Owwee! Stinging Nettles

In the hot humid Michigan climate at the end of summer, you have to do your gardening in the morning or evening if you don’t want to collapse in a pool of sweat. At least that is how it seems to me. This morning I went out to check on the chickens because we’d been away most of the day yesterday. On a whim, I decided to check on the zucchini and see if any of them were ready, and a bushel basket later I’d harvested zukes, tomatoes, peppers, jalapenos, and three pounds of green beans. It always shocks me how the beans keep producing long after you think they are done and ready to pull up.

I was looking through the roma tomatoes for ripe ones hiding behind the vines when I accidentally brushed against a tall weed growing along side. Yow – not another encounter with stinging nettles! I have not learned to recognize these nasties yet and this is the second time I have been attacked. 0905150952The tiny little needles in the stem inject you with a toxin that immediately begins to sting and burn, and last time my palms were still buzzing and stinging by the evening. This time I was very quick to go into the barn and rip off a strip of packing tape to stick to my hand and rip off repeatedly. Hopefully, this removed most of the needles before they could do as much harm.

The stinging site leaves a little hole in my hand, surrounded by a circular swelling. Here, you can see two stings on my thumb. Just had to share that. I think these are worse than bee stings.

Speaking of bees, the morning garden was abuzz with all kinds of bees and even mosquitoes. We don’t get many mosquitoes because we have a big open field and not much standing water to breed them out by the barn. I just ignored most of the buzzing because I don’t expect any bees to get so irritated with me that they’ll sting. A couple times, though, a deep threatening drone startled me and I looked up to see a hummingbird hovering over my head. I don’t think they attack humans, do they?

0905150955The neighbor’s labrador retriever dropped by and I heard them calling him home and a few “Rowr!” warnings coming from Fionn by the house. He doesn’t often have a foreign dog to protect us from. I put both dogs in the house and they are now uncharacteristically sharing a corner of the bed staring out the window at the neighbors in their garden, trying so hard to obey me and keep quiet.

We’ve been in intensive training lately about how to relax even against their better instincts. I’ll write about that another day.

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About bluestempond

Hobby farmer living at Bluestem Pond in Michigan.
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3 Responses to Owwee! Stinging Nettles

  1. Rachel says:

    That’s the thing about nettles, they’re downright evil to touch, but they’re exceptionally nourishing! I buy my nettles dried and processed by someone else and use them for teas and tinctures. Once bitten, twice shy!!!

  2. calmjess says:

    Ouch, I hate stinging nettles! I didn’t know you had to get the needles out, I’ll have to remember that for next time.
    Hummingbirds don’t attack, but they can be very territorial. The might have been trying to scare you away. Or possibly they were hunting – hummingbirds eat insects as well as nectar.

  3. bluestempond says:

    You always teach me new things – thanks! I just made up the nettle tape trick, but it reduced the length of time they bothered me so I think it was relatively successful.

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