Skip to main content

Poison Ivy

I do not have a green thumb.  In fact, I consider it a success if a plant survives for a month under my care.  However, there is one plant that I cannot kill no matter how hard I try.  Since moving to our current home, I have discovered a plant that will grow under the most extreme conditions.  It will grow with the most hideous neglect. It will grow where nothing else will grow.  If I remove it from one flower bed, it will happily occupy a different one.  It comes back year after year with no action on my part at all.  In fact, it seems to grow just to taunt me.  The plant seems to be as happy in shade as it is in full sun.  In early spring, the cute tiny leaves are a beautiful red which changes to green in summer.  It can adapt to its environment by becoming a climber or a freestanding shrub.  Although I try to be as earth friendly as I can, I have resorted to chemical warfare to render my yard safe from this pestilent plant. 
My first encounter with the plant came about 6 years ago while we were living in a rental home. This was just after the Hubster's military retirement and we had just moved to the area.  The Hubster and I spent an afternoon out in the yard after he had been for a run.  The run is important because he stayed in his running shorts to do the yard work.  While I mowed, he used the Weed Eater to clear the grass and growth under a cedar tree with low hanging branches.  He also pulled down a vine that was growing in the tree.  In no time at all, the yard looked beautiful and we went on with our day.
Like many couples, we are spooners.  I am the front spoon and my husband is the back spoon--we just fit together better that way.  His chest is to my back and his thighs touch the back of my thighs.  This is important.  What we didn't know was that the vine that he pulled out of the tree and weed whacked into submission earlier in the day was poison ivy.  Each pass of the Weed Eater had sprayed the urushiol oil from the plant onto his legs--particularly his thighs.  As we slept, that oil was transferred from the front of his thighs to the back of mine.  It was also being transferred to the sheets.  We awoke the next morning to masses of  red welts (if you are squeamish, don't follow the link) that soon progressed to oozing red nastiness.  Even worse, we woke up with even more welts in other areas after sleeping in the tainted sheets again that night.  After two days of misery, we went to the doctor who misdiagnosed the problem and prescribed a cream that did nothing to help with our misery.  And believe me, we were miserable with a capital M.  In desperation, I spent hours on the internet.  After comparing the information and photos with another vine growing up the house, we had discovered the problem. We then went to the drug store where we found the wonder product known as Blistex Poison Ivy Treatment.  Although it took days for the welts and rash to finally disappear, the Blistex product provided instant relief and kept both of us from scratching down to the bone.  
Now you might think that with a Biology teacher dad and summer's spent on a farm with lots of woods that I would have known what poison ivy looked like.  You would be wrong.  I am not sure how I made it through childhood without a bout of poison ivy.  I had heard of poison ivy, but certainly never gave it a thought as we traipsed through the woods to pick blueberries, play with the cows, or go camping.  It just must not have been an issue in the area where I grew up.
That was a painful lesson, but you can bet that we don't wear shorts for yard work anymore. When we moved to our current home, I thought our troubles were over.  Little did I know that poison ivy was lurking in the yard just waiting for me.  Now, I never work in our yard unless I know that the Blistex product is in the house.  When I come in from the yard, the first thing I do is use the cleansing foam on all appendages.  Although I have had more bouts with poison ivy, none have been as severe as the first and never after using the Blistex cleansing foam.  No plant with leaves in groups of three is safe in my yard, and I am sure that some innocent plants are sacrificed in the hunt for poison ivy.  I am taking no chances though.
Now that I know what poison ivy looks like, I can see it everywhere here.  This part of the country must just be perfect for the growth of poison ivy.  Both sides of the roads leading into our neighborhood are covered with the plant.  What looks like beautiful healthy plants growing along the road is really poison ivy waiting for the next unwary pedestrian.


Popular posts from this blog

Lexington KY False Alarms

Our travels last week took us through Kentucky.  Of course I had to peruse the web to see what is going on in the world of false alarm reduction in the bluegrass state.  Of the cities that we would be visiting, Lexington was the first that I found with a false alarm reduction unit.

Alarm systems in Lexington must be registered and there is an application fee of $15, which seems to be a one time fee. (Update: the $15 fee is an annual fee). Lexington's ordinance is similar to most other ordinances, but it has a feature that I have not seen before.  The fine schedule lists minimum and maximum fines.  If an alarm user doesn't contest the alarm, they pay the minimum fine.  If they contest the fine and lose, they could end up paying the maximum fine. Fines begin at the fourth alarm with a $25 minimum fine and go up to a $300 minimum fine for the 9th alarm (maximum fine is $500).  These fines are relatively low compared to fines in the area where I live;  however, the 10th alarm in L…

Coal mine

I have always been drawn to the strange and unusual, especially when it involves venturing off the highway onto back roads with the promise of an adventure.  On the way back from Youngest's college orientation, we found ourselves in Beckley, West Virginia at a McDonald's.  This was not our first choice, but sometimes you have to take what you can get.  While we were enjoying our fine dining experience, my eyes were drawn to this sign that was just visible from where we were sitting.  When we finished eating, I couldn't leave without a photo.  To my astonishment, Hubster asked if I wanted to visit the exhibit.  After I picked my jaw off the floor of the car, I responded "sure".
With no more than that arrow pointing the way, we set off into the wilds of West Virginia.  Youngest swore he heard the sound of banjos.  After several miles of twists and turns,  I was beginning to think that we had missed a sign.To my relief, a sign appeared letting us know that we had ar…

New Technology-QR Code

We are going to venture away from CryWolf® today to discuss other technology that can assist in the mission of reducing false alarms.  One emerging technology that can be harnessed by alarm units is the QR code. As an example, the QR code below includes the web address for this blog.
A QR code is a form of bar code similar to a UPC code but with the ability to hold greater amounts of data. These codes were developed by an auto manufacturer in Japan to help them track parts.  Although the company holds the patent rights, they have chosen to not exercise those rights. This allows free use of the technology.
QR codes may be formatted to hold all manner of information such as phone numbers, e-mail addresses, gps data, or a web address. QR codes can easily be added to business cards, brochures, and other printed materials.  Many Home Owner Associations in our area allow us a small space in their publications and QR codes are perfect for this space.  The codes can even be included on facebo…