Nooooo…..that’s not poison ivy!

I remember my first day of kindergarten like it was yesterday.  And believe me, it wasn’t yesterday.  I was looking forward to it but somewhat anxious as well.  That morning my mother took me to the school and I watched as the children assembled.  Most of them looked nervous, some were crying and there was one little kid who was throwing up. Not a pretty scene. 

As the school bell rang and the teacher escorted us into the classroom the crying reached a higher pitch.  Now I was really starting to get nervous.  What did those kids know that I didn’t know?  I made eye contact with a little girl with long dark blond curls.  She sat there quietly and smiled a little smile at me.  I attempted a little smile in return.  I found out later that her name was Linda and we became friends.

A couple of weeks later Linda invited me over her house for lunch and her mother packed us a little picnic lunch to take outside.  Linda thought it would be fun to climb up the hill in her back yard and eat up there.  So up we trudged through the trees and bushes…up, up and up and until we reached a small clearing of sorts.  Linda thought that would be a good place to have our picnic.

I stood there ankle deep in ivy and looked down at our proposed picnic spot.  “Isn’t this poison ivy?” I asked somewhat alarmed.  “No….that’s not poison ivy!  That’s just plain old ivy.  I play up here all the time and I’ve never gotten poison ivy, ” Linda said.  Well, being just a yound child, I didn’t know that some people got poison ivy and some people didn’t.  And if Linda said this wasn’t poison ivy, that was good enough for me.

Leaves of three...let it be.

Leaves of three…let it be.

So we sat down and had a delightful picnic lunch.  The itching started by the time I got home that afternoon.  I was covered with poison ivy from head to toe.  My mother kept saying “Don’t scratch, don’t scratch!”  She pulled out the brown soap and started running bath water for me.  My grandfather, her father, said “Don’t do that.  I know something that will take care of that poison ivy.  He took my hand and said “We’re going for a walk.” 

So my mother, grandfather and I headed off down the street.  We headed toward the woods that was around the corner from our house.  As we approached the edge of the woods I could see some patches of poison ivy.  But I could also see plants with little orange flowers that were growing right next to the poison ivy.



My grandfather went up to those plants with the little orange flowers and pulled one up by the roots.  The plant was fairly tall…maybe 3 feet or more.  He took out his pocket knife, sliced the stem into about 6 inch pieces and then sliced the stem lengthwise.  He gave one of these pieces to my mother and he took one and started rubbing that open stem on my poison ivy.  My mother started to do the same with the piece she had.  By the time we left the woods my poison ivy had its first application of jewelweed.

Jewelweed Close-Up

Jewelweed Close-Up

We took a good supply of jewelweed home with us which my grandfather immediately put in a bucket of water.  The stem of the jewelweed plant has a jelly like substance.  When that jelly is applied to poison ivy it has a cooling effect.  It felt so good! 

Jewelweed Stem

Jewelweed Stem

I had a couple more applications of jewelweed before I went to bed that night.  The itching had lessened considerably.  The next day I had several more applications and by the end of that day the poison ivy rash was pretty much gone.  A miracle!  My grandfather was such a smart man! 

I have lots of poison ivy on my property now but I also have jewelweed.  I don’t pull it out, I just let it grow.  You never know when you might need it; there are soaps and lotions and sprays available with jewelweed in it, but heck, I have the real thing.  And the hummingbirds love those orange flowers.

Graycie continues to do well.  She is a “morning cat”.  You’ve heard of “morning people”?  Well she’s a “morning cat”.  After breakfast she runs around the house, looks to jump on all the high pieces of furniture and sneak into every tight spot she can.  Thankfully, she does mellow out as the day progresses and by mid-afternoon she’s usually sleeping on my lap, if my lap is available.

Graycie Sleeping on My Lap

Graycie Sleeping on My Lap

And speaking of cats, today I published my third annual Etsy “Cats At Work” treasury as a Labor Day salute to all our hard working feline friends who pose as models and props for beautiful Etsy photos.

Cats At Work....2013

Cats At Work….2013

Unfortunately, the picture above is just that, a picture of my monitor screen.  If you’d like to see the live treasury, you can click here:

For those of you who are not familiar with Etsy and don’t know what a “treasury” is, it’s a grouping of 16 items for sale from different shops.  Any Etsy member can make a treasury, and usually there is some theme to the grouping. 

Many of the cats featured in this treasury belong to the shop owners…some of the cats’ names are WeSa, Frankie, Ginger, Henry, Jingle Bell, Gracie, Minka and that’s Dexter with the doll head. 

I applaud all of you beautiful, hard-working cats!


3 thoughts on “Nooooo…..that’s not poison ivy!

  1. KerryCan

    I had NO idea about jewelweed! That is worth cultivating, just in case. One of my cats used to ramble and get poison ivy oil on her fur and then cuddle up next to me in bed. I’d have a rash on my leg all summer!


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