Weeds and Windshields

Fields in N Cape County 08-25-2015I was blasting down State Route C on the way to Cape from Altenburg when I noticed tall stalks of what I took to be corn in the middle of what I think is soybeans (my farm knowledge is somewhere between erroneous and inadequate).

Traffic on C can move pretty fast, so I turned right onto 516 at New Wells, and took the next right onto 517, which put me on a little-traveled road on the backside of my field. There was a cornfield on the driver’s side of the car.

It was from there that the errant corn must have escaped. Or, maybe the farmer hadn’t cleaned his equipment off when moving from field to field. Or, maybe a bird dropped the seed. Who knows?

What is a weed?

Fields in N Cape County 08-25-2015Funny what sticks with you from grade school. The teacher asked the class if they could say what a weed was.

The answer was predictable: dandelion, crab grass, ragweed, Jimson weed…

“How about an oak?” the teacher asked.

“No, an oak is a tree. It’s not a weed,” the class protested.

“A weed,” the teacher explained, “is a wild plant growing where it is not wanted and in competition with cultivated plants. So, wouldn’t you consider an oak tree in the middle of a wheat field to be a weed?”

She had us there

So, somewhere back at Trinity Lutheran School, in the middle of the 20th Century, the seed of a weed oak tree was planted in my head.

You can click on the photo to make it larger. I’m sure somebody out there will tell me that that’s not corn in a soybean patch, that’s really a radish popping up in a field of rutabagas.

6 Replies to “Weeds and Windshields”

    1. Terry, I have a failsafe way to determine if a plant is safe for eating: I give a bite to Bill Hopkins. If it doesn’t kill a lawyer, then I know it’s OK for humans to consume.

  1. Oh dear. I always believed the occasional oak tree was there for shade.
    Maybe to sit under while taking a break. Farmers probably don’t take breaks though.

  2. According to metaphysical comic Gallagher, “If it grows, and you kill it, and it comes back and grows, it’s a weed. If you plant it and water it and fertilize it and it dies, it’s a plant.” Black thumb?

    1. That’s always been my theory. Trying to figure out what is a flower and what is a weed? Cut ’em all down. What grows back is a weed.

      I’ve also always felt that if God had wanted lawns to have short grass, he’d have made it with perforations on the leaves so they would break off at just the right height. Maybe it does, and we’ve been thwarting the will of God all these years by mowing before it gets that tall.

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