The “Beautiful” Ivy…is Poisonous!

September 26, 2017

Sometimes, the most beautiful things can be the deadliest in nature. Case in point? All of the local wives around here that take turns watching all of the kids can all give you a few tales of poison ivy causing more than enough stress to last a lifetime. Just last week, we went on a nature hike that gave more than a few of us mild to severe cases of poisonous ivy that was absolutely no fun. The hard part about it all is that it is not that easy to ascertain what is poison ivy and what is not.

green leaves


At first, we just thought it was normal itching and scratching from running in the woods and being in nature. The same goes with the red skin. But when we all got back home, the red rash appeared and the itchiness intensified to a point where we knew it had to be a case of poison ivy. It seemed like all of the kids had it and we at once begin looking for some home remedies to try out. As it turns out, we all seemed to have a few we wanted to try and so we did. Of course, not all of them were as effective as others, but by and large, they all helped alleviate the pain and blotchiness to some degree.


Did you know that poison ivy grows just about everywhere in America? It also grows in parts of Mexico, Asia, and Canada, so it is truly a worldwide problem. Now I know that I should always be on the lookout for the tell-tale leaves that are always three-pointed. During the spring, these leaves can even take on a slightly reddish tint, while during the summer they are green, and yellow, orange, or red during the fall.


How Does Poison Ivy Spread?


Nearly 85% of the people that come into contact with poison ivy have a reaction to the oil it releases called urushiol, which can easily be spread to other people. It’s so darn pesky because it can stick to nearly anything from shoes to clothes, tools to pets. It even can be transferred from a cell phone to any object and anywhere on the plant that you touch – from the stem to the root – can cause a reaction. Having said that, here are some of the best ways to get rid of a rash should you need to fight it off.


Wearing Proper Clothes



If you know that you are going into an area that potentially may be home to poison ivy, you should dress accordingly and cover as much of your skin as you possibly can. That includes wearing:


Shirts that are long-sleeved

Pants tucked into socks



Rubber Gloves

Shoes that are closed-toed

Rinse, Lather, Repeat


If you have been exposed to poison ivy, you have to act fast and rinse your skin with rubbing alcohol and soapy water at least an hour after coming into contact in order to remove all of the possible urushiols that can cause the rashes to develop. At the very least, rinsing and rubbing alcohol will reduce the severity of your poison ivy exposure.


As soon as you have washed your body, you need to wash everything that came into contact with the plant. Urushiol can remain on clothes and objects for years, so if you don’t act fast, it will only return until you rid all of your belongings of it.

Placing the Hives

September 28, 2017

Well, I have finally taken up a new hobby that most people have probably never even thought of venturing towards – beekeeping. I have had this weird desire to have my own little colony of bees for as long as I could remember since living in the countryside and now I finally have the opportunity to do it right. The payoff is huge if you have the patience for it and once I scouted out locations and did the necessary research, I am not eagerly awaiting the first batch of honey from my colony.


bee house


Of course, there’s more to it than that as it can be quite a complicated process, but once I got into it, I was able to find a great beehive to truly get started. I’ve definitely been bitten by this beekeeping project as of late and know that I have to always remember that finding the right hive placement is crucial to getting a good batch of honey. And if you truly know the benefits of honey, then you know that using it on your hair with the help of shower heads is also a great idea. Anyway, a few guidelines are good to know if you are looking to get started, so I thought I would share my tips and experiences here with everyone.


Bees Are Adaptable


There’s a reason why you see bees all over the world. They are able to live just about anywhere, no matter the conditions. So whether you live in the middle of a metropolis or in the countryside like myself, you have the option of being either an urban beekeeper or a rural one. You can even keep hives inside walled gardens. There are even some associations for beekeeping that develop yards for members to grow their own colonies.


Since I live in a rural community, I knew I had carte blanche to do as I pleased because there are no municipalities around me that forbid hives and I have plenty of room to start a colony. Where you place your beehive really depends on you. The hives don’t typically take up so much space and bees will fly maybe a mile away for pollen, water, and nectar, the essentials for a bee diet.

fresh honey


Something that many don’t know is that you don’t have to have flowers all around your yard in order to get started. Of course, this may help matters since bees are pollinators but the most important aspect is that the beehive is elevated from the ground. I decided to build mine in a tiny stand made of wood. It simply made it easier to lift it at the end of the day as it tends to get heavy with honey over time. A few colonies sit on wooden stands but it really doesn’t matter, so long as you find a method that works best for you. A plastic hive stand is a great choice as well since it is sturdy and able to hold all of the hives. Plus, it is easy to transport and lift off the ground.