Posted: July 2, 2010
As a young teenager growing up on a 200-acre lake in Northeastern Illinois, there were a few constants as to how I spent my summers. First and foremost, I would make sure that I tended to my two small businesses: A worm harvesting company that supplied the local resorts and my lawn mowing operation for the elderly neighbors. Then, I would be sure to play baseball or wiffle ball and fish for largemouth bass at least once a day; and, the rest of my time was spent trying to get rid of poison ivy.
I am highly allergic to poison ivy. In fact, one summer I was afflicted with the violent rash and subsequent itching symptoms on eight different occasions. Both of my brothers would play in the woods and literally roll around in the nasty weed and never encounter a problem. On the other hand, I could look for one errant baseball and would be covered with a rash within minutes.
There are a lot of ways to relieve the symptoms from poison ivy. I've tried most of them, including bleach, vinegar or dishwashing detergent. The summer when I experienced the most episodes of poison ivy, I walked around the ball diamond featuring a white, pasty cream that was supposed to alleviate the itchiness. That only worked until I began to sweat.
As I explore some of the portions of my backyard that have been ignored over the past two years, I am finding a number of poison ivy plants. So far, I have not come in contact with the weed, but I remember that famous phrase that I did not adhere to as a teenager: "Leaves of three, let it be ".
May your summer be full of fun without poison ivy -what I consider the least welcome sign of summer.
FOLLOW-UP: Thanks to all that offered suggestions on how to rid my waterfront property of geese. I finally solved the problem - using a yellow rope about three feet high supported by a cheap wire fence. It's not the most asthetically pleasing method, but I feel more comfortable walking in my backyard without having to wear shoes.
* For those who inquired about how to get rid of moles, I had the most success with a product made by Pennsylvania-based Baar. The company produces a soapy liquid when attached to a hose that drives away the grub worms that the moles eat. The active ingredient is castor oil.
REMINDER: There will be no issue of The Bottom Line next week, July 9th, due to the Fourth of July holiday.