Ricochet is the best place on the internet to discuss the issues of the day, either through commenting on posts or writing your own for our active and dynamic community in a fully moderated environment. In addition, the Ricochet Audio Network offers over 50 original podcasts with new episodes released every day.
I live on 14 acres in the mountains of southwest Virginia. Most of the property is open pasture, but I don’t run cattle or any other livestock. It is God’s country. A couple of times a year, I bush-hog the grass or let a neighbor take it for hay. I really need to spend more time on effective land management, but my job is quite demanding and long stretches of time at home is a luxury. I did mention the mountains. My property has rolling hills with patches of woods or inclines that I can’t reach with a tractor. Which brings me to my chainsaw.
I purchased a trusty Stihl MS 250 several years ago and never regretted it. It starts quickly and is big enough for trees I want to cull out and small enough to easily handle. Some guys golf or fish. I spend my time with my saw, brush ax, and a water bottle cleaning up hard-to-reach patches of briers and deadwood. Last Saturday I logged 4,200+ calories on my Fitbit, the majority of which was spent cutting and dragging brush down the lane. Which brings me to Lady Bird Johnson….
The story goes in our family that in a well-meaning effort to beautify the fledgling Interstate system, the former First Lady pushed a program of landscaping on the vast stretches of medians and grassed shoulders of the roadways. And that one of those plants that was selected was the Multiflora Rose [Rosaceae]. I’ve not been able to officially confirm this despite internet searches (where everything is true). But it certainly sounds like the unintended result of a large government program. One could blame it on ignorance at the time of horticulturists not realizing the far-reaching effects of alien species. But they sure as heck understood their power to do so. Anyway, my property is infested.
These scraggly ill-tempered bushes are tough and persistent. Any beauty that they bring is far outstripped by their ability to spread and create dense thickets of almost-impenetrable walls. Livestock won’t touch them – except for perhaps some desperate half-starved goats. I come away from the battle with scratches, splinters, and whelps. They crop up on fence lines – conveniently placed where mowers can’t reach. They hide under trees and make spraying a tedious affair. They come back quickly and if not tended, spread even more quickly. They are the bane of my horticultural existence.
So whether or not it’s true, here’s to you, Mrs. Johnson. Thanks for wasting hours of my time cleaning up your mess. And thanks to the Feds for doing what they do best – Fixing What Ain’t Broke.Published in