The Wild Side - Letters from the Headwaters

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Greetings from the Headwaters of the Buffalo River. We have lived here for 27 years. The info in the series of articles you will be receiving has been hard won, tried and tested. These ditties will be divided into seasons. Starting with “Spring” which I think has “sprung”.

The first topic is “Poison Ivy”. This really is a 365, 24/7 plant that everyone, whether you are sensitive or not, needs to be able to identify in all seasons. It is just as potent in winter as it is in summer. Poison ivy is very prevalent in all parts of Arkansas and really in all eastern states. When you lay your bike down, sit on that nice rock, or lean against that tree to stare out at the awesome winter view along the South Bench trail be aware that all those 6 to 8” twigs sticking up all around you and possibly that vine crawling up the tree you are leaning on probably is poison ivy.

Lesson: choose carefully where you park your bottom and your bike. You can get ivy from sap that got on your bike, your dog, or friend next to you (who may not even be sensitive).

Now that you are concerned, let me tell you how to deal with it from experience. There is a homeopathic formula that you can get very reasonably, take right now, and it will build immunity in your system to poison ivy and poison oak. It can be found online or at any good natural foods store. There are several options, but the one I like is by Hyland. This one is good because it comes in a little pill form and you can carry it around in your pocket while you are taking it, which for me helps me not forget. I take a whole bottle each early spring and it keeps me from getting it. If for some reason extreme exposure happens keep an extra bottle around and take at the first signs. It will go away pretty fast. If for some unthinkable reason, you forget to do the spring dose and get the ivy bad, not to worry. Start taking the formula just like it tells you on the bottle and usually within 24hrs you will get relief. Start the year out with extra bottles on hand for sensitive members of your family. Having a bottle of Jewel weed tea in the fridge is another wonderful relief giver. Usually available at natural food stores or online. Also, never burn wood with ivy vine on it.

What next? How about creepy, crawly, biting, itchy, bugs! We are absolutely blessed with a wonderful period when being outside in the Ozarks is fairly bug free. You might run across a tick, but if you try to avoid animal trails this is even uncommon. Then, there is the rest of the year that you want to be out there.

The first real pest of the year is the bull gnat, which were already biting me in the garden right before this cold spell. We make an essential oil bug spray with oils that have been used forever by man. Two formulas. I have mine, he has his. First his - 2 oz. mist bottle, water, essential oils of sweet orange, lemon eucalyptus, peppermint, Texas cedar wood and lavender. Put a little water in the bottom of mister, add 5 drops of each essential oil and fill with water. Shake well every time you use it. Spray all exposed skin and around shoes. This will periodically have to be refreshed. You may find it handy to make this in a pint-sized bottle and just keep it on hand.

Now mine. I like a combo of water and vinegar. Vinegar feels refreshing, neutralizes your skin PH and kills bugs on contact. For me, making a pint bottle up the first time the bites show up just makes life easier. Recipe – pint bottle, 1 cup water, 1 cup apple cider vinegar, 1 teaspoon alcohol (this can be rubbing or vodka, I like vodka, who doesn't). My recipe uses all the essential oils that have ever been suggested for all creepy crawlies, external and internal. The more the merrier. To your pint bottle add 3 drops each of, lemon, lavender, eucalyptus, peppermint, citronella, sweet orange, Texas cedar wood, rosemary, and thyme.  Then add a drop of Cinnamon and clove bud. Also, a half teaspoon vanilla. Mosquitoes do not like vanilla. Shake well and pour in your mister. 4 oz. misters fit nicely in a pocket or pack. Make sure to keep up with the little top that goes over the misting part to prevent damage and leaks.

If you want to know how wonderful all these essential oils are we suggest to google them. We highly recommend a good knowledge of essential oils for health and well-being. We hope you have fun outdoors!

Your neighbors at the Upper Buffalo,

Suzanne and Perry Hayes

Suzanne and Perry Hayes have been residents of the Headwaters community for over 27 years. The OORC is excited to feature experiences learned from our friends in the Headwaters. Look for another article this summer.

Last modified onTuesday, 04 April 2017 16:00