By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
This spring hazards get me
A Woman's View
Judi Tabler color mug

A creek runs behind our house. There’s trees and brush along the creek, and many native animals live there. Our neighbors have recently cleaned up an area to make it enjoyable for their family, as a walking path, a place of beauty. After they completed the cleanup, they left piles of branches for the little rabbits, raccoons, and so on. Basically, the area is greatly improved for man and beast.

Our dog, Piper, has discovered this once hidden (to her) area along the creek. She has discovered the flowing creek, and likes to jump in and swim. (Of course, she does the “dog paddle.”) The song “How you gonna keep them down on the farm, once they have seen Pareee?” certainly applies to Piper. She knows it’s there, beckoning her to sniff and explore.

Meanwhile, we had forgotten about the “evil doer” that lives in these wooded areas at this time of year. The “doer” is quiet and hides, but it attacks some of us with unrelented proof of its presence. It is not leafed out yet, but is still powerful in its attack.

What is that sinister threat? Have you guessed? It is Poison Ivy. It might be Poison Oak. I am not savvy enough to know the difference. I have run into this irksome plant before and discovered that this plant doesn’t need to touch my skin. The oil can linger on clothes, personal items, even shoes. Touch that oil, and well... guess what?

It got me. The little itchy pimples are spread out, but everywhere. I have some on my neck, my face, my wrist, my legs. 

I suspect that the villain who has given this little gift to me is Piper. I pet her, hug her and don’t always remember to wash my hands, or my face after being with her. 

Steroid shots in the past have helped greatly. But there are home remedies if it is not severe. If it gets worse, I will go to my FD (favorite doc). 

Now that we are heading into leafing time, I won’t stop petting Piper. But I will get wiser. I will wash my hands and arms immediately after petting her.

Right now, “Fels Naphtha” bar-soap suds are dried and caked on my face. I think it is helping with the itching. Apple Cider vinegar is another popular treatment, which supposedly and mysteriously dries up the “urushiol.” Urushiol is the name of the wicked oil that gets on skin.

Urushiol. New vocabulary word.

Our wild flowers have some renegades in them too, but we burned last year’s stubble. Remember, poison ivy does not need direct touch. If it rubs on your jeans, and you touch your jeans, then the oil, the urushiol, touches your skin. Voila! Skin rash.

One of the tips says to wash every item I touched several days ago when obviously, I came in contact with PI. Oh sure. Do you remember everything you touched days ago? Guess I will wash my shoes, jeans, etc. etc. and just hope for the best.

In the meantime, itch, itch. Don’t scratch. Ha.

Judi Tabler lives in Pawnee County and is a guest columnist for the Great Bend Tribune. She can be reached at