Poison Ivy

So my son’s cat was hit by a car, and I had to retrieve him from a patch of poison ivy. I wore gum rubber muck boots, and I used a shovel to pick poor old Murray up.

What I HADN’T thought about was the spade being contaminated with urushiol, and being transferred to the grass I dug into for Murray’s resting place.

I am certain that is what happened, because a few minutes ago I got an itch between my middle, and ring finger, on my right hand…The hand I used to replace the sod I had dug up.

You would think I would know better! You see, I have a very long history with poison ivy, going back to 2009. Now that may not SEEM like a long time, but considering I am often infected, three, sometimes four times a season? Well, I think you see my point now!

My yard has poison ivy on three of the property boundaries, with the largest plots being the vacant property next door, and the right of way along the road. I am pretty sure it is spreading from the ditch, to the woodlot, and around the back side of my property.

It is spreading rapidly! I cant even mow my lawn without getting a rash on my legs, and feet. Oh sure, I could prevent it if I was smart enough to wear work boots, and long pants…But I HATE SUMMER! I am in shorts, and Wal-Mart’s version of Crocs from May to November if I can get away with it!

I am hesitant to use an herbicide in the area where it grows the most, because that is where my well is located. I am told there is no need to worry…But I AM supposed to worry about run off from agricultural lands? No thanks, I’ll just deal with the poison ivy some other way, than you very much.

I did a lot of research on ways to get rid of it. And the same two answers kept coming up. Herbicides, and goats! After three years of spending all summer with poison ivy, I decided a goat may be the solution.

The wife and I mulled it over, and we decided there simply wasn’t enough room in my derriere for all the crap I seem to be full of, and a goat so we vowed to come up with another solution.

Thankfully, the following spring, we had an exceptionally warm March. The snow cover melted rapidly in just a matter of days, and even the ground thawed. That was when I had a BRILLIANT PLAN! Dig it all up before the leaves emerged!

The doctor in the ER was quite certain I was the first case of poison ivy in the state that year! Turns out the roots are worse than the rest of the plant!

The best part of that was, I had finally cleared all the poison ivy from my well head! Well for a couple months anyway! All the chopped up root fragments inadvertently left behind spread the stuff even further than it was before!

The wife was as frustrated as I was, and told me if I could find a cheap enough goat, we could get one. So I got THREE for FREE!

They haven’t been on poison ivy patrol yet, because as you may have already seen from past blogs, I am having a hard enough time just keeping them in their pen where they belong.

For the life of me, I just CAN’T wrap my brain around putting three of them out on tethers in a giant patch of poison ivy without SOME kind of disaster!

So here I sit with a small poison ivy rash on my right hand…And I gotta tell you, I am a bit terrified by it this time around…You see, after I laid poor old Murray to rest, I had to pee REALLY bad…And I am right handed!

Doug Alley

About Doug Alley

I grew up in Bath, Maine in an upper lower class family with 3 step sisters, a step brother, and a little sister. After high school I spent 3 years serving in the USAF at Elmendorf AFB in Anchorage AK. I've competed in, and won, demolition derbies. I've competed in, and never won, stock car races. I am the 47-year-old father of an 11-year-old boy who is pretty sure he is smarter than I ever was. We live on a little less than an acre of land in a 1973 mobile home in Stetson with my wife Jen, some cats, a few chickens, and rabbits, and a couple of goats. I hunt, fish, camp out, dabble in photography, gardening, and I cook in variable degrees of near success.