Tag Archives: poison ivy

Spring and Easter in Rincón

Posted by Cassie

In Puerto Rico because it is a tropical environment, many people think that there are not seasons. This is not exactly accurate. While it does stay between 75-85 degrees F year round there are still subtle changes. Because we work outside a lot and we live in a cabin in the middle of the jungle we notice these changes perhaps a bit more than some people. For one thing, many of the plants begin to flower in preparation for fruiting in the summer. One of my favorite flowering plants are the robles (Tabebuia rosea). For about one month these trees add a rose colored hue to everything including the ground! It is like living in a pink snow globe especially when you see them softly twirl to the ground.

Cassie with flowers
The trees and I are pink!

Carpet of robles
Roll out the pink carpet!

Turkeys enjoying the changing colors of spring

Rambutan flowers
The rambutan are already flowering! Let’s hope they form fruit!

GrosellasLike this grosella

Papaya markings
The papaya and bananas are constantly producing! I love the way this trunk looks like ancient carving

I think all plants are beautiful in a certain way, but not all of them are friendly! We have been working on clearing around the cabin and replanting with fruiting trees and ornamentals. In doing so we have to clear out some pretty mean and nasty stuff like the Puerto Rican poison ivy they call Carrasco that no matter how careful I am, I always somehow manage to get on me. About 2 days after this happens I swell up really bad and start itching uncontrollably. Then my skin erupts in a pus-y mess and then finally scabs over. It is not fun!

Carrasco berries
Spring for the Carrasco plant too! Here is its flower/berry

Another mean plant are the wild bromeliads. While beautiful they have the most vicious spikes on them. I have many pokes and stings from these bad boys. They are very difficult to eradicate from an area. We just threw them over the fence line. They would make a good living fence because no one would want to walk through these!

Bromeliad Spikes
Wild bromeliad and its thorny weaponry

Side yard
Side of the cabin that we cleared of bromeliads and other brush and have begun to replant

When we’re not enjoying spring in the jungle, we have been out with friends at various events including the Stand Up Paddleboard race, and Spring/Easter parties. The 2017 tourist season was a little slow, but that doesn’t mean the partying was. One thing about living in Rincón (and I think Puerto Rico in general) is that there is never a shortage of parties! It’s a good-time island. We have to consciously choose which events to go to and which not because we’ll never get anything done around the property otherwise!

Villa Cofresi
Villa Cofresí and her famous piratas during the SUP contest

Logan Britton Chris Karen C B Sage
Fun times with friends!

On Easter weekend we went to a friend’s farm in Aguada and set up a campground. We sang songs around the campfire and toasted marshmellows and relaxed. The fireflies came out and danced alongside us. It was truly magical!

Road to Toms jungle
Road through the woods to the campsite

Camp in jungleCampsite by day

And by night (thanks Daisy for this pic)

Easter we had a wonderful time with a variety of friends!

Van Ees
The Van Ees

Slip n slide (2) Easter chicken
So much fun! Slip-sliding away…even with chickens!

Cassie and Britton easter
¡Felices Pascuas!

Beach party
And another party at the beach!

So yes, there is a spring in Puerto Rico even if it isn’t quite as pronounced as up north. Everything is in bloom, the birds and insects start mating more, the rains begin to come more regularly, the temperature and humidity go up a little and the ocean warms up just a bit. In Rincón the northern tourists leave and the local Puerto Rican tourists start arriving. I hope we can continue playing music through this summer, but if not, come check us out at our next show this Saturday at Willie’s Bar and Grill in the marina!

Rincon Continentals poster
Rincón Continentals Live

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Beware of Carrasco: Puerto Rico’s Poison Ivy

Posted by Cassie

A friend of ours recently posted a warning similar to this title. Shortly thereafter, we were working in the area under our newly found avocado tree and we spotted the tell-tale leaves. They are holly-like lined with spikes. The plants can grow small or long and almost resemble a viney tree.

Comocladia Dodonaea

I was careful of handling it, but then a small amount touched my leg. I expected a painful burn like the stinging nettles we also have in the yard. But no, there was nothing at all. No sensation whatsoever. I was relieved. I had expected either a pokey burn or perhaps to swell up with hives as I do when I touch sunflower plants. So I thought perhaps I was one of the lucky ones that does not react to Urushiol, the plant oil in poison ivy, poison oak, poison sumac, and Carrasco, this Puerto Rican poison ivy. We continued working without much thought again about the plant and cleared a nice sized area.

However, about two-three days later I started noticing rashes appearing in certain places, then more places. On my forehead, on my arms, on my hands, on my belly, on my back, all over my legs. I was covered in red welts. The next day they blistered up and then started oozing. They were super itchy and I sometimes just couldn’t help myself but to scratch them. I tried every ointment and remedy I could find. Hydrocortizone cream, anti-itch cream, turmeric, zinc oxide and cocoa butter.

Poison Ivy

Of these, the zinc oxide was probably the most effective but really, I just had to wait it out. After about a week, they had lost the inflammation and started to scab and heal. Working outside in the jungle is a lot of fun and hard physical work. It is difficult to want to wear a lot of clothing when it is 80-85 degrees and high humidity, but if you see this plant, beware! I certainly will be much more careful the next time I do! Thankfully, it is not widespread like some of the other jungle discomforts (like the biting ants).

Urushiol, the active compound in the plant’s sap can be neutralized with rubbing alcohol.

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