Thu 4/30/09

A Daily Walk With DietPower

Walking is the best exercise for weight loss. And the things you see!

Poison ivy on utility polePoison ivy has sprung to life on this utility pole at the corner of King and Birch streets, a popular place to post signs for lost dogs, yard sales, and the like. Judging from the profusion of nails and staples, I'd say the pole must have served that purpose for at least two generations. I wonder how many unsuspecting advertisers have later found their hands and arms erupting with a maddeningly itchy rash.


Poison ivy contains an oil, called urushiol (uh-ROO-she-all), to which most people are allergic. Folk cures for the rash are abundant. My mother used to claim that a friend who was extremely sensitive to the plant ("she couldn't even walk past it") finally prepared and ate a sandwich of poison-ivy leaves between two slices of white bread spread with Miracle Whip—and was immune to the plant ever after.

After hearing the legend of Evelyn and the Poison Ivy Sandwich all my life, one day I decided to research it. The medical literature said that in fact, eating poison ivy not only won't confer immunity, but may kill you.

How, then, did Evelyn survive? My theory is that she mistakenly made her sandwich from the leaves of Virginia creeper, a remarkably similar plant. Like poison ivy, Virginia creeper climbs trees and has shiny red leaves that turn green as spring deepens into summer. Often, you see the two vines climbing the same tree. They are easy to distinguish if you count the number of leaves in a cluster: Poison ivy has three, Virginia creeper five. Hence the ungrammatical adage, "Leaves of three; leave it be!"

Help me Choose the Picture of the Month

to tell me your favorite picture and caption from the April links below. I'll report the winner tomorrow.

Download DietPower and lose poundsAbout this page: Precisely at noon each day, I step out of my office for a 3.5-mile walk around my Connecticut neighborhood. I carry a Panasonic Lumix DMC-TX5 pocket camera with a Leica 10x optical zoom lens. My object is to make an interesting photograph of at least one thing that is different that day. I post the results here, hoping they will inspire you and your friends to walk, too.  Terry Dunkle, DietPower founder and CEO.

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All My Yesterdays

Wednesday, April 29: The Very Picture of Spring

Tuesday, April 28: A Busy Bumblebee

Monday, April 27: Electric Pink

Sunday, April 26: Saturday Night Special

Saturday, April 25: An Old Oak Falls

Friday, April 24: How an Ant Sees a Daffodil

Thursday, April 23: The Nameless Brook

Wednesday, April 22: Weeding Time

Tuesday, April 21: Wet Apple Buds

Monday, April 20: Mr. Allen and the Crew Team

Sunday, April 19: Bloodroot II

Saturday, April 18: Green Jellybeans

Friday, April 17: Bloodroot

Thursday, April 16: Skunk Cabbage III

Wednesday, April 15: Find the Critter

Tuesday, April 14: Blessing of the Animals

Monday, April 13: The Crow Who Said "Wow!"

Sunday, April 12: A Quirky Church

Saturday, April 11: Self-Portrait in a Pothole

Friday, April 10: Easter flowers

Thursday, April 9: Dumb as a Squirrel

Wednesday, April 8: April Snow

Tuesday, April 7: Egg Trees, Connecticut Style

Monday, April 6: I Carry My Lunch

Sunday, April 5: A Tree in Spring

Saturday, April 4: Pigs with Drivers Licenses

Friday, April 3: Forsythia

Thursday, April 2: Skunk Cabbage II

Wednesday, April 1: Mystery of the Hanging Shoes

Tuesday, March 31: Downy Woodpecker

Monday, March 30: 300-Year-Old House

Sunday, March 29: The Broken Fence

Saturday, March 28: "You're Such a Delight"

Friday, March 27: Skunk Cabbage

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