Friday, October 12, 2012

Investing in our future

I spend an inordinate amount of my spare time wandering around in the pasture with Lucy and the boys. 
It's where I want to be, particularly now that the blast-furnace heat of summer has gone away. 
It may look like I'm doing nothing, when actually I'm out there making regular investments in our future.

Every time I happen upon a baby cholla cactus, I kick it out of the ground.

It's a reverse-deposit kind of thing.

Every cholla I destroy now is one less that will mature and stick to me and/or my herd in the future.

I can't begin to describe the perverse pleasure I get from killing these evil things. 
I drop them into the center of the juniper trees, where they get stuck, shrivel up and die.

Every deposit I make is one less cholla that will grow into an 8' water-sucking, paw-pricking monster.

George: But they taste so good! 

Me: The grass that will grow in their absence will taste better. You can bank on it.


  1. How deep are the roots on the big ones? And how can George eat them with impunity or do you have to pull the spines out of their tongues? Hmm from temperate Eastern Climate person...

  2. I shudder to think of George and Alana and Lucy eating those things! Ugh! Glad you are getting RID of them!

  3. My grandparents in West Texas used to use prickly pear cactus as feed for their cattle when grass was sparse (winter or drought). They would burn/ singe it and the spines would fall off, then feed it to the cows. My grandmother also made jelly from the prickly pear fruits. She always had a big supply in her pantry and it was wonderful - tasted similar to plums.

  4. We have the paddle cactus (prickly pear) here, which also start out as mini pricklers hiding in the grass... out they go!

    Interestingly - the paddles are called nopales when de-prickled and eaten, and the pears make delightful purple jelly, so maybe George is onto something. ;D

  5. What happens if you cut them down? Do they just come back?

    I think I'd attack them with Roundup. But I've never had to deal with cactus before so I have no idea.

    Keep kicking...

  6. I know what you mean about walking around your land, removing unwanted cactus and the like. I do that all the time (although I do like the Hedgehog Claret Cup Cactus, but it is well-behaved). What I mainly removed are young Siberian Elms and Russian Thistle (tumbleweed). I do have a more manageable 7/10 of an acre so it's not such a big job. Well, I hear the thinder outside and the rain is falling now, thank you Lord or Mother Nature, for bringing us water.

  7. My horse once walked between an 8-foot-cholla and the fence. (Long story) It took an hour to get rid of all the joints and spines. The vet said she's had to sedate horses to get the spines out. Not only does it hurt a lot, but there's an awful afterburn. GOOD RIDDANCE!

  8. Being orginally from AZ I know much about those nasty Cholla. There is a huge difference between them and the Prickly Pears, which have a certain amount of edible value. I was surprised at the pic of George chowing down on one, I did not know that certain animals ate them. Cholla are about as bad as getting in a fight with a porcupine. We use a comb to remove the "jumpers" from our animals (and ourselves) and then have to pick the remaining spines out by hand.
    Being a desert rat by nature I love cactus, but Cholla I can do without.

  9. Cholla cactus like all "weeds"/plants must serve some purpose somewhere in the scheme of things but for the life of me, I can't think what. I love the way it looks when it blooms but being a person who wasn't looking and walked into one when I was young, I'm not real fond of them either. Kick away Carson.

  10. I can say for certain that I hate cholla! We also burn them on occasion. I had a horse/cholla incident some years back that was just plain AWFUL! As you probably know-cutting them down does no good and we never use chemicals on our ranch because of the dig and burn. :)

  11. My daddy used to call it "surveying the land" when he'd walk around the 3/4 acre yard, doing whatever needed to be done.
    Having good company makes the job more fun.

  12. Now if only George & company would eat the baby ones....
    I spy wet! On George, and water droplets on the cactus!

  13. Ha! Yes, I can imagine how great that feels! Keep it up.

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