I may be one of the few people to have been hit with a whopping case of poison ivy twice in the off-season -- once in October while doing some trail clearing with the Barnstable Land Trust, and again in late December while walking mindlessly through the woods, happily picking little bits of things to bring home and put in a vase. Trust me when I tell you that even though you can't see the telltale three-leaves (so pretty in the fall!), it still packs a mighty punch when you pick a branch of dried-up poison ivy berries and don't wash your hands afterward. As a kid I used to feel very superior to my sisters (who would blow up like balloons and miss whole days of school after coming in contact with the stuff) because I never really got it very badly. I guess the motto is that pride goeth before a fall. Or maybe it's "walk softly, and stop carrying sticks home from the woods." From now on I'll just take pictures of the prettier sticks -- here are a few from my walk this morning along with a few other sights.