Wednesday, March 27, 2013


" The earth has music for those who listen."  George Santayana - philosopher

Van Campens Glen - Delaware River Gap National Recreation Area
It is said that being in nature is therapeutic for you heart, mind, body and soul. I was told by many holistic practitioners that being in nature promotes  healing, strengthens your inner core, keeps you grounded, and above all,  connects you to the divine consciousness within you. And now is a great time to start your connection to Mother Nature. Remember to dress in layers, wear waterproof hiking boots, gloves and a knit hat, use Dr. Ben's Personal Insect Repellent     ( when the temps are above freezing) and you're good to go! (Dogs on leashes are allowed on many trails. Just spray them with Dr. Ben's Paws and Claws Flea, Tick and Mite Formula and they are protected - just like you!)

Here are a few scenic shots taken from trails that we hiked on this past winter in Northern NJ:

Greenwood Lake- Abram Hewitt State Forest - Passaic County, NJ

Lake Rutherford - High Point State Park  - Sussex County, NJ

Van Campens Glen- Delaware River Gap National Recreation Area

Wide trail - South Mountain Reservation- Essex County- NJ

Hemlock Falls - South Mountain Reservation - Essex County, NJ

Trail information can be found at the NYNJ Trail Conference website for the New York/New Jersey area. The popular and easy trails are perfect for family treks and are always wide and well-maintained.  Picking trails with established parking lots also guarantees maintained primary trails. It's always good to carry a small backpack for water, tissues, cell phone, maps, snacks, and a camera. 

"Being in nature" is now part of my healing therapy. It is a mini-vacation from the chores and responsibilities of every day life. It is time-out for my heart and soul. And it is there for everyone to enjoy.

Happy Hiking!

"I thank God for most this amazing day; for the leaping greenly spirits of trees and a blue true dream of sky; and for everything which is natural, which is infinite."

E.E. Cummings 1894 - 1962

I have no financial interest in Dr. Ben's or receive any commission from any sales.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013


Wilma, Betty, Marianne, Ginger, Alice, Edith and Maude

Meet my outdoor pets. There’s Wilma, Betty, Marianne, Ginger, Alice, Edith, and Maude. Yep, all does and there’s a good chance that most of them are expecting little Bambis in the late spring. They love to eat my grass, nibble my shrubbery, poop all over my lawn and hang out under the big shade trees. The “girls” greet me each morning and  almost every morning. Sometimes they wag their tails when they see me (Ya think I’m kidding!)

They love my suburban yard and if you were a deer, you would, too! Hangin’ out in the lawns and nearby wooded areas of a typical suburban neighborhood in NJ means plenty of food and plenty of protection (unless, of course, they get hit by a car).All in all, they have the life of Reilly!

And they have a lot of company. Our neighborhood is the home of a  groundhog family, many  friendly squirrels- one in particular that  likes to eat black walnuts on our deck, an assortment of  brown rabbits, a fox or two, voles (field mice), chipmunks, raccoons, a nice-sized grey tabby, possums and lots of birds that co-habitat in perfect harmony. So what’s the problem?  Can you guess?  All of these beautiful creatures have the potential for carrying disease-spreading ticks.* (This was a huge fear of mine that I resolved with the help of Dr. Goodsoul - See "I MUST NOT FEAR") 

But the question is…was it always like this? Were these animals always carriers of these toxic ticks and we are just aware of this now? Or are there more ticks now than before?

Well – are there more ticks? What does your gut tell you?  YES!!! There ARE more ticks now than even 10 years ago!

Ask any hunter that has been in the woods for the past 30 years or so. I did. I know a few bow hunters who cull deer in our town and our county**. They don’t wear repellent!!! Deer have an acute sense of smell and wearing repellent would scare the deer away from their hunting area. So they are very familiar with ticks. About 30 years ago, there were hardly any ticks. Picking off one dog tick would be the norm for a day of hunting. Now – it’s a nightmare! Everyone they know, including themselves, have had Lyme disease and dealing with Lyme-related health issues.

According to Thomas Mather, professor of public health entomology at the University of Rhode Island and director of the TickEncounter Resource Center,  a leading source of tick-bite and disease prevention, “the observed tick increase relates directly to deer population, which are exploding in suburban and even semi-urban areas. Deer are the most important reproductive hosts for deer and Lone Star ticks. In Rhode Island, each deer produces about 450,000 larval deer ticks every year.”

WHOA! Then would it be possible that my outdoor pets could carry that many deer ticks, too? What does your now nauseas gut tell you? OF COURSE! So that would mean that  Wilma, Betty, Marianne, Ginger, Alice, Edith and Maude could potentially be the hosts to about 3,150,000 larval deer ticks each year!

Dr. Heath McNutt, a Vermont veterinarian and fellow blogger, adds “new species of  ticks are migrating into areas where they have not previously lived and development of land creates little micro climates that allow ticks to be active year round, even here in Northern New England.”  from Vet's View blog - "Dear dear ticks".

This diagram of the life cycle of the deer tick shows that there is no break in activity over the wintertime!

"Damn! We’re in a tight spot!" (to quote Ulysses Everett McGill)  Yes, people like me, who have become chronically ill due to tick bites ARE in a very tight spot!

Is there a solution? Absolutely!! The solution is simply protection. Protection is the key to being healthy and safe. So whenever I’m outside, doing any kind of yard work, I wear my hiking outfit - a pink baseball cap, shirt tucked into my pants, sweatshirt, off-white pants tucked into my white socks, white sneakers or mud boots. And, last but not least, I’m completely sprayed from head to toe (With Dr. Ben’s Personal Insect Repellent, of course!)
My hikin' and workin' around the yard outfit

“Deer ticks are not out in the middle of your lawn, they live where yards border wooded areas, ornamental plantings and gardens, or anywhere it is shaded and there are leaves with high humidity.” - Tick Encounter Resource Center.  So, with that in mind, we have protected our yard by keeping our grass short, reducing brush and weeds between our property and our neighbors, trimming shrubs and low branches and getting rid of bird feeders.  Our tractor lawn mower mulches the leaves into the grass.

And so far…so good.  Wearing protective clothing, repellent and maintaining our property is working.

Come to think of it… there is one more option…


* “white –footed mice are the  main reservoir host for Lyme disease spirochetes, Babesia protozoa, and Anaplasma  bacteria; in most settings, mice are the prime culprits for producing infected ticks.” - Tick Encounter Resource Center

**btw – the meat(venison) is donated to the needy.

I have no financial interest in Dr. Ben's or receive any commission from any sales.