No Man's Land, Jo-Ann Sanborn
acrylic on canvas, 24"x30"
When you go out for your hike in the magical, mystical Everglades, there are a few things you might like to take along, and a few that you should watch out for, and a few you should be careful of.
If you're doing one of the walks in my last post, it's good to know that there are rest rooms at the walk at Big Cypress Bend, the Visitor's Center oat SR41 and SR29, and at the Ranger Station on Janes Scenic Drive. Take along some water in case you stay longer than you think, and some mosquito wipes. I'll talk more about the mosquitoes in a new post. If you're a painter and you plan to plain, you might benefit from my plein air tips.
For the benefit of the creatures that live there, think of it as their home, and treat it like you would if you were a guest in someones house. Take any trash you've brought home with you or secure it in a proper receptacle If you happen upon a Rookery enjoy it and back out quietly. Never, ever feed an alligator, or throw rocks at it to make it move, or poke it with a stick. Treat it like you'd like to be treated in a similar circumstance. If you see the elusive Florida Panther, consider it a gift.
Most of all look around carefully BEFORE you stand still. There's a lot of interesting stuff in the Glades, and before you stop to marvel at the beautiful bromiliads in a tree, make sure you're not standing in an ant hill! Fire ants are the thing to be most careful of and they are considered the six legged scourge of the South. Supposedly taclum powder repels them, but I have not tried this out, forgeting until it's too late.
There are more of them than alligators, eagles, birds and panthers, and they are the most ready to cause you trouble. Many of them make their homes by the side of the road. They don't like visitors, and if you step on a nest you'll suffer for days!
The fire ants seem to crawl so quietly that you don't know they are there, until one of them somehow gives the sting signal. The first thing you will feel is some stinging on your leg or foot. First--move away fast. If you stay where you are while getting rid of them, more will be on you in a moment. Then, if you have a sock or shoe on remove it immediately and drop it, and get the ants off your legs. They get further around than you think, so make your you've killed EVERY ONE on you. Look between your toes and around your heel, cause at this point the sneaky buggers are hiding and waiting for a second bite.
Finally, go pick up your shoes. Hit them on something hard, a tree or your car, until you're sure the ants are gone. They're not, you will still find more hiding in your shoe, along the edge of the seam or under the strap. Same with the socks. Look thoroughly. No matter how desperately you do this phase, I can almost guarantee you another bite. Finally, it's over!
But wait! It's not over yet because if even one of them has had a good bite you will sting for hours, and will have a painful reminder for days, and left with a scar. Do I sound like I'm talking from experience? Yep! More than one? Yep!
So, you've been warned. This video isn't great quality, but will show you what to look for!