A Cowboy’s Faith: Reprieve from invaders

buchmanhead“Cockleburs can take over the farm.”

Dad said that more than once as he leaned over to pull a six-inch weed intruding on the pasture where we kept our horse as a kid.

It didn’t sink in then, but decades later, like most things Dad told us, we are constantly reminded that weeds of many varieties can destroy productive agriculture land, if left uncontrolled.

Those generally easy-to-pull, soft-stemmed, deep-green plants, that produce the hard, spiny burs that stick to everything, have come out of nowhere this year, so it seems.

Always trying our best to keep ahead of the menaces, we’ve frequently stepped off our horse to pull any showing up when checking stock in the pasture. However, this year’s “crop of burs” in a completely new locale is a record setter.

Certain plants, like wild sunflowers for example, are almost non-existent some years, and the next season they seem to dominate plant populations.

Although we hadn’t given it any thought, evidently burs are that way, too. Most water sources are full, but oddly enough we have two ponds that have not filled. They remain at the lowest levels in four decades.

Those ’burs are growing by the millions where water should be. First aware of the invasions earlier in the summer, we were optimistic rains would fill the pond and drown them out.

That did not happen, and now the plants have all headed out with seemingly billions of “ripe burs,” and more are hardening daily.

Pulling the weeds by hand worked to some success on the small pond. But, when we attacked the ripe burs in the larger pond, it was nearly impossible to get them out of the ground.

Too late for effective chemical control, we knew something must be done, because the horses and cattle would be covered with burs this fall, if we didn’t.

Mowing bindweed and brush often spreads populations, but that’s what we did to those ripening cockleburs. Time will tell the outcome.

Reminds us of Hebrews 12:15: “A weed gone to seed can ruin a whole garden in no time.” And, Isaiah 7:24: “There will be weeds everywhere, good for nothing.” Obviously, Ezekiel 26:9: “The invaders will steal the crop.” However, most importantly Exodus 21:19: “Except for loss of time, there will be recovery of the productive land.”


Frank_BuchmanFrank 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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