In February of 2009, my husband and I bought our first home located on a few acres in Johnson, Vermont. We live here with our dog, Ollie, two cats: Elvis and Atticus, six Nigerian Dwarf goats: May, Chutney, Poppy, Juniper, Willow, and Jokers Wild, and about fifteen laying hens. And to top it all off we welcomed our daughter, Isabel, into the world on January 11th, 2011.

We're slowly updating our 1850's farmhouse while steadily working towards a healthy, meaningful, self-sufficient life together.

This blog details our endeavors along with our successes and failures- all in good fun. Thanks for stopping by, hope to see you again soon!


May and I enjoying some sunshine
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Itcy itchy!!

Lovingly Posted by Melissa Saturday, April 10, 2010

So yesterday I mentioned that I was getting 'itchy' about the garden.  Well, today I'd like to talk about a different kind of itchy-ness. 

I'm not sure if I've mentioned it before, but I am very sensitive to poison ivy.  Unfortunately for me, I love kayaking and bringing our dogs down to the river across the road from our house and (as I'm sure you are aware) poison ivy just loves river banks.  It is way too early for poison ivy to be growing right now so Kyle and I happily paraded the pups down for an afternoon swim last weekend. So, on Sunday, when I found an itchy red bump on my ankle my first thought was that it was a bug bite.  Monday I awoke to more of the little red blisters on my neck, Tuesday I had a small patch next to my nose, and by Wednesday the bumps on my neck were spreading up onto my chin.  Lets just say that by Thursday I was throwing everything in the wash from my pillowcase to my jacket.

It may suprise you to know (it sure suprised the heck out of me) that you can get the irritating oil from this plant from more than just the leaves.  Thats right, you can even get it from the roots!  So, word of warning: if you are working in an area where poison ivy resides, even if you don't see any, wear gloves.  The oil can last for a long time on just about anything so you can keep reinfecting yourself through your shoes, your clothing, even your dog if he came in contact with any.  So always wash off anything and everything as soon as you can after coming in contact with this plant.  I've inserted a photo of what poison ivy looks like.  (Photo of Poison Ivy from Missouri River Institute's Online Field)

I'm not the only one suffering from a bit of discomfort lately.  The girls in the barn have some unwelcome guests.  A couple nights ago, while we were all down at the garden, I was checking Chutney to see if she was starting to shed yet and found lice.  The poor girl is bursting at the seams with her baby bump and come to find she's been itchy as heck from these darn parasites.  And of course, if one goat has something the other just has to have it, too.  May has been so itchy that she's taken to rolling on the ground, which I thought was just humorous goat behavior, but now I know better.  So I stopped by Johnson Farm and Garden last night and pick up a bag of diatomaceous earth.  A little sprinkle here, a little sprinkle there, and a big sprinkle throughout the barn (just in case) and hopefully these suckers will be gone in a few days. (Enlarged photo of lice by the University of Kentucky)

FYI!  If you have the same problem please do not use the diatomaceous earth that you got for your swimming pool, ok?  That stuff has been tampered with and not only will it not kill any bugs, it's also very dangerous to inhale.  Not that you want to inhale any DE, but this stuff is laced with chemicals so its worse.  Only get food or garden grade DE for treating external parasites.

Happy spring!