Tag Archives: weeds





Our springtime activities can seem confusing. Around the house, barns, corrals, and gates we use frequently, we spray weeds. Though the grass species are essentially the same on either side of the barbed wire, the fence arbitrarily determines what are weeds and what is feed for cattle. It seems a bit sacrilegious, even to me, to be spraying weeds in a business dependent on grass.

Routine for so many years, I have become obsessed with the distasteful job of clearing the grasses that can hide rattlesnakes where we work and live, or make the difference of losing a barn full of hay to a fire. I am relieved when the job is done—and confess to enjoying watching the weeds die along clear lines of green and blond.

The grass was high in the small pasture in front of our house, so we let our second-calf heifers in to mow it down. Robbin and I enjoy having the cattle close, watching the calves grow and play. At first, they’re nervous, but after a couple of days they come into the pasture, morning and night, as part of their grazing routine. Checking-in, they seem to enjoy our company.

Readers may remember the planter we built last year to start our bare root raspberries. It looked a lot like a feeder for cattle. With so much grass, I didn’t think that our thorny raspberries would interest cattle, but the calves have become addicted, bucking straight through the gate for the raspberries’ new growth. But we seem to have hurt their feelings, bunched at the gates last night, confused with why the gates were closed.


Got Weeds!



Malva neglecta, Common Mallow, Cheeseweed, doing well.

We, as well as all of our neighbors, are busy branding or gathering to brand before the next forecast wave of El Niño arrives in the middle of next week. Hampered by the good fortune of past rains, we’re behind schedule. The grass is growing, cows milking well, calves now range over 400 pounds that is tough on ground crews and horses, as well as the calves. Depending on one another’s help to brand takes planning with an unmistakable sense of urgency in the air to get the work done. We’re planning to brand Wednesday, but not before helping a neighbor brand on Tuesday so he and his ground crew can help us.

But we’ve got weeds. The Common Mallow loves disturbed ground, and a scourge in places where cattle gather and chew their cuds. Not surprisingly, Malva neglecta has a long history of medicinal uses. Friday, I encountered a healthy patch that obscured the road as I left Dry Creek to scout the Top before meeting Clarence and the girls in our gather. All but one cow gathered or accounted for as of yesterday, we hope they stay until Wednesday.

How ‘bout those Super Broncos? What an intense defense!!





One hundred degree cows
come close, feed on one side,
lawn on the other.