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I am a mother, a new grandmother, and a teacher. But whatever happens in my life, I keep sewing. I have worked as a political communicator and now as a teacher in my formal life. I have also written extensively on sewing. I have been a frequent contributor and contributing editor of Threads magazine and the Australian magazine Dressmaking with Stitches. My first book Sew.. the garment-making book of knowledge will be published in May 2018 and is available for pre-order from Amazon


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Sunday, November 9, 2014

My mother and the Black Death: not for squeemish

The back story on this one is that despite Daisy's own ongoing flea medication, a visiting dog has brought fleas into the house. Since Daisy is on something that kills fleas once they are on her they still have to jump on to get that to point,and I have found a few on her belly. I saw the vet today about something to add to that process.

I think you get the drift. You don't see any fleas around here but I know they are there.

October and November are the worst months for fleas. Those little nuisances are occupied with catching the last train into a warm house and a warm body before the big freeze hits - but I am ready for them.

So ready.

You see my mother was a nurse in the fifties when infectious diseases were the thing. She nursed through the polio epidemic and through TB. Later she was a volunteer taking care of one of the first folks to die from AIDS when that was getting going. She's 87 but I know she is on standby waiting to take the call to take on Ebola.

My dad used to say my mother could stop the bubonic plague in its tracks if she had too. She used to make nurse sisters who came from the hospital change in the porch before they came in the house.

When we were growing up she sterilized everything, good technique she called it. If someone gave us hand me down books she baked them in the oven before we were allowed to read them. I had to go to school before I found out not all books had wavy pages.

When I had children she sterilized all the toys before she even had her coat off when she came to visit.

I don't want you to get the impression that she was a neat freak, far, far from it, but I grew up in a very untidy house that was nevertheless bacteria free.

So when I assessed the flea situation I channeled my past. I have washed everything that can be washed in hot water and for the things that can't be I have come up with my own invention.

I found out that freezing kills fleas at all life stages so, you guessed it, anything that can't fit into the washer is now in the chest deep freeze. Go looking for ice cubes around here and you might be staring at a rug.

My mother would be proud.


Anonymous said...

YES - freezing works for fleas as well as other nasties (head lice for example) - I used to take the pre-school dress up stuff home and freeze it over long holidays. Having ice cubes is over-rated compared to no fleas.


Summer Flies said...

Practical... kill the things that need killing and don't forget untidiness doesn't kill you!

Jeanneke said...

And your children will be proud of you, too!!!
So good to have people like you around, and not only in the blogosphere.
Happy freezing, thanks for sharing.

Linda T said...

As a former volunteer at an animal hospital, I learned that dish detergent kills fleas also. Dawn seems to work best/quickest. We used it to bathe dogs often if they came in flea ridden. Just fyi should you need it and don't want to use toxic shampoo.

Anonymous said...

Thoroughly vacuum the edges of the room where the walls meet the floor and also along the edges of solid furniture like bookshelves and dressers. This is where fleas like to lay their eggs.
Washing in dishwasher detergent works very well, although I suspect any oil dissolving detergent would work.

Donna W said...

Now whenever a dog visits your house you just tell them to take off their coats before they come in.......lol

mrsmole said...

Freezing also kills larva in flour and other dry goods so into the freezer they went before entering the kitchen shelves. My mother, 89, is/was so fanatical about boiling baby toys that the plastic dissolved and disappeared in the hot boiling water in the pot.

Anonymous said...

And, pour Borax cleaning powder onto carpet and bedding, brush it in, then vacuum. Very effective.

Bunny said...

I was just going to suggest the Borax as well. It kills all sorts of cooties. You can also soak in or wash your animal in it for the full effect.

Here we fight the field mice as they try so hard to make it into the house before winter. So far so good!

Janine said...

I seem to be lucky. I have only ever seen one flea on my dog although my daughters were not so lucky having a couple of infestations of human brand fleas which they passed onto me. Husband never caught them which I suppose says something about how close he was to them .
I do hope this doesn't mean you out daisy in the deep freeze as well - lol .