Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Danger Zone

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Green growth is bursting at breakneck speed everywhere we turn this time of year. As much as I dream of letting nature have its way to grow unhindered, experience reveals a number of ways intervention offers room for improvement. Pruning becomes a responsibility, really, to offset the alternative look of neglect.

After enlisting the professional help of tree trimmers to prune and fell trees on our 20 acres, I have an endless amount of clean-up to do in their wake. Historically, I have failed to keep up with the felled lumber that hired help has scattered around our forest floor so I am striving to change that this time.

My effort started with the large willow tree that was first on the list of trees needing attention this spring and which got pruned to a much greater degree than I expected.

Yesterday, I worked to finish cutting up and splitting the last of the large branches scattered beneath the tree after the pruners were finished. The closer I got to completing the effort of clearing the tangle of branches and limbs laying around the trunk of the tree, the more obvious it became that I was working in a danger zone of poison ivy.









The shiny leaves of three with a tinge of redness in the early period of sprouting were everywhere beneath this willow. Everything that I picked up had a high probability of having been in contact with the dreaded rash-inducing plants but I was knee-deep and hours long into the project so I decided to just keep going.

With extra consciousness to quit reaching my gloved hands up to my face, I forged ahead cutting, splitting, and stacking limbs in the woodshed for drying.

It felt a little insane to be plodding back and forth in growth that was filled with so much poison ivy but I decided it was a risk I needed to face to complete the bigger task at hand. It feels great to have the ground around the tree entirely picked up after the pruning. Now I only have twenty or thirty others left deserving similar treatment.

Thankfully, there aren’t any others surrounded by as much poison ivy as this willow.

At the end of my many outdoor projects, I carefully got out of my clothes and piled them in the basement to be laundered and then hit the shower with special oil-busting soap that I lathered and lathered in hopes of surviving the danger with minimal reaction.

I can hope that I wasn’t breathing aerosolized particles of the oil during the tree branch cutting and clearing efforts. My body doesn’t have a good history of inhaling the irritating essence of poison ivy.



Written by johnwhays

May 22, 2022 at 10:08 am

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