Gwen Petersen: In a Sow’s Ear 1-9-12
In any agricultural area (actually any place on earth now that you mention it) weeds abound. The obnoxious growths mess up gardens and lawns, steal vital moisture from food and fiber plants, wreck pasturelands and poison livestock.
Like most counties, ours has a Weed Board office. Each spring, workers suit up in protective clothing, strap on backpack tanks of weed-killing herbicide, mount up on four wheelers or shanks mare and go to war against noxious, annual and perennial weeds. While any capable adult may be hired to join the weed execution squad, it turns out that here in Sweet Grass County, last year’s crew members were all of the feminine persuasion.
Being an imaginative and witty bunch they dubbed themselves “Women of the Weeds.” Unlike the Seven Dwarfs, they don’t necessarily whistle while they work, but they have developed a whole lexicon of clever references when speaking of detestable rogue plants. Such as:
• Purge the Spurge (Leafy Spurge)
• Zap the Knap (Knapweed)
• Pop the Tops (White Tops)
• Boil the Foil (Sulfur Cinquefoil)
• Croak the Loc (Loco weed)
• Stalk the Hawk (Orange Hawkweed)
• Knock the Ox (Oxeye Daisy)
• Crushin’ Russian (Russian Thistle)
• Abort the Wort (St John’s Wort)
• Numb the Sum (Hoary Alyssum)
• Blind the Bind (Bindweed)
• Knock the Dock (Curly Dock)
• Gag the Rag (Bur Ragweed)
• Settle the Nettle (Horsenettle)
• Gig the Pig (Pigweed)
• Ax the Flax (Toadflax)
• Topple the Cockle (Cocklebur)
• Hew the Lu (Lupine)
• Wham the Lamb (Lambsquarters)
• Sizzle the Thistle (Canada Thistle)
So, okay, these aren’t literary gems. (You might even be inclined to say they’re a tad “weedy”). Feel free to adopt, adapt or make up your own while you’re chasing wild weeds this spring.
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