Yesterday while I was in the yard, I found something stuck to the back of my hand. It resembled a cocoon, black or dark grey, and I didn’t think much of it. I just shook it off, completed my task and started in the house. When my focus was off the task, I discovered my hand was irritated where the thing had been. I looked at it, saw nothing, brushed it, and it hurt! When I looked more closely, the area was covered with teeny-tiny little black hairs that were imbedded in my skin! The descriptive word that hit my mind was “nettles,” although I have not idea where that came from. I have no experience with nettles.
Since they weren’t brushing off, I came in the house, washed the area with soap and water [ouch, ouch, ouch!] then took a soapy fingernail brush and began brushing the area under running water. I was hoping I wasn’t driving them further in, but couldn’t think of a better way to try to remove them, short of using the mega magnifiers I use for crafting and a pair of tweezers. Anyway, it seemed to work. I could find no trace of them, and the area, while tender, didn’t seem to have the remains of whatever-they-were still attached to the skin.
I went about my business the rest of the day, occasionally noticing the tenderness or irritation. It wasn’t terrible, and I honestly didn’t notice it much. But it was still there. The desire to scratch at it was almost overwhelming at times. I read about nettles, and while I’m still not sure what the cocoon-like thing was, I’m believing it might have been some sort of relative to a stinging nettle, although I can’t find a reference to the nettle hairs coming off and balling up as this was.
I live in an area that has stinging nettles, however, so I guess it is possible. Stinging nettles deliver toxins via hairs that grow on the stems. Most of the references I found were about contacting them by touching the plant. Could it be that some animal brushed by a nettle, picked up some of the nettle hairs in their own coat, then shed it? Who knows?
This morning, the area is still itchy and irritated. It is also slightly puffy. I looked again on the internet, and still don’t find anything like that cocoon, but I found some of the remedies to contact with nettles. They include, (1) putting vinegar on it, although that was confusing as one reference said the nettles toxin was acid and the vinegar would neutralize it. So that means I would need to use cider vinegar which is alkaline to neutralize it. However, another source stated that the acid in the vinegar neutralizes the toxin, so that would be white vinegar!!; or (2) using aloe vera juice on it. That took very little thought. I have aloe vera gel, the kind with a little pain relief added to it, so I put that on the spot a little while ago. It seems to be relieving the irritation and itch.
What is it with me? I seem to contact the oddest situations! I wasn’t even out tromping through the woods, but storing some of the tubs I’ve emptied while doing my organizing! Oh, this makes me think .... perhaps I should go see if I can find that thing and carefully put it in the trash. If there are seeds in it, I don’t want it growing here!
Speaking of the work I’m doing on the house, I would say I’m about 2/3 done with my tasks. The problem is that the remaining 1/3-ish is the hardest part. Most of the organizing is done, with everything now moved into the room it belongs and much of it in place. But I still have to make decisions about what to keep and what to let go. If I keep it, it must have a place. If it goes, is it trash or donation to thrift shops in the area?
I’ve already done a lot of getting-rid-of [three large bags to the dumpster and two tubs of things for “relocation”], but there is much more to do. I am just amazed at what has been accumulated. After moving here, I had the big sale and cleared out a lot. I kept very little that didn’t have a purpose or place at the time [mostly sentimental stuff], yet my belongings have grown. A cute skirt, a fun little picture, a sweet piece of pottery, one at a time. And now .... gah! Over four years, make that cute skirt times 10, and the pottery times 14, etc.! Really, what I have brought into the house has been 90% useful items, but they are extra, nonetheless. Even knowing I’m doing this, I brought home a couple pieces of pottery for the kitchen on Thursday!
I’ve made an agreement with myself. I will keep a Rubbermaid tub on the deck and if I buy anything new, some item must go into the tub to be donated. It is fun to make these wonderful finds! My kitchen is a delight! When friends come, they always say what fun it is to set a table at my house because of the eclectic mix I have. And my wardrobe.... I get so many compliments on the wonderful clothing I’ve accumulated. But I have to keep some sense about it. The dishes have to fit on the shelves and the clothes in the closet! Therefore, the remainder of the summer will be spent going through closets and drawers and cabinets .... and the tubs of things I took down during this room change. If I find enough for a good rummage sale I will consider that, but since I’m working, my time is limited. Probably best that things be passed on in other ways that don’t consume my precious free moments.
I’m not a minimalist. I’m a collector or fascinating things. But I shudder at the thought of looking like a hoarder!! No, I’m not near that, but still it is time to shake free of a lot of stuff. Hey, here’s an offer .... come help me and you can have what you want of the overflow!! LOL! Hey! Wait!!! You are all running away! I don’t get it!!!