by mathew sabatino July 20, 2018

The Tourists

We are the tourists in their world.  They are hitchhikers in ours. Wanderers looking for quick meal like vagabonds & gypsies that blow through town.  The worst kind of presence that intrudes into your world.  Summer is here & in order to enjoy the wonders & beauty of the wilderness you will have to endure the inevitable grasp of the parasites that ruin it.  If you live on Long Island in New York you are very familiar with the multitude of their range & the many varieties of their awful species.  With the current climate situation at hand & the increasing cases of Lyme Disease this problem is effecting all of us but with simple precautions you can prevent infections from these little disease, spreading bastards.

Lyme disease is classified as a zoonosis, as it is transmitted to humans from a natural reservoir among small mammals and birds by ticks that feed on both sets of hosts.  Hard-bodied ticks are the main vectors of Lyme disease.  Most infections are caused by ticks in the nymphal stage, because they are very small and thus may feed for long periods of time undetected. Larval ticks are very rarely infected. Although deer are the preferred hosts of the adult stage of deer ticks, and tick populations are much lower in the absence of deer, ticks generally do not acquire Lyme disease spirochetes from deer. Rather, deer ticks acquire Borrelia microbes from infected small mammals and occasionally birds, including the white-footed mouse.

The full syndrome now known as Lyme disease was not recognized until a cluster of cases originally thought to be juvenile rheumatoid arthritis was identified in three towns in southeastern Connecticut in 1975, including the towns Lyme and Old Lyme, which gave the disease its popular name.

Read More about how acorns can effect a spike in Lyme Disease infections.

Project Paperclip

Although Lyme & the other diseases that can come with a tick bite are a very serious issue there is some interesting history that haunts the mystery of the origins of Lyme.  Consider Plum Island, just off the coast of Long Islands north fork, a government owned island and currently home the animal disease control.  It has a long history and mystique concerning Lyme.

 For more information on Project Paperclip click here and for a deeper conversation here

Get Out There

When it comes to getting some blood born disease or using chemical like DEET, personal, I'll take my chances with the chems.  They work.  If you're hellbent, set against these chemicals then we recommend essential oils such as cedar wood, citronella or lemon eucalyptus.  These have seemingly helped but there are no certainties there.  The number one best way to prevent bites is to thoroughly check yourself - every nook & cranny.  The good news is, even if a tick has imbedded itself, you have 24-36 hrs to remove it before they will have started actually feeding.  Once they start getting engorged the risk of infection goes way up.  With that said, we encourage you to get outdoors & not to be deterred because of these critters.  Proceed with caution & just be mindful out there.

Simple Prevention

  • Use a chemical repellent with DEET, permethrin or picaridin.
  • Wear light-colored protective clothing.
  • Tuck pant legs into socks.
  • Stay on the path! Avoid tick-infested areas.
  • Thoroughly check yourself, your children, and your pets daily.
  • Shower soon after being outdoors.
  • Get out there!!!

mathew sabatino
mathew sabatino


Also in The Naturalist - Dispatches from the Wild


by mathew sabatino January 18, 2018

Our single plant studies are love songs, pure, unfiltered, admiration, of one species of plant or tree.  One plant with so many scent notes in its catalog, balanced by millions of years of evolution...

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by mathew sabatino December 04, 2017

Traditions run deep.  They swirl around in our collective imaginations and bring us to that cherished, nostalgic place.  I wonder though, if these heirloom notions and warm traditions have become a burden on the environment. 

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by mathew sabatino July 05, 2017


Breath it in.  Really look into it. Those pines.  Now look at the nuances.  Look at the smaller things - the post & chestnut oak, the pepper bush and fragrant bayberry, laurel & huckleberry, then even smaller - the viney  greenbriar, cranberry, summer grape and the sweet fern.  Even deeper, under the leaves of that underbrush, deeper to the forest floor, hiding under the shade of gorgeous blackberry and sassafras, the rare pink lady slipper orchid, the mosses and cinnamon fern, the tiniest of violets and British red coats. 

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