Monday, July 8, 2013

Here a Pushki, There a Pushki, Everywhere a Pushki

It looks harmless enough

They call it Cow Parsnip, Indian Celery, or Pushki.  (pronounced poosh-kee, which is the Russian term for it, and how most people refer to it around here)  I'd never heard of it until we got to Kodiak.  Probably because it lives everywhere in the U.S. except the Gulf coast - where I've lived for the last 15 years.  It's also prevalent in Alaska, especially Kodiak.  Hell, I know all about it now, unfortunately.  

It's a little intense. - Kind of like an extreme version of poison ivy.  It's basically a tall, flowering plant in the parsley family, but its little hairs and juices contain a phototoxin that reacts upon contact with the skin.  See?  Phototoxin?  What the hell, right?  It's triggered by exposure to sunlight and causes a pretty intense rash.  Almost looks like burn blisters and it's terribly itchy.  (Satan's Parsley?  Just a garnish.)  Hubby and I were spared, but Poor Cheety is all too familiar with it now.  

Poor Pugbull - This is nothing!  
This is before it even really got going.  
It was even more swollen, raw & red after
 a day.  He looked like he had two noses.
His introduction to his new island home has been a little rough!  We went hiking the second day we were here, where he had a complete doggie blast, but then he came into contact with some Pushki when he was snuffling around.  We didn't realize it until the next day because he didn't show any signs of irritation right away.  Needless to say, we've barely been here a week, and we've already had to see the vet.  He's doing okay - Benadryl & antibiotics to the rescue once again.  It should clear up within a week or so, but by the second day, he was not a happy pooch.  I won't go into gross detail,  but at the height of the rash, it wasn't pretty.  It's dried out and not swollen anymore, & he's on the mend, poor boy.  

The trick is going to be avoiding it in the future.  Too bad it's freaking everywhere, and it's at its peak in July and August.  I don't know how people let their dogs run around off leash on these trails without having Pushki problems. So far, I've seen at least two dogs running around off-leash on some of the trails that are full of it.

It was a steep learning curve, but it's not going to stop us from hiking. - We'll just have to be super vigilant with where he's exploring, and no way is he going off leash on the trails.  I'm a little over the top though, keeping an almost 5 foot radius around any I see!  (You would too if you saw that mess on his nose.)  At least it's easy to spot, but I sort of wish there was a vaccine!  Anti-Pushki?  

We went on another non-Pushki hike on the 4th of July, and it was beautiful.  It was fun, and our little trot around took the urge to itch off the boy's mind.  We checked out a popular spot called Pillar Mountain.  Easy to see why it's popular. - Gorgeous views of the island.

A different, non-tropical type of view 
than what the Cheetster is used to!

That's the runway at the airport & the Coast Guard base behind me

It was a quick little hike, and we decided it was hands down the coldest 4th of July either one of us has ever had.  Somewhere around 56 degrees.  In the middle of the afternoon.  In July.  Let that settle for a minute.  Granted, it felt like summer and was really nice the day before. - Mid-60's and beautiful.  But wearing jeans and a jacket on the 4th of July?  That was a first for me!  

Hmmmm.  Might be time to get on board with this whole cold weather thing.  We'll call it re-familiarization.  Re-indoctrination?  Cold weather isn't a foreign concept to me being born and raised in NY, but I have to admit that 56 degrees on the 4th of July was quite the wake up call.  I can't really think about conditions in February.  I'm not ready.  But the good news?  Pushki is dead in the winter!  Nevertheless...

RIP flip-flops. 

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