Poison Ivy

Poison ivy produces urushiol to protect the pl...

Poison ivy produces urushiol to protect the plant from herbivores. In humans this chemical produces an allergic skin rash, known as urushiol-induced contact dermatitis. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I put on my rubber boots and pulled latex gloves over my gardening gloves. My spouse put on the special farm-chemical elbow gloves I’d bought him, and we both donned our rain jackets and rain pants in spite of the sun shining overhead.

Sweating under our rain gear, we walked through the pachysandra looking for the characteristic “leaves of three.” Each time we found a patch of poison ivy, my spouse would follow the leaves as far as he could down the creeping vines, but every time the stem would break before he pulled up the root. Swearing softly, he crumpled the plants and put them into the plastic garbage bag I held open for him as we both tried to remember not to wipe sweat or bugs or loose hairs from our faces. We continued this until we could find no more poison ivy.

At the backyard spigot, we Tecnued everything we could, then went through the garage and tossed the lot into the washing machine. Then we washed our bare hands with Tecnu for good measure.

And now we wait.

It kind of reminds me of the early days of our relationship: Today, as back then, only time will tell if the barrier method was effective.

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