Touch that vine and you'll be sick!
No magic beans needed here at The Crooked Little House. If you're looking for a vine to climb up to the giant's castle, you've come to the right place. Imagine taking a wire brush and scrubbing your arms and legs till you remove a layer of skin. Now put on the itchiest wool sweater you can find. That has been my state of existence for the past week, hence the small number of sketches to share, all from a vine I was assured was nothing to fear - Virginia Creepy, I mean Creeper.
Poison ivy, oak and sumac all have plant oils that contain a substance called urushiol, and this is what causes the rash and the itching. Virginia Creeper doesn't have that. But what it does contain in its sap are oxalate crystals. And for some individuals like me, the reaction can be much worse than a mere dose of poison ivy. So after a few days of madness, off I went to see Dr. Joe who had had his own encounter with Virginia Creeper. After a round of prednisone, I am still itching though admittedly not as badly as in the beginning. I guess I'll just have to let it run its course since I'm not willing to take any more steroids. With my jungle scratched arms and bloated face, I appear to be an early Halloween decoration.
So now I know what to avoid in my yard. I'll have to work at keeping the vines down to a minimum. When it gets cooler and I can tolerate bundling up, I'll pull out the poison ivy by the rain barrel. I'll cut back the hideous catbriar that that has been trying to get into the windows through the screens. And I'll wage war on the rest of the Virginia Creeper.
FYI : I have found a great solution for working around these troublesome plants. Take a pair of tube socks and cut off the feet. Pull them up over your arms, from wrists to elbows, then put on gloves. This will assure you total coverage. Now I just need to devise a foolproof way to defrock without touching anything.