Sun not only source of hot air
Dog days of summer and my feet feel the burn through my shoes standing on patio pavers. I spray my shoes with the garden hose; the heat will dry them in minutes. The cowboy irrigating stops by on his quad to ask for water. I spray his knee high black irrigating boots as well.
Not sure how many of you work cattle, but don’t work cattle in heavy winds. And you shouldn’t if you are in a hurry or irritated. They know. So I have not been working cattle for a while now. Dirt, and forward bends are supposed to calm one therefore I have been digging up thistles.
Not a Roundup fan. Death spray I figured since Congress signed a bill to block lawsuits against Monsanto in medical-related cases. Therefore I dig up thistles with a trowel in the yard, and a shovel in the fields close around the house where our well is. Follow a simple procedure to get them.
First, ask the husband to sharpen my shovel. He is better with the grinder. Makes a crisper edge needed to dig into the tough turf out here. Some of this ground has not been turned in generations. And the thistles are well established, some taller than me.
Second, dig up thistles in shorts and soft-soled shoes. The shoes need a mesh toe so your feet can breath and allow fox tails and thistle thorns to work their way through the mesh and stab you in the toe. Karma.
The reason to wear shorts is not because it is hot enough to melt a fence post, but because it adds an element of danger. Who doesn’t like a little danger in their everyday life? Wearing shorts digging up thistles in a clump of nettles is more exciting than an E ticket ride in Disneyland. How close can you step? Did your leg brush thistle or nettles? You’ll know soon enough. And if you get the nettle sting on your arms certainly don’t wipe the sweat running down the side of your face with that forearm.
Wear leather gloves no matter how brave you feel. Thistle thorns pierce the soft rubber of the dainty lady garden-variety glove. You have more of a fighting chance if you have good thick leather. Thorns will get through time to time causing incredible irritation, which is what you are trying to reduce waiting for the hot air from the White House to diminish.
Then drive a pickup to load thistles. It can be a long bed. Drive it next to ditches. Careful the front passenger tire doesn’t break through a thin layer of soil hiding a crater where irrigation water has been undermining the ditch culvert all summer. Because then you have to take a small break, walk back to the house, call your spouse and ask him to find you in the field where the truck is sliding into the ditch. Yes, you put it in 4-wheel drive. The tire is spinning in air. The passenger door is snug against the ground. A chain is necessary.
After days of determination got two heaping full truckloads of thistles. The near fields look good. Now impatiently waiting for midterm elections to see if this insane hot air will diminish.
Marie Johnson is a Carson Valley rancher.