate losing things – lost one of my favorite and always worn blue lapis earrings from Tom – wore them at our wedding but they are gone. oh well, as I get older I realize we have to let go – that is our task. hopefully it will turn up – I always check the bed but you sound like you have been washing sheets so maybe not. I will cross my fingers! Alison

    • adkmilkmaid says:

      I can deal with the biting flies and mosquitoes that I can see and swat. If they get me, c’est la vie. It’s the Mystery Guest who is peppering me invisibly with wildly itchy bites under my clothes that is driving me mad. No one else in the family is being bitten. I’m beginning to look like a speckled cartoon character! and meanwhile my temperament is suffering. 😉

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