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The Gunning House (Glenbrow) will be restored!
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Roderick Grant



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
Posts: 7615

PostPosted: Fri Jun 20, 2014 11:59 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

As damaged as it is, Gunning still looks good. I especially like the last two images showing the stone piers with the windows divided into 7 horizontal bands. An unknowledgible 'restorer' (like the owner of Wildbird) would find it irresistable to 'up-grade' the design by getting rid of the transoms and installing floor to ceiling slabs of glass to wallow in the view. Smith made a more interesting choice that tantalizes with peripheral glimpses.
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Mod mom



Joined: 29 Dec 2013
Posts: 389

PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2014 9:43 pm    Post subject: Update: Reply with quote

Update

Well, it's been almost a month and we believe we are making good progress. Since we took possession in mid June without any landscape maintenance occurring for several years and with the heavy spring rains, we found the property enveloped in weeds: tall grasses as high as your waist, thick stickers and most noxious rampant poison ivy. Our first task was to dig out of the weeds. Donning a disposable hazmat suit, mask and rubber gloves, I attempted to pull the PI by the root so that it would not grow back. My fear was if some were weed whacked into tiny pieces, then those pieces would remain toxic for years to come. LEARN FROM MY MISTAKE: URUSHIOL PERMEATES RUBBER! Uggh! but I'm recovering, although I'll be spending the next couple weeks with long sleeves and covered legs. Lesson learned. The boys purchased a commercial brush cutter (as opposed to a string trimmer) to down the tall grasses and sticker weeds (after an area has been eradicated of poison ivy , of course). I've made some positive findsůstone walkway and pathways where once were tall weeds! (see photos at link below)

One issue that needed immediate attention was the covered walkway from the carport to the main house. It was so dilapidated with dangling roofing and eaten wood that we could not get insurance until it was removed. The bad new was the structure was eaten away from carpenter ants but the good news is the cypress has been salvaged for re-use. (also added photos)

Inside the house, our first task was to remove the ceiling panels so that the structural engineer can fully assess our course of action. Very messy with the original cellulose insulation in most areas and rock mineral insulation elsewhere (except 60s addition with fiberglass). The panels are meticulously labeled to a position for replacement after restoration. I am awaiting the arborists (emerald ash borer took out 5 mature ash trees on the ravine besides house overgrowth), so I can order some PODS to store them while the roof and concrete floor are worked on. One thing is certain, the upper roof where the clerestory windows rest along the flat lower roof will be raised to allow for flashing underneath. When snow begins to melt, it melts against the warm window first with nowhere to go but toward the window. We had insufficient flashing at our noverre Musson house that needed increased flashing to prevent this same issue.

We have found some areas of bad insect damage near where the dining room meets the kitchen-all old, but we expected that. That wood will all need to be replaced. Not major.

The plastic laminate kitchen from the 2nd owners are now history. The only original pieces are the shelves along the stone wall (we're keeping) and 2 large pieces of butcher block that we believe were from the original counter (will be re-used). I posted some photos, please not the colored p-lam cabinet doors will also be replaced with custom wood similar to the original. Right now we only have the one photo and the eldest Gunning daughter's memories to go by.

Wildlife abounds near the house. We see deer and believe the mom & baby are living under some mature pines near the pond. I keep the binoculars in the car so that the kids can watch heron, turtles, gold fish and the 5 large black water snakes that bask in the summer sun across from the water lilies. We've had one evictionůmy brother coaxed 2 turkey vulture chicks out to the roof terrace of the tower and shut up the door so they couldn't make they're way back in. Have you ever heard turkey vulture chicks? We thought there might be some dying aliens living upstairs. Quite a cacophony!

My son and his friends venture down the ravine to the stream on their breaks bringing up large stones for replacement. When the frosts come we are going to gerryrig a sled saucer to carry stone from the stream-you wouldn't believe how much stone there is. We were told that the original name was Stone Quarry Run and now we know why. When it rains heavy there is a loud waterfall but whenever we've been out on the ravine porches, the sound of the running water blocks out all local noise. BTW I read on earlier posts that Glenbrow was on the path of an airport. Actually we are about a mile south and having lived in North Bexley (home of the Ohio Governors mansion, OSU and Capital University Presidents), I can assure you the air noise is not much different from that high rent zip code and we have no train noise. We will be building a fence along Broad Street that mimics the cypress siding on the main house. We will also re-add a falling water feature along the large boulders that line the far side of the pond. Also, we're not surrounded by commercial, but rather homes on all sides (and our neighbors are nice!). Closest commercial is about a 1/2 mile away, then suburban hell rears it's ugly head.

Despite the minor setbacks, we are thrilled with our new property and can't wait until we call it home!



https://www.flickr.com/photos/125471081@N02/

PS One last thing. A big thanks for the contact info for the owners of the Armstrong House. We have been in contact and they will be assisting the PBS filmmaker on his documentary.

Itchily yours. ;) Modmom
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classic form



Joined: 05 Dec 2006
Posts: 182
Location: Kalamazoo, Mich.

PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2014 3:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow.
I am in awe of you and your husband.
I'm not sure I can even comprehend the work involved.
You...you...wow, you...no words.
When do you move in? Smile

Please update this thread often. I don't care how small or large the progress...I want/need/would love to hear about it.

And...thank you for saving this place, not that it means much from someone you don't know but still, it makes a stranger happy to see this.
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Mod mom



Joined: 29 Dec 2013
Posts: 389

PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2014 7:45 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for your kind words, Classic Form. When we found the property last fall, we couldn't believe it wasn't snatched up. We were at the right place at the right time..we had sold our big house and were about to build a new smaller house when we stumbled by chance upon it. Once you've lived in an inspiring space, it's almost impossible to settle for less.

There appears to be much love for this house and understandably so. It so deserves to be restored. Our son will begin Architecture School in next month and this is such a great learning experience for him (it also gets him out of working as an lifeguard, which really disliked). Win-win.

We assuming 2 years which works for us while our daughter finishes HS in our current district but next year is the 75 anniversary and we would love to be at a point where we could host a fundraiser for a non profit.

Meeting the dumpster people so we can get rid of that p-lam kitchen but there are more photos (although from late June) here:
http://www.columbusunderground.com/the-gunning-house-removed-from-most-endangered-buildings-list
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peterm



Joined: 13 Mar 2008
Posts: 5622
Location: Chicago, Il.---Oskaloosa, Ia.

PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2014 8:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Kudos to you and your family! And, as classic form says, please continue keeping us updated. You have already made significant progress...

Having experienced some of this myself, I realize that it can become totally overwhelming. But the "to do" list does become shorter and shorter with time. Are you actually living in the place through the restoration, or somewhere else nearby?

I noticed that you said the children's room would become the living room. What will become of the original living room?


Last edited by peterm on Wed Jul 09, 2014 8:30 am; edited 1 time in total
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Mod mom



Joined: 29 Dec 2013
Posts: 389

PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2014 8:28 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Last summer after contractor issues when we assumed we were going to build new, we purchased a foreclosed house in a nice neighborhood in our school district, gutted it, renovated and are now living in it. It's about 5 miles way from Gunning. There is no way you could live at Gunning in it's present condition. What's nice is we'll be able to double our investment in the foreclosed house to put into Gunning.

The children's room (with horizontal windows) was the living room after new bedrooms were added in mid 40s and 60s by the Gunnings. The old living room became a dining & family room. Since the original living room (& later family/dining room is open to the kitchen, we will use it for a dining room, although it is large enough to have some additional seating. When we entertain, most people hang around the kitchen so it'll make a nice overflow area.
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J.Meyers



Joined: 06 Dec 2011
Posts: 48
Location: Kalamazoo - Parkwyn Village

PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2014 8:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Incredible project in the works! Every step of the restoration project will be rewarding! And another of 400 FLLW structures to be saved! Yes!

We are the recent and 3rd owners of McCartney house in K-zoo and embrace your efforts. We have just started our third year in the house and love, love, love each and every day.

The first task in order for me was to undue the exterior landscaping mess. The rear west elevation the worst. Last fall I was finally able to grade and re-seed w/ low grow no mow fine fescue grass mix ( http://www.prairienursery.com/store/no-mow-lawn ) I can say that all of the hard rains we have had this spring and no trace of any sort of water, flooding, etc. in the rear west bedrooms.

Currently installing new upper kitchen cabinets, rewiring the kitchen, bathroom, bedrooms. Also removing overgrowth, trees and restoring the southwest corner of 100' radial lot this fall (seeding time for fine fescue seed begins Sept. 1)

Please keep updating!

If you are up in Kalamazoo area please visit!



http://www.mlive.com/news/kalamazoo/index.ssf/2013/10/hundreds_headed_to_kalamazoo_t.html
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Mod mom



Joined: 29 Dec 2013
Posts: 389

PostPosted: Wed Jul 09, 2014 2:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

The McCartney House is simply stunning! What a treat it must be to experience it in different seasons. I'd love to visit sometime.

Gunning is not a FLLW structure but a collaboration by several apprentices, most notably Tony Smith and Ted Van Fossen. Still they seemed to truly grasp the principles of Wright and his organic architecture.

Today, we finished early and under bright sun, the boys convinced me to finally venture down the ravine to the creek. It's quite a steep descent and having experienced poison ivy for the first time I was a little nervous, but it was well worth it. The beautiful stone seen in the photos of Gunning all came from the site. It's a treasure trove of stone down there. The only sound you hear down there is the rushing water and there are several small water falls. None of us had our phones, but next time I promise to take photos. I LOVE stone. Our property crosses the stream and we travelled around the curve for a while. It was incredible with the sunlight filtering the leaves. What a wonderful experience.
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Mod mom



Joined: 29 Dec 2013
Posts: 389

PostPosted: Fri Aug 01, 2014 6:14 pm    Post subject: New ravine photographs Reply with quote

The stone from the Gunning House was quarried on site. Today during a break from cutting grape vines that envelope the trees, I took some photographs down at the creek bottom so that others could see the trove of stone that lies at the ravine bottom:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/125471081@N02/

Work update: Plywood panels have been removed and the structural engineer (SE) has been through the house and is working on what exactly will be done. We've hired a contractor who has worked on some Rush Creek homes as well as new built by some of my husband's architect friends.

The entire roof above the enclosed carport will be removed and rebuilt( there is a 5 inch+ sag in the stacked 2 X 4s and the lowest of the sack is no longer in contact with the upper two.

Beams that transverse in the ceiling between the kitchen and the entrance to the point room were so eaten away by insects that some of them crumbled into dust as did a wall 2X 4 at the entrance to the point room. (Please excuse if my terminology is lacking, I am trying to recall the conversation between the SE and my architect husband-who is now out of town). No active insects. All effected wood will be replaced. The SE also recommended sistering plywood to non effected stacked 2X4s to strengthen them.

The upper roof area above the kitchen and into the point room will be raised to allow adequate flashing below the clerestory windows. Currently these windows either meet the roof line or sit below the roof line in some areas. When snow sits along warm windows there is not place for water to go but toward the glass.

The Van Fossen 60s addition (added a small area to the kitchen as well as a bedroom off the dining room, extended the concrete floor outside beyond the kitchen windows-outside the kitchen is original stone pieces- and increased both the sunken area and the over hang trellis) allows water to flood into the kitchen door with heavy rains. At some point, someone tried to rectify this with corrugated fiberglass panels sitting on top of the trellis to direct rain to the raised gardens. This caused the stone retaining wall to collapse further causing flooding and rotting the wood at the kitchen addition. We are removing the retaining wall beyond the kitchen windows and putting in a french drain, then the retaining walls will be rebuilt with original stone.

Arborists are almost through with the initial work, cutting overhanging tree branches enveloped in grapevine and removing 5 dead mature ash trees on the ravine side. They till have some clean up work to do including removing stacked decayed logs off the tennis court. They will be back later to fine tune. My boys and I have been cutting smaller trees and cutting back grape vines. It is unbelievable how the grapevine has taken over. We did discover some very cool areas and believe there must have been some elaborate waterfall behind the pond as there are larges stones cascading down a hill. We will get to better explore once after a first frost. There is a large pit back there and we wondered if those 4 foot water snakes are residing down there. Since they're non-venomous and don't bother us, we welcome them. I have yet to get bit my a single mosquito despite the pond, creek and water feature near the front door, so if snakes are responsible, then all the power to them!

We will finally have electrical power on Monday! first 2 electrical contractors insisted we needed overhead lines for temp power until a new line could be dug and connected. I did some research , hired a new contractor and no overhead lines will occur as the original was never disconnected. Note: all new wiring will eventually be added to all buildings.

We've been very busy, but it's a labor of love.
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Mod mom



Joined: 29 Dec 2013
Posts: 389

PostPosted: Wed Sep 10, 2014 2:01 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Uggh! Restoration of a property uninhabited for 10 years not for the faint hearted! It's been 3 months since we took over ownership and we've been busy at work. I've posted some photos at a flicker account:

https://www.flickr.com/photos/125471081@N02/

The main issues we are addressing right now removal/replacement of compromised framing, working towards a new roof and correcting a couple of design flaws. First off during de-construction we discovered both extensive insect damage and rot from water damage.

The water damage is from years a patio outside the kitchen along the dining room from a 19602 addition by Ted Van Fossen that added a couple feet of kitchen space and a bedroom. The original area outside of the kitchen had clay tile drainpipes below stones. During the addition, Van Fossen extending the concrete flooring to a below ground retaining wall. A former owner tried to correct this flaw by adding fiberglass panels along a trellis but all this did was to drain the water toward the retaining wall eventually causing a collapse and rotting the wood of the trellis. We finally had excavators dig a new drainage canal that leads to the ravine. (see photos at link above) We've also had the rotten wood removed and new framing built.

Water damage also occurred because clerestory windows were either at the rood line and in some places below the roof. Without proper flashing water had no where to go bu along and through the window frames. The entire upper roof has been removed and will be rebuilt with raised windows that allows flashing below them. When portions or the roof was removed, we discovered the membrane had been compromised and 10 days after the last rain, was poured out from below the membrane. The wood is rotten and will be replaced. Our goal is to have the new framing, roof structure and new roof before the cold weather sets in.

Better news. The tower is almost completely remediated. I took the PBS film maker in today for the first shots (hopefully up soon). We haven't had the structural engineer through yet, but our contractor is a civil engineer and believes it can be restored. The tower is project 2, although we will correct the roof leak before winter and totally seal the broken windows so that it's condition will stabilize. Got to run!
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Roderick Grant



Joined: 29 Mar 2006
Posts: 7615

PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2014 12:10 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Your house is of such quality that, in the end, all the work will be worth it. And, as tiring as it may be, admit it: Demo is fun!
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Tom



Joined: 30 Jan 2011
Posts: 2077
Location: Black Mountain, NC

PostPosted: Thu Sep 11, 2014 2:24 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thanks Modmom for keeping us up to date. If I lived close I'd volunteer.
Saw a large Tony Smith sculpture outside the Detroit Art Institute this summer -really good.

https://www.flickr.com/photos/54449844@N02/14586301770/
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DanteRuinDelver



Joined: 06 Oct 2014
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Mon Oct 06, 2014 12:46 pm    Post subject: Outstretched Hand of Friendship Reply with quote

Oh goodness where to begin! I didn't even know this Wright Restoration stuff was a thing!

So Hello Mod Mom! I'm a fellow Bexley resident and urban ruin explorer. Yesterday while I was in bruegers enjoying my breakfast I noticed a dispatch laying on the counter, rifling through it find the article about your new acquisition. Having been a lifetime admirer of Frank I was dumbfounded that there was such a great piece up Broad. And shock of shocks it had been in ruins!? Well that was just too much for me so after a bit of smart phone investigation, a Google Search brought me to this thread, the info here paired with the Dispatch article compiled enough data for a Google Maps search which narrowed the search area to almost the property line if I'm right about the location. So I grab my binocs hop in the car within an hour and head out on my noble mini-quest. I didn't particularly want to get on the property itself and be a nuisance, especially since its not a ruin as much now and had a history of vandalism, but I was hoping the ravine would be accessible enough by foot, perhaps through abutting properties, if I parked nearby I could hike the stream and get a glance from what must be the best angle anyway: looking up at it. But if I got the place right it is really well nestled behind thick undergrowth on most sides and with the P. Ivy I was seeing I didn't want to risk it anyway. Got back in the car and looped Broad to find a better ingress and at least confirm to myself that I was in the right place. I think I found your drive but again didn't actually enter. If you were around Sunday and saw a two-door silver Acura poke its nose through the tree line, that was sheepish little me. Confused

Anyway, so hopefully you don't think I'm a creep-tastic home stalker now haha. But I am in fact one of the local Landscapers! I work for Hewitt Landscaping Inc, and we've had clients with similar grounds to yours and thought I'd volunteer some assistance if that's cool with you. You've made several mentions of P. Ivy (which is no fun, get it at least once a year in this biz. But we have ways of dealing with it that would be more than willing to share), wild grape was mentioned, Ash Borer damage came up. The business owner Jeff, also a Bexley neighbor, has a fantastic local reputation in Bexley and Columbus, forty years experience, and offers all his consultations free to anyone who can use it. And thanks to his architecture background from college (before he got into horticulture) also loves FLW style and would surely get a kick out of a chance to help advise in some small way about the grounds. Jeff can be reached at his business phone 236-5673. You can reach me through him or my cell 596-1351. You know the area code. Or just post back here, whichever is most convenient for you.

Congratulations on your most excellent find and acquisition! Best of luck and thank you for sharing this herculean task! Smile Can't wait for the PBS special!
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Mod mom



Joined: 29 Dec 2013
Posts: 389

PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2014 5:20 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I appreciate your interest in the house and please know once our restoration is complete, we will open the house to the public perhaps for a fundraiser for Columbus Landmarks. Right now it is a construction site and with the exception of Architecture Programs, we are limiting visitors and would appreciate privacy and no trespassing. Our neighbors and the police are watching over the house to prevent uninvited access, as you mentioned we've had quite a bit of trespassing and vandalism. We are currently working with an arborist, but thank you.

Besides the eventual PBS documentary, I think you will see semi regular updates in both the Columbusunderground and the Dispatch (I communicated with their videographer today and she is interested). Thank you for your enthusiasm!
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DanteRuinDelver



Joined: 06 Oct 2014
Posts: 2

PostPosted: Fri Oct 10, 2014 1:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Two quick bits that thought would be good to share, first for the community that apparently exists to restore Frank style properties about a cell phone game you may want to be aware of, second for anyone who has to deal with Poison Ivy/sumac.

First is the game 'Ingress'! Ingress is a smart device game that uses real world locations of import, such as historical sites, statues/monuments, neat structures like fountains, churches, universities, etc etc as game objects. A player who has downloaded the app that works as your 'scanner' can use their smart phone or mobile enabled tablet to see what around them in the real world is an established site, or 'portal', and interact with it out to about 150 yards. Think geo-caching meets massive multiplayer online gameified touring. After some thought I realized some of the sites many of you own or are working on, like Glenbrow here, might have been registered in the game! If they haven't been already the game is largely player driven and new sites are submitted through the app to the developer who confirms the sites meet qualifying criteria and don't break certain rules. Such as no site may exist on or within certain distance of primary education centers, and residential property(which is why I bring this up.) and some other restrictions. Good news is players don't actually have to do anything to the site, they just have to be within about thirty meters of exact coordinates to perform game actions, and then only for about one to five minutes before they move on to another. (And the global positioning portion of the game is very precise, down to the meter or so.) Maybe take a picture at worst to submit to the 'portals' gallery for some extra points. I would wager some of the more notable sites like Falling Water or the Smith statue another member posted earlier are almost certainly game locations, but even with the review process there are some portals that still make it through screening that break the rules. Like the Governors House in Bexley technically shouldn't be permissable but some how is. On that note. I messaged some fellow players that play in the Reynoldsburg area and they are quite confident that there is no portal assigned to names 'Glenbrow' or 'Gunning House' at this time, as they didn't know of ANY at all along Broad in that stretch, or even remember one that was there but was deleted. Nor, had they heard of the location outside of the game or had any clue where it even was. So that's good.

But more for Mod Moms case since the sight is now getting media attention and the player base is quite large, it would not surprise me that some enterprising player would find the place and submit its geo-location as a portal recommendation. I don't think you want that just right yet if at all. SO! Unfortunately there isn't a way to tag it as a 'out of bounds' place preemptively but there is an in-app 'Edit' option through which you can report portals that were approved but shouldn't be. As for a course of action my recommendation would be thus: Download the app (Ingress, NianticLabs@Google) it's totally free and hosted by Google with out ads or any other junk. Open it, play the tutorial steps and take a minute to look around your place of interest. If there's a portal attached to it you won't miss it. If not keep the app downloaded and check back about once a month would be fine I'd guess. If it is a portal or becomes one and you don't wish it to be, there should be a small icon in the corner of its picture labeled 'i'. Click that and it will take you to a screen that should have a large 'Edit' icon. Click that and follow the logical menu options from there and you can send your report. But I'm told it can take sometime to process.

Second is P.I. ugh. Right now is one of the best times to try and deal with the menace believe it or not. In our local area the leaves have changed color to yellow or some times a red with brown freckely spots. since it changes color a bit sooner than many other species at it's growth zone this makes it far easier to spot against the green contrast around it and that means less unknown contacts are likely to reach the skin. But those leaves do eventually drop so the window is rather narrow, about another week depending on how Mother Nature wants to run it. the other advantage is that now with cooler weather you have an excuse to wear long sleeves and pants (flannel and jeans are our preferred battle gear, all cotton no polyester) and the colder weather also means the pores of your skin wont be as open as they would in the heat of summer. The best time in this golden period is to go out when the humidity is really low (so maybe not this weekend), in the colder mornings and evenings and get what work on the beast you want to. As for the weapon of choice only the best will do and we use the strongest of them all, chemical applicators gloves. They are available through many landscape supply stores but for the truly heavy duty ones only specialists stores carry. John Deere Landscapes near you has the ones we've used which are the thick black all natural rubber ones. These things are the kind you use if your handling chemicals that are lethal on skin contact in the parts per million range, so no joke Ivy busters. Just go in and ask for 'spraying gloves'. Not sure what type of haz-mat suit you were using that urushiol oil got through but believe me it shouldn't have compromised the rubber. Not in one use anyway, even our gloves have a shelf life of about two to three years even with semi-regular washing. Was the suit an actual rubber or was it a different polymer I wonder? Pretty sure the oil can sweat through the heavy duty contractors trash bags we've used for disposal. (Lowes, feel like an advertiser for local stores :/)

Other than that Tecnu poison Ivy scrub (available OTC through CVS) is a real wunder soap. Not kidding, that stuff was originally designed to remove nuclear fallout from skin. Didn't do so great at that but it cleans off about everything else! They also sell THEE BEST treatment for post rash appearance I've ever used and it's the Tecnu Medicated Scrub. Way better than those prednisone tabs. It works literally in thirty seconds and at most needs three applications in a single day. I keep some in our work truck because the quicker you got it on where the rash appeared the faster and better it stopped it in it's tracks. Could be out working, feel that distinct itch, go wash up at a spicket with it, never worry about it again. Expensive-ish but top notch. Tecnu also used to sell a pre-exposure wash but I never used it. Knowing the terrain type you have (We have a client down the road about a quarter mile inside the outer belt with a rather sizable acreage to their name in a ravine much like yours.) I would also recommend you pick up a bar of Fels-Naptha Laundry soap. Sounds silly but Jeff and I have found that if we get careless while pulling weeds and touch P.I. lathering up at a spicket with this has prevented even my somewhat more sensitive skin from getting any sign of it. Keep a bar near an outdoor spicket or by a door for ready urgent access. It's also the soap we use to clean our equipment and gloves if we go into a particularly nasty bit of the stuff. Just remember to wash carefully. And to avoid using anything with moisturizers or oil ingredients for a day or two after as those spread it.

It is my sincere hope this Information has helped in some way, and if not has at least not wasted your time. Cheers! Here's to hoping winter will be kind to the site until repairs are complete! Smile
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