Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Waging War on Cockleburs

My weapon of choice:

My target:


Cockleburs. Lots and lots of cockleburs. Our mornings are spent traipsing through the pastures in search of this evil plant.
And we are thankful.
Thankful because the fact that we have cockleburs to spray means that we have had rain. The last time there were cockleburs to spray was 2010. They are an invasive, toxic weed, and the burs are a bear to remove when they get caught in tails and manes:


I'm slower than DH in covering the country because if you recall, I am deathly afraid of snakes and when you're picking your way through waist-high brush and weeds and mesquite, its impossible to see the ground. So I have to multitask:
Scan the terrain for cockleburs.
Spray said cocklebur.
Keep an eye on DH so that we can cover the pasture efficiently.
Fight the mesquite.
Pray with every step that I don't cross paths with a snake.

DH knows this country like the back of his hand. He knows exactly where these grow. They tend to grow around dirt tanks and in low areas, as well along the spillways where the water carries the seeds. I have to pay attention because I tend to see one and then another and before I know it, I look up and DH has disappeared.


On this particular morning, we spent 5 hours walking and spraying and thankfully the good Lord kept all snakes out from under my feet. DH just may find his sidekick running to the truck if she ever steps on one.

These bottles get awfully heavy. They hold 3 gallons of a version of 2,4 D, Grazon, a broad-leaf herbicide, and after carrying one for 5 hours, your arms are going to get quite a workout.

But it's hard to beat spending a gorgeous, cool morning working alongside DH and combing the pastures.


The desert wildflowers were in full bloom.


We've just had 2-4" of rain on the ranch this summer and it always amazes me how pretty this country gets with just a little bit of rain.

And it's always a treat to be greeted with a double rainbow when you finally turn the truck towards home:


I am also very thankful for a crockpot full of a delicious roast dinner when we return home because the thought of fixing dinner after  spraying cockleburs all morning was not very appealing. I told DH I was going to call this my cocklebur dinner. My crockpot's getting quite a workout.

And the war continues...


Debbie Collins said...

I live in Western Oklahoma and have also waged war on cockleburs!! It's a never ending battle on our farm also.

Pauline said...

As beautiful as those can be in a flower arrangement, they are horrible caught in fur or clothes. We had sand burrs but managed to get rid of them by spraying and pulling. Impossible with the amount of land you have to manage! The roast sounds wonderful, I love easy meals.
The wild flowers are beautiful!

Nancy said...

I'm glad you took your camera along on your trek.

Yes, cockleburs were a problem on the farm, too, especially in the pasture on the hill. Some crafty people sell the burs as porcupine eggs.

M. E. Stephens said...

Ah ha! Now I know what those horrible things are that grow in my brother's wet weather pond and that get caught in the donkeys' manes! We didn't know what they were - or at least I never found out. We just knew they were bad stuff! Well, now we'll have to see about getting rid of them, especially before we get sheep. Hum. The donkeys eat a lot of weeds, but they won't touch those.

Nancy said...

In our area of the country we have just plain burrs. They look spiky like yours but are more rounded. They are awful because they latch on to any passing person or object. I can imagine how awful they would be for the animals. The flowers look beautiful and once again, I think you are amazing to carry around that 3-gallon tank with snakes slithering around. Ugh!

Dar said...

Sounds like you earned your "easy" dinner. I can't imagine walking for 5 hours carrying that heavy sprayer. You sure are a trooper. The wildflowers are lovely.

Anonymous said...

I bought a backpack sprayer from Harbor Freight. It is easier to wear it than carry one and I can keep the pressure up much easier.
Love your blog,

Staci said...

How's the war going?
The wild flowers are lovely.

Hope the snakes stay far far far away!
Terrified! I'd be needing to change my britches if I saw one!

Denise :) said...

I wouldn't have had the same appreciation for what a chore this was, had I not waited until after my visit to Texas to read/respond. The dry bush out there was fascinating to me! But I realize it was probably a big pest to wade through to conquer the cockleburs! :)

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