The summer time heat is in full swing. It’s practically boiling when I go outside. I can feel my skin melting off my body. Every tiny breeze feels like a minor bit of relief before the air stills.
All this is to say, I really don’t like being outside this time of year. It’s super hot, I end up very sweaty just from feeding the horses, and I need a shower every time.
But, they know this. They know it’s their time to strike. They take advantage of my absence. They know I am hiding in the house, and much like batman when he’s learning to be batman in secret, they grow stronger, get bigger, and learn amazing ninja skills.
I am speaking of course, of the burrs.
Yes, the burrs grow stronger every day. They are tough, and being from the south west of America, they are used to the heat. In fact, they love it. Combine that with the abundant rain, and they are in love with this area. It’s the perfect situation for these invaders.
I’ve never be able to figure out how they arrived here. For many years I lived on this farm, and there were no burrs. Then one year, I noticed many burrs in my horses’ man. Well, that’s peculiar, I thought to myself. In the beginning, I cut them out. But there were so many that my horses ended up with very shorn manes. I started pulling them out, and it took many roughed up fingers to figure out that if I coated the mane down with Detangler Gel, the burrs would slide out fairly easily. It still took a while though.
Back then, I didn’t fully understand what I was dealing with. I thought it was a minor yet annoying weed. I flicked the burrs off into the grass, not realizing that I was planting more. I waiting too long to spray them, and they had already gone to speed when I finally did. I thought it wouldn’t matter. It did.
As the burrs continued to show up year after year, it dawned on me that this is no ordinary weed. The constant burrs on my horses and the entire sections of pasture that had turned into burr plants was definitely a big hint.
The plant I am dealing with is called Cocklebur, and it’s native to Texas. How it got to Virginia, in my pasture, is a mystery, but I can only imagine that it must have been in some hay.
The craftiness of these plants means extreme actions are needed. I must eliminate every single burr plant in the field. I can’t let a single one go to seed. I need to walk over every inch of pasture, look around every hidden spot and make sure that they are all gone. This is the only way I will be able to save the pasture.
I’ve already started by spending my mornings pulling them. I started walking around the field, pulling out each one I can find. It’s very time consuming and the heat starts to get to me. I do feel empowered with each plant I pull up though, but still I worry, will they come back? These plants are known for having deep roots.
There’s a section where they grow in full force, along a ledge that I can’t easily mow. I dread going over there, as I know I will see their army amassing. They have incredible strength in numbers. In previous years, I’ve seen likely 200 plants growing over there.
I know I must go over there and face them. This weekend, I’ll be putting on my armor, pulling out the sprayer, and going to attack. I need to get them down before they get their seeds out.
The battle will be long and sweaty. Wish me luck.