Sometimes it’s like this. Five o’clock, but he’s awake anyway, and this is the morning he plans to spray the thistle, blackberry, and tansy. Overcast, cool, no wind. It’s hard work. Carrying a 3-gallon pack of glyphosate spray on his back through the hip-high grasses of the Fish and Wildlife acres.
He’s quiet, tries to slip out without waking me, but it’s okay. I’ve been awake for awhile, too. “I can drive the ATV so you can just get in and out to spray,” I say, but he says no. The stuff is evil. You have to wear a mask and goggles, and it wouldn’t help much, anyway.
I guess not, but I wish he didn’t have to do this. What’s the equation that connects Roundup with these toxic, invasive, plants? This is the question, isn’t it? We can’t just hire our “guys” for this work — have to have a pro, and just try to find one.
Here’s tansy ragwort:
“It is toxic to all classes of livestock but most toxic to cattle and horses. At doses likely to be ingested, it causes a chronic liver disease that is seen as a cirrhosis-like hepatic degeneration. Affected animals generally die within several weeks or months after the tansy ragwort has been eaten.”
I don’t know if “our” cows are stupid/hungry enough to eat the stuff, but we’ll have to try to keep them safe and healthy.
There’s a natural control, the Cinnabar moth, so Larry will look before spraying to see if a given plant has the caterpillars on board. Here’s one. Pretty, huh?
Exhausted, Larry comes in at noon or so, after spraying three loads of chemical spray. Me, the DDT-queen, I hate using the chemicals. My dad was an entomologist/chemist who dreamed of making the Willamette Valley feed the world using the stuff. And yes, I know what DDT means, not that anyone ever asks. Guess I’m not the DDT queen any more,
Next day, Sunday, we decided to go to the beach. I wanted to swing by a little town called Eddyville on the way. Our daily paper obituary section featured the death of a 97 year-old woman named Wilma Mae Eagleson. What! Eagleson? You know that’s my maiden name, right? So who is this person?
I hoped to poke around, find the drug store, ask about her family. Yeah, well, no luck. This Eddyville does have a post office, but that’s it. No cosy little grocery, actually no nothing that we could see. Hmm. The long-lost relative will remain lost. On to Newport and the harbor.
We like to go to a restaurant there called Local Ocean. Fish and sea food right from those boats. Lesson learned: Don’t order the grilled calamari salad unless you like sushi-grade calamari, aka grilled inner-tube salad. Disappointment! The crab cakes were awesome. But don’t plan on picking up some crab meat to take home and make your own. $69.95 a pound. Yikes!
This morning, Monday, it’s still cool at 6:00, and we’ve decided to get out in the fields and pull the tansy that didn’t get sprayed on Saturday. It will be in the 90s by this afternoon, so we hop to it. We’ll just drive around the same F & W acres, check to see if the sprayed plants have wilted. This time, I’m allowed to help:
We clip the buds from the thistle, bag them in the paper bags we use to hold the tansy, and chop the plants to the ground. Can’t do much about the blackberry, not by hand. I drive the ATV, and Larry can’t help asking. “Do you keep taking your foot off the pedal?” You know how your mom used to drive that way — speed up, slow down, make you crazy? “No,” I say. “It just does that.” He rolls his eyes. It’s true! It does!
The End. For today, anyway. We’ll get up again in the morning to walk the fenced-off creeks, in which we see more tansy. But for now, we’re relaxing in our cool, air-conditioned house. We’re watching a baby swallow who fell from his nest. Mom and Dad keep feeding the little one, but I hope he/she. figures out how to fly, stat.
Larry wants to buy a new printer for his computer this afternoon. Seems “they” don’t repair broken models. This will be a challenge, that is, getting a new printer to bond with his computer. Hmm. Late breaking: he’s spoken with Peter, who advised him to take his problem to Best Buy. They will, he asserts, be able to get everything connected and working. We’ll see. But suddenly it’s dinner time, and there was a 40 minute wait to talk to a Best Buy guy in Springfield. Maybe you know that the World track-and-field Championships have been in Eugene for the past 10 days. Good reason to avoid Springfield/Eugene. Maybe tomorrow?
Supposed to be another heat wave this week, temps in the 100’s. Any farming gets done will have to be done early. I’ll let you know.