Under the Wire
August 18, 2021
According to a notation on my calendar, Feb. 16 began the Chinese year of the Dog. This fits in between last year’s Rooster and 2019’s Pig. These three join the Rat, Ox, Tiger, Rabbit, Dragon, Snake, Horse, Sheep (Goat) and the Monkey to make up the Chinese Zodiac.
I respect the importance of this list to the Chinese. I would however, like to propose an addition for which there seems to be room. Cattle, horses, sheep, cows dogs, jack rabbits, I know they aren’t really rabbits, rats and snakes all make sense. We see them pretty regularly through their year. Tigers and Monkeys exist but far from our ranch. Dragons? Just might find them on the list of extinct critters.
My suggestion is that 2018 be renamed “The Year of The Weed.” Some may think I am referring to Colorado’s newest agricultural industry, wacky tobaccy or pot as it is known on the street corners. Wrong! Instead I am talking about real weeds. I have never seen as many varieties of these “plants out of place” as my agronomy professor at Colorado State University described them. Not only are there lots of kinds, each seems to be enjoying their visit to our ranch and flourishing. Our list of unwanted guests from the plant world is astounding.
There are thistles, Canadian and Russian. We have puncture vine, aka goat heads, sand burs, cockleburs, pig weed, mares tail and kochia. Add to that yellow fox tail, along with what I think is Johnson grass and we just may have the world’s largest collection of annoying plant growth in the world. We spray them, mow them and try to convince the cows they taste good. All this during one of the driest years we have had except for last year which was one of the driest. The weeds didn’t seem to care. Pastures were short, hay crop light and weeds grew like, well, weeds. Some might think this is a silly idea. Go back to the Chinese’s list. It includes Tigers and monkeys we don’t see around here. Add to that Dragons, not seen anywhere but children's books for a very long time. Maybe if we can get our “weed year” approved it will be the last time we have to deal with these invaders of the countryside.
I certainly don’t want to offend the Chinese with my suggestion. They are developing a taste for American Beef. If we can just get our cows to eat more weeds and get fat doing it, then we will have more beef to sell them. Grass fed beef is becoming popular. Why not “weed fed” beef? Some might get confused what weed they are eating here in Colorado. Might join brownies and lip gloss as a way to get “Colorado High.”