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Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Mosquito Solution

Mosquitoes really know how to ruin a perfectly lovely outing. They're masters at it. I'm a total mosquito wimp, and in many locales that's a very good thing to be due to Lyme disease, [oh dear! Kathy Walker has corrected me on this ~ see her letter below and substitute "West Nile" for "Lyme disease" above! ] etc. (to say nothing of the problems engendered by scratching your arms off at the elbows ~ it's SO hard to sketch and journal, after that...).

I first wrote about my problem with the mosquitoes on this page:

So whilst being plagued by the little beasties as I sat in my sit spot one day, I dreamed up the perfect solution. It required a trip to the garden shed and an additional trip to the camping goods section of Bi-Mart, plus a few of those paper clamps (see (d.) below.

Oh yeah, wire cutters were needed, too, and six of those "twistems" ~ the wiry things that fasten loaves of bread and clumps of celery shut.

When I was done, I journaled the results in my journal. Since I'm not certain it's totally clear how it is constructed, I've also created some diagrams to make the directions easier to follow.

You'll need:
  • wire cutters or pliers which will cut heavy wire
  • a cone-shaped wire tomato frame (see a. below)
  • a 5'x7' piece of mosquito netting (it comes this size in the package, but you might want a bigger piece)
  • 6 pieces of light wire, twistable by hand
  • 3 or more paper clamps, clothespins, or some other fastener
  • a comfy chair to fasten everything to.
Cut the middle and bottom hoops of the tomato frame open, next to one of the legs (b.) and spread out the cone until the legs are in a more-or-less straight row. Fasten the wire legs to the chair, and bend the frame as needed to make the top hoop level (c. and e.). You can bend up the cut ends of the two wires to make hooks ~ I hang my glasses on one to keep them inside the net (f.). You could hang your false teeth on the other hook, mebbe...

Fold the mosquito net in half and put clips along one side, starting at the fold (as shown in d.) . You don't have to clip the entire side, as gravity will cause it to fall down and close itself.

Open up and drape the net over the frame, with the corner with the first clip above the center of the top hoop (f.). The drawing isn't perfectly accurate, because there's a bit of a corner splayed out on the ground on each side of the chair.

Even with this size of netting your feet might not be totally covered. So you'll need to wear socks if the beasties are biting your ankles. I was wearing 2 pairs of socks on my final day in my #2 sit spot, which I think is what finally did me in there, since I had simply SWARMS of mosquitoes around my net ~ so many that I could feel their tiny little vibes yearning for my blood. It was unnerving. But for lesser visitations, it's great!

This only takes a few minutes to make once you get the tools and supplies together, and it is so light that you can carry it in one hand from one spot to another. Sitting inside your little haloed dome, there will be no netting dragging against your face or head or hands or sketchpad, and you don't have to wear stinky repellent. You'll need to wear pants, though, since your knees will be against the netting and the little boogers will notice this right away (oops!).

I hope this turns out to be useful to you, if you live in a skeetery place. If you make one and try it out, I'd love to hear your experience with it. Mine makes it possible to sit out on the deck on a warm summer evening in perfect comfort, reading sketching, etc.

Of course, it's not nice to sit on the lawn under your net to chat if your chatee doesn't have a net, though, so you may need to make nets for everyone to be polite.

Let me know if you try this, okay?

BTW, I've replaced, moved, and changed the box where you ask for notifications when I blog ~ now it's on the right near the top when you first enter the blog. If you signed up for but haven't been getting notices, enter your email again now.

10 comments:

winna said...

I have to come back and toitally absorb this great post---my immeduate thought is, "Oh WHY didn't I buy the authenic fake Egyptian Esophogus (sp?) they had marked way the heck down, at a business that was going out of business---it was life size and rather roomey---with a wicked fine wire mesh
hidden slide thingy it would look so cool out in the field---but then I'd have to drag it in each night to keep looters away....

Jeanette, Mistress of Longears said...

As one whom the mosquitoes adore, I have been a total wuss about working outside. This is encouraging and ingenius!

Irene Brady said...

Dang, Winna, you missed a FINE opportunity there with your Egyptian Esophogus (sp?)(could that possibly be a Sarcophagus? -- but I like your version better!) I would love to see you inhabiting the thing, as well! But you're right about looters, although you probably could hire a couple of local teenagers to guard it overnight if you wanted to leave it out....

Jeannette, I still get spooked by too insistent mosquito whines, but I can deal with occasional mosquito inspections. We all have our flashpoints!

Mary McAndrew said...

Irene, so glad I caught your post, as you mentioned it coming in the last one! I laughed at your descriptions of the skeeters...oooo I hate em too! I had to buy Benedril type cream for all the itches I have.
I used to pull a net that I sewed over my sun hat for gardening, now they make them to buy. But your idea is great because we really need all over coverage.
BTW thanks for the note about signing up emails...I know it was for me!! hahaha...you had some box that when I signed it last time, it didn't seem right. I just added my email to the one you mentioned.
Looking forward to more.

Lynn said...

What an awesome idea, Irene!

Kathy Walker said...

Ah, just a fact check for you, Lyme disease is spread by Deer Ticks, West Nile and triple E (Eastern Equine Encephalitis) are spread by Mosquitoes. I use bug spray, here in Eastern MA where we have all three, but then I tend to not sit outside so your solution wouldn't work for me, very clever though :)

Irene Brady said...

Hi Kathy,
I appreciate the correction -- and what a nice way to put it! Actually, I know it's ticks that spread Lyme disease and can't believe I let that one get past me. I'll go correct it and give you credit.
Thanks!

p.s. Signs of West Nile have just appeared in our area. And I don't think Lyme has much of a hold here (if any), either ~ most folks don't worry about it. If I lived where you do, I might not sit outside so casually, either!

Jane said...

Now that's using your noggin! Great idea & execution!

Diane said...

It has been awhile since I've had time to visit your blog. I just spent an enjoyable 45 minutes reading some past entries, the ones since you started recording from your sit spot. Very sorry to see you have stopped in August but hope things are going well and you will be posting some new entries soon.

Irene Brady said...

Hi Diane,
I appreciate you jogging my elbow. All is well, and because of you I've finally gotten around to blogging again, after a VERY busy summer.

Many thanks!

Here's a grab-bag of other entries...

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