Sunday, April 05, 2009

yet another thing to which I am allergic, I guess

My yard was totally infested with a plant called bedstraw (Galium species, for you botanists. I think it's probably Galium aparine but I don't feel like checking the books right now).

I knew if I tried to mow - especially with my hippy-dippy reel mower (which actually works really well on my lawn, except for the bedstraw), it would just mat down and then spring back up. Bedstraw had these little curved hairs on it, it's kind of like Velcro, it sticks to itself and to everything else.

I didn't want to poison it - for one thing, I have wild orchids and windflower and a few other nifty things that have naturalized in my lawn that I'd rather not kill. And besides, one of the tiny ways I can "be green" is by not using chemicals on my lawn - I have a tiny little lawn and if I stay on top of it, I don't need to do chemicals. (And honestly, come August - when we've had six weeks of drought - my lawn looks better than those of my neighbors).

It struck me that my lawn is two, 10' by about 20' segments. Small enough to PULL the darn stuff out of it. (After all, that's how I'd control it if it got into my flower garden). So after lunch today, I went out with a bucket and started pulling.

Pulling works REALLY well. The bedstraw is all gone now. My lawn looks super better. I won't even have to mow for a little while yet - the only tall thing was the bedstraw. And I got rid of a few juniper seedlings that had come in (juniper is a terrible weed tree here).

Then I went in. And I realized my hands were itching and burning. And that my eye itched.

I checked out the eye in the mirror - it was kind of windy and I was concerned something had blown into it.

And I found I (once again) had something that looks scary (and disgusting) but really isn't that serious - an allergic corneal blister. (I think my eye doctor referred to it as a "vesicle"). It's swelling on the surface of the eye - sort of like eczema on the eyeball.

It's uncomfortable (and freaky looking - if you really want to see an example, go here but don't say I didn't warn you) but I've been assured by more than one doctor that it's not dangerous and that it will just go away on its own. (not dangerous because it only occurs after known exposure to allergens, and it has always gone away on its own before)

Luckily, I had one tablet of Claritin left (I guess I need to run to the drugstore sometime) and I put some jewelweed cream I had on my hands, which helped.

But it really is not fair - my career is in botany and it seems that every year I find yet another plant that makes my immune system freak out.

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