Burs remind you that they are there

It’s bur season.

Burs, husks, pods, whatever you call them, it’s their season.  Rainy season was bad enough because my dog came in covered in mud (and she hates a bath), but bur season?  Try and get burs out of a dog’s coat torleyheader062314without some whining and yelping, and you must have a very patient dog.

And yet, burs are a natural thing, a weed’s way of making sure that its seeds get moved to a new location. They couldn’t possibly all drop in one spot so they would be easy to rip out.  Oh no!  They have to cling to your clothes and garden gloves (and dog fur) so that they can be easily moved to new locations in the lawn and make us miserable.

From the weed’s point of view, this makes sense.  After all, perhaps the greatest function of a plant is reproduction.  And weeds are lucky.  People have not found them useful or edible, so they can put all their energy into reproduction instead of growing a large luscious tomato.

But weeds have their place on the table.  Dandelions make a nutritious addition to salads, purslane and silverweed are edible, and there are many others.  I recall that once, as a Cub Scout den mother, I had my Cubs out on the lawn picking weeds for salad (which made their parents question my sanity).  Still, I don’t remember ever seeing a farmer growing fields of stinging nettle – at least not on purpose.

It is the “on purpose” part that we always remember when pulling things out of the lawn.  “If I had wanted red clover,” we mutter, “I would have planted red clover.”  (or rue or plantain or whatever is infesting the lawn today).  We just might let the weeds take over parts of the yard if it weren’t for those burs.

Yes, we are back to burs.  I just came in from the yard where I had the misfortune to pull up some weeds before I noticed that they had gone to seed – sharp lances of seed which I now need to pull out of my socks and off of my good gloves.

So, be quick!  Get out there with the weed whacker or mower or something before the weeds go to seed, because, if they do, you are going to have to pluck them, one by one, from everything they touch

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