Thursday, May 16, 2013

My Enemy, the FOX TAIL

I had a wonderful day yesterday. It was filled with many things being accomplished off of my to-do list and there is one matter of extreme importance. I, for the time, conquered an enemy. Now this may sound silly to you, but if you've battled this foe you will know that it is a very persistent one. Once that refuses to go away for months on end when Spring makes it's arrival. You don't dare let this enemy fully mature either, or it will let it's little minions run a muck and make your life even that much more miserable.

Fox tails my friends are what I'm talking about. Fox tails are my dreaded enemy come Spring.

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They grow so fast and even before the heads completely form the sheep won't eat them. Sheep eat almost everything.


I don't know if fox tails can be found all over this country, but I do know that here in California they are in abundance. I wish I could say that there was some use for them, but I cannot. The only thing I CAN say is that I get major gratification from weed eating. I actually love to weed eat. I liken it to mopping. Sure mowing (the outside equivalent to the vacuum) is nice and can get a lot done quickly, but it's not quite as gratifying as the weed eater. It makes everything look 'finished' and so, so nice.

From this:

Foxtail Collage 3

To this:

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Doesn't it look perty?

Not to mention it is worlds easier to get to the chicken coop and the garden now. Now I'm not wading through weeds that are up to my knees and picking fox tails out of my shoes. Also, we just put in our garden on Mother's Day and it is awesome to see our whole garden space look nice and not only have the center be the weed-free zone.

Now, some of you may wonder why we don't spray the weeds back and kill 'em off. Well friends, here at the Shepherd's farm we don't use chemicals. I don't want it near my family (or me for that matter). I think chemicals are far worse than the weeds themselves. Plus, as annoying as they can be, weeds are natural and chemicals are NOT.

Here are a few facts on the popular Roundup.

"The chemical company Monsanto was the originator of this herbicide. Monsanto is developing agricultural crops such as corn and soybeans that will be immune to the herbicide. This is so Roundup can be sprayed profusely in areas near crops without harming them. Persistent spraying on this scale could completely eradicate the wild plant species in an area." (source)

"This surfactant --polyoxyethylene amine (POEA)--has a lethal effect on frogs and their tadpoles. It appears to kill certain pond insects as well. This reduces food sources for fish and other inhabitants of the pond. As a result of lower numbers of amphibians, ponds develop heavier algae bloom. Higher than normal amounts of algae reduce the oxygen level of the water. In water it takes Roundup two to 60 days to disappear. But studies found Roundup persists in pond sediment for up to 400 days." (source)

"Earthworms found in soils laced with Roundup appeared to be softer and slower acting. Earthworms are important to soils since they help to break down chemicals, and loosen the soil particles." (source)

"The article stated that in low doses, a component of Roundup (POEA) can kill human embryonic cells. It was proven in lab tests. They also found that farm women regularly exposed to the compound were shown to have high rates of premature births and miscarriages. They found the same result with mice." (source)


Can you believe that?

Yes, sadly so can I.

That my friends, is why we don't use chemicals around this farm. I don't trust them one bit, nor do I trust the companies that claim they are 'safe'.

I think I'll just stick with my beloved weed eater (even if it gives me blisters) and enjoy the time outside, the exercise, the sunshine, and continue to enjoy the sight of freshly killed fox tails. Sans chemicals.


  1. Yeah, foxtails are one thing I REALLY don't miss about living in CA. Can't begin to count the number of vet visits to get foxtails out of doggy eyes, nostrils, between their toes... Yuck! Star thistle rates a close second.

    I hear ya on the weedeating. Very very satisfying task.

  2. Yeah, I probably should have mentioned the pain they are for animals. And I second you on the star thistle, thankfully we have very little here. Where I grew up (about 18 miles from here), we had a TON. We couldn't even walk through our fields for a portion of the year without getting stuck with the said thistles. Glad I don't have to combat both here. :)

  3. [...] garden was under water! The beautiful garden we just finished planting, the one I just finished weed eating, the one that we’ve been waiting for was under 5-6 inches of water. My heart dropped and I [...]


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