We just returned from a much needed family vacation (aka. break from the homestead hooligans & technology). We went to Slade, Kentucky for some outdoorsy, mountain fun. Nathan planned the whole thing complete with a cozy cabin rental, a sky ride and hike to a natural bridge, some swimming and lazy area exploration took place.

We stopped many times on the way to and from destinations for preschool potty breaks and baby nursing/ changing needs. We also needed to stretch our legs and run some steam off at times so we would pull over, lay out our picnic blanket in a public area, eat and relax before continuing our road trip.

After the first night in the cabin we both awoke to itching and reached for the bite cream. By the second night it was apparent we had chiggers. You see all the bites in normally covered areas like my poor butt cheeks and bikini area were the telltale sign.

After much scratching, hot tub dunking, googling chiggers and itch cream applying we loaded in the car set & out to buy some chigger cream and some wine… The problem we soon encountered was were were in a dry county in kentucky. This means NO ALCOHOL SALE, period. This is another head shaker for us west coast natives out here in the midwest. Sweat tea, dry counties, bible thumping, midwife hating and the list just goes on and on…

Anyway, once we finally got our $9 bottle of Beringer Zinfandel I shared on Facebook that we were…

“hoping an overpriced, cheap bottle of wine from a few counties away will take the edge off the chigger bitten private parts up in here.”

Everyone clearly thought we’d been naked in the forest or something. LOL. What is worse is the rampant misinformation about chiggers that the internet and the local people imparted on us.

“Where did you go to get chiggers?” or “Just put clear nail polish on the bites” or “Pour bleach or gasoline on them”

We learned that chiggers don’t stay in your skin so the nail polish, bleach or gasoline to suffocate them isn’t necessary and the “track marks” people say you’ll have (as a result of their travels under your skin) aren’t reality.

By the time you are already itching them they’ve likely gone. Turns out as soon as they are brushed or scratched they fall off but their saliva and digestive enzymes that were injected in your skin formed a stylostome¬†in your skin that continues to irritate and cause itching. Also, the digestive enzymes and saliva cause itching and will even ooze from the bite spot or blister as the bite heals. This isn’t a chigger bite lesson though, so for more interesting chigger reading material you can read “How Chiggers Work” by Wilson, Tracy V.

So back to the point I was trying to make, the kids didn’t get any chigger (or any other bug bites). Strange huh? So I am thinking it wasn’t our outdoor picnics and hiking that got us feasted on… but that it was the bed Nathan and I shared at the cabin instead. None of the kids shared our bed so this could explain why Nathan and I are suffering but that girls are not.

For treatment we are really upping our consumption of  pascalite clay to help bind and remove the histamines from our bodies. Also, for me, soaking in epsom salts in a HOT bath while vigorously scrubbing the bites with a nail brush seems to end itching and draw the toxins out nicely. It gives me long lasting relief (longer than the bite creams) and it appears to be drying the bites up nicely too.

Now that we are home and away from chiggers all the clothes and pillowcases are being freed of possible chiggers and we are firing the homestead citchn back up.

After a few days away I’ve got no fermented beverages going, no bone broth simmering, no bread baked and the crap food of vacationing has sure left us feeling less than our best digestively speaking.

To catch up, today I have gluten free bread rising, I am making a sourdough starter, I have water kefir brewing, beans are soaking and bone broth is simmering. It feels like I am slowly firing back up the homesteading machine known as “the living kitchen” and I am curious to see and learn about your kitchens. If I could only take a peek and see how you do things, where your fermented stuff sits, where are your SCOBY’s stored, how you prepare beans or bread or bone broth.

What are you fermenting or making today? Care to post a picture of your fermenting or in progress food items today? Here are mine: