Tuesday, 16 October 2018

We were going to have a quiet day

A few weeks ago I had a big clear up around the bird feed area.  It was a hot and sticky day and I expect on more than a couple of occasions I pulled my hair back.  A few hours later the back of my neck felt like it was on fire and on inspection the skin was covered in bumps, inflamed and it took a few days and a lot of Germolene until everything settled down.

We concluded that I picked up something nasty on my gloves from beneath the bird feeders which transferred to my skin - thank goodness I was wearing gloves, thank goodness I didn't wipe across the front of my face or near my eyes.

Fast forward to today.   We noticed Daisy had chewed and nibbled at the skin above her tail until is is sore and bleeding.  I know she's a 'scratchy dog' at the best of times but this was not normal - neither the location of the itchiness or the way she has bitten at herself,  poor little girl, we felt awful for her and I doubt she was very happy either (and don't even ask when she managed to do this much damage to herself without either of us noticing or hearing her).

Whilst it was relatively quick to clean up her skin and apply some ointment, it was important to work out what had caused the problem, rather than just dealing with the symptoms. Management is great at spotting non-obvious connections.  He immediately said "it's like the back of your neck".  Which makes perfect sense . . . the neighbours' s*dding murderous cats sit behind the bird feeders every day like they own the place, and Daisy spends much time diving into that area to evict them.  So there is a logic to thinking that she's come into contact with whatever substance caused my skin problem.

For sometime I have been thinking that maybe the bird feeder area needs to move/change.  It is difficult to keep perfectly clean and hygienic.  When it affected me I shrugged and decided not to crawl around on my hand and knees in the area.  When it affects Daisy:  Something.  Must.  Be.  Done.  Immediately.

I got busy dismantling the carefully constructed Bag End Bird Buffet, Management set to with the Karcher and a very stinky solution of Armillatox Soap Based Outdoor Cleaner.  It looks great now.

Before and after pictures, you don't realise how dirty something has become until you clean it :(

For the time being we've moved the feeders next to the dead Rowan tree;  the jury is out as to whether they move even further.

A possible side benefit might be that we have rotted-up the perfect stealth location for the cats . . .  if nothing else they probably won't like the smell of Armillatox.

We live in hope  🤬

We had planned on having a quiet day, but things seldom work out the way we intended.  Whilst M. had the Karcher out he also cleaned the little deck outside the kitchen, plus the black deck next to the Big Pond which was getting slippery.

Whilst he did that I made a start on trimming the hornbeam hedge next to the drive.  Until I sliced through the electric cable of the hedge trimmer (whoops, that's why you use an RCD outside!), and it started raining.


  1. Oh my goodness, poor you and Daisy. That must have been awful on the back of your neck and I hope Daisy's sore has healed now. I watched a programme on TV warning not to take bird feeders into the house to wash them and the importance of cleaning them outdoors so they do carry disease. It must be so annoying to see the neighbourhood cats lurking around the bird feeders but it's what they do. I'm currently cleaning up almost daily after cats as they use my front and side garden as a toilet :( As for cutting through the electric cable on your hedge trimmer oh no! We bought a Ryobi hedge trimmer that uses rechargeable batteries, much safer.

    1. Hi Eileen, I always wash feeders outside or in the bootroom but am going to take the risk warnings a bit more seriously in future.

      Sorry you have to clean cat muck from your garden - if we let Annie and Daisy roam free and they used someone else's garden as a toilet we'd be prosecuted. Annoys me greatly.

      Hedge cutting: an electric trimmer is deliberate - a petrol one would be too heavy for me to manage and the batteries on portable ones just don't last long enough to get round this garden. Management has fixed the cable and obviously I'll be more careful today. But this is why we've got proper RCD breakers on all out outdoor sockets :) Don't worry, I haven't blown myself up yet!

  2. Do hope your neck is better & Daisy is OK too. Be careful please. Although I like cats, they must kept contained in your own yard or they should be house cats in some areas. I sometimes have trouble with a couple, but overall I think most people adhere to the laws. Whoops, about the cord & K has been talking about getting one with a battery too. Take care.

    1. Hi Susan, you've told me before about how incredibly sensible the Australian authorities are in respect of cats. No chance of that happening in this country unfortunately . . .

      See reply to Eileen re: battery powered trimmer :)

  3. Sorry to hear about Daisy and your neck, I hope both are getting better and whatever it was in the garden that caused it has been eliminated :)

    1. Thanks Eunice, Daisy is slowly recovering and we are keeping on eye on her to make sure nothing gets infected. I've put up some screens to stop her going into the area behind the hedge and we are still debating whether to move the feeders somewhere completely different.

  4. I wonder what the exact cause of your skin problems was? Must admit to not being a scrupulous with=h our feeding areas as we probably should be.

    1. I suspect most of us are the same Sue. Be honest, have you ever met someone who cleans the feeders every week, outside, wearing gloves and a breathing mask like some 'experts' say we should do.


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