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Dog in a Barn

Sunday, June 23, 2013

The interior. Oh my gosh. As lovely as it was in winter (above), it’s killing me in summer. Cowpies of indeterminate age spackle the floor.  I find a little liniment bottle tucked into a corner, tucked the way you would keep a bottle you don’t want to throw out. 

 Chet thinks there have been mice there, and he stands for a long time, huffing the mysterious scents. 

Surely something brought the moss and sticks here.  I look at this muscular little dog and admire his thighs for perhaps the thousandth time. 

Note the marks on these hand-hewn sandstone blocks. Here in Ohio, we take such blocks for granted, most of the time not thinking about the epic struggle of making them with hand tools. 

I love his thighs. I can’t imagine owning a dog so furry you couldn’t see the delineation of every muscle, run your hands over that warm sculpture. I never tire of watching him trot just in front of me, watching those legs clicking off the miles like clockwork.

The mystery windows, black frames around summer's springing lushness. A coil of poison ivy, like a hangman's loop, furry and creepy. 

We go out to gaze at the siding and I grin again at the traces of someone long ago, trying to stop the vines. Well, good luck with that. New recruits on the way! Go ahead and chop us. We’ll make more.

A pitched battle against massive poison ivy vines appears to have ended in victory for the farmer. Chopping with an axe, he stopped them cold. The vine leaves bas-relief graffiti that nobody dares touch, even decades later.

 I wonder about poison ivy, a lot. Why? Why should this plant be so heavily armed? What’s it got to protect? Are its leaves delicious? Its fruit? I’ll never know. Twice in my life I’ve had a whole-body case, and I never want that again. The last time I had an outbreak, I popped tiny homeopathic pills all day long for several days, and it simply went away without ever blistering . I also have two bars of Fels Naptha soap in waiting. It smells amazing, and is said to quell the itching. I’d love never to find out. 

I'm glad there is someone beating back the darker forces of Nature, keeping this farmstead alive.


...your Sunday posts always seem like little church homilies... only better.

I've seen Bostons here and there, but none are ever as handsome as Chet.

Tell me more about the Fels-Naptha soap! When I think there might be even a 1% chance that I might have touched poison ivy, I come home and mix a vat of bleach and water and scrub myself with it. That seems to be my only reliable defense against it.

Keep some Tecnu on hand too. Robert is highly susceptible to poisons ivy and oak and that stuff works. Breaks down the oils, better than anything.

And lovely barn.

I love dog thighs bodies with their well defined musculature. I had a mini schnauzer ( Macy) who had marvelous physique.
I've gotten poison ivy in the dead of winter off dormant vines, after cutting dead pines. I end up in the ER looking for decadron. The only thing that slows it down.

Posted by Anonymous June 23, 2013 at 6:46 AM

My late mother-in-law used to brew up a tincture of sweet fern at the beginning of the summer season in the Adirondacks to keep on hand. It really worked so well that when neighbors had a poison ivy issue, they would come find her for some. Some old family remedy, but it works. They did lots of wild blackberry and blue berry picking, helped with the poison ivy problem, but not the bears.

Dear Julie,
Thank you again for a lovely post. The photos are striking. I love old barns! And of course Chet. What is the name of the homeopathic pills you popped when you got into poison ivy? I would like to keep some on hand and also tell my friends who live out in the country about them.

Great post. I too love dogs and barns. But no matter what you use to wash off the poison ivy, be sure the water is COLD. Otherwise you'll wash it into your pores and be worse off.

I'm not allergic to poison ivy. One night, after stirring our fire which burned logs wrapped in poison ivy wines all evening, my friend had to get three shots while I ended up with three blisters on one wrist.

I recently recovered from a horrible case of Poison Ivy I contracted while hiking in S. Illinois and wish I'd heard of Fels-Naptha before! Looking like a leper, I was reluctant to go out in public for fear of scaring children! My arms still bear it's marks. Poison Ivy is so prolific that indeed you wonder why it needs to be so evil to survive. I'm glad you mentioned it. John

Posted by Anonymous June 23, 2013 at 5:09 PM

Mike McGrath of "You Bet Your Garden" has always said that the best thing to do when exposed to poison ivy is to wash yourself and the clothes that you were wearing in COLD water -- no soap. He said that soap spreads the oils around, as does hot water.

Another huzzah for TECNU. It is excellent at breaking up poison ivy and any other oil. During field season years ago, I used it to wash away sun block. OKay, not what it was made for, but it works.

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