Season’s Pricklies

Russian thistle

Saturday, September 25, 2011— October’s fullest moon (“Hunter’s”) will rise on the 20th.

I’m pulling weeds by hand on a strip of land separating my property from the highway. I avoided this until doing became a must. It’s late summer when weeds explode, especially many awful clumps of thorny Russian Thistle. I’m finally driven to be out pulling those massive resistors.

Russian Thistle is one of the ugliest weeds imaginable, and even worse than Scotch thistles that also pop up anywhere. Both varieties have wicked thorns, on stems, branches, and leaves.

Scotch thistle

Bare hands scream while pulling these weeds, and Russian Thistle is worse. Its loose thorns get inside a puller’s gloves, shoes, socks, and pants-legs. After a little pulling, just standing among thistle clusters is painful.

I dislike both spraying and pulling. But spraying is more awful. Now, I’m partly through this season’s pulling and made miserable by invading thorns. Ahead are more unwieldy clumps for removal, before they break away from roots and roll loosely, as tumbleweeds spreading seeds.

Coming rains cause an embryo inside each of 250,000 seeds to sprout.

Immigrant homesteaders, in 1873, destined for South Dakota accidentally brought Russian thistle as contaminated flax seeds. More spreading occurred from contaminated flax leftover in railroad cars and the natural winds. That year occurred during a long period of severe drought over the great plains, with inadequate naturally-growing animal fodder. Imported thistle was intended for growing and supplementing animal feed.

Everywhere now, of course, a single tumbleweed’s trillions of seeds will pop and grow in the-most-minute unoccupied spaces. Oh well!

Dear Friends: Bad weeds, one of the few minuses of caring for large or small acreage. Diana

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