A few weeks back my spouse and I were working on fencing - actually were clearing brush, greenbriar, and weeds from an area that will eventually have a fence. We worked on the entire path - though it had been cleared earlier by my son and him, as is true in this part of the world - already had regrowth of the "stuff" that had been cleared before. We chopped, hoed, and pulled to get the path clear and ready for barbed wire to be run through for the fence. I then got to work at the ending point to clear out brush, small trees and the ever present - greenbriar! He was stringing the next strand for the fence while I worked on the end point. It was not too hot so it was nice to be back out there working again. Since I have gone back full time and my spouse is now working on his own, he does most of this type of work during the day when I'm at work and I don't get to participate nearly as much as I would like. But it takes both to make it work, so we press on. I pulled tree branches out that had fallen but gotten caught up in the brush, trimmed lower branches to clear areas for wire, and cut/howed weeds to clear the area so the fence could be built in a relatively clear area.
I never thought about the different things that might be out there - other than the wood spiders we saw. In re-clearing the path, we did see poison ivy but I made sure to use the clippers or at least my gloved hands to remove it. However - I did not have on my work boots - but tennis shoes. Big mistake! I managed to get poison ivy all around my ankles. I never thought about it when getting dressed to work that morning. The itching started that night but I really thought it was probably chiggers - not poison ivy. However - the blisters started developing the next day and oh the itching!!! I have never had poison ivy and hope to never have it again. No sleep from the constant itch and desperately trying not to scratch! I finally wet handtowels with cool water and wrapped my ankles to try to get a couple of hours of sleep.
Then I discovered I did have chigger bites - just a few which I could handle. But when I found the tick - UUUGGGHHH! I absolutely hate ticks and finding one attached just about did it for me! I found it on Monday morning and my spouse was getting ready to head out of town for the week to help his mother with some items that needed his attention. I had to get him to help me get it off - tried everything but no budging from the little parasite! Finally he pulled it off, left the head in so then had to start digging with a needle!
I worked out there all last summer and never had chigger bites, saw a tick and never had contact with poison ivy. Then had all 3 in one day.
But those things are part of the "Great Outdoors" and if you're going to be in their area, you have to be aware of the potential. I wouldn't trade it for anything! Well - maybe the poison ivy - I have never had anything itch so constantly and hurt at the same time.
We are working on expanding and love the ranch more each day.