A Cowboy’s Faith: Those weeds are delicacies

buchmanhead“They are the best dandelion growers in the country.”

None too few have made that evaluation driving past the ranch.

“Wow, they sure know how to grow the biggest, lushest, thickest dock in the world.”

That’s been said by those missing the yard, looking into fields just beyond.

Both remarks have some truth to them. As appreciated rains have come, weeds have far outgrown the grass.

Intent is always to get ahead of the problem by spraying herbicides. At least once in 46 years, the yard was sprayed early, and that did the trick for a while until seed blew in from somewhere.

Nothing’s been done this year, and the pretty yellow flowers quickly seed, spread and overtake grass.

Broadleaved dock weeds in the field can also be slowed down with chemical. That’s verified by application last week almost instantly putting wilt to the two-foot tall menaces. Just wish it’d been earlier, when planned.

While applying poison to living form isn’t appealing, that’s about the only control. Mowing both early green intruders does no good.

Seemingly impossible to dig all of the acres of dock, yet do admire the lawn dandelion pullers. However, they’re wasting their time, as experts claim plants grow right back unless the three-feet-deep taproot is completely removed.

Come to find out these fast growing green spring menaces have admirable traits. Both are recommended as eating delicacy, although that’s strictly hearsay.

Dock roots are used in leather tanning, and stalks can be made into mustard-colored dye. Furthermore, the leaves are said to make salads more appetizing with proclaimed cleansing and medicinal attributes, including treatment of viral infections.

Believe it or not, dandelions were not always thought of as a weed, rather as herbs that are rich in nutrients. Good for digestion, easing rheumatism and liver problems. Young dandelion greens are said edible as snacks, tossed in salads and can be cooked like spinach. That eliminates any appeal for sure. Still, other promoters insist flavorful drinks, including wine, are often made from dandelions.

Somebody advised “Eat your weeds.” That’ll be okay if they do.

Reminds of Matthew 13:27: “Where did these weeds come from?” Yet, Ezekiel 36:34: “Work so the yard is no longer overgrown with weeds, worthless in the eyes of passersby.” So, Psalm 17:14: “Harvest the weeds for nutritious family meals.”


030615-franksmug2Frank J. Buchman is a lifelong rancher from Alta Vista, a lifetime newspaper writer, syndicated national ag writer and a radio marketing consultant. He writes a weekly column to share A Cowboy’s Faith.


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