On the Farm by Glenn Ells
The roadside mower went by our house a few days ago, which we appreciated very much during this time of year, when ragweed pollen fills the air. Anything that helps to cut down the population of hard-to-control pollen producers is pretty popular with Leta.
Angus had done a great job about a month ago on the roadside and hard-to-reach areas on our farm and the surrounding properties, but a new crop of ragweed had developed. I live with a wonderful indicator of how much that irritating pollen is in the air. This is an area in Kings County where ragweed hasn’t been able to establish – yet. Along the shore of the Bay of Fundy, the air is pollen-free and we do most of our sleeping at our Baxter’s Harbour cottage until the first killer frost clears the Valley air.
There was a time when this county employed a weed inspector. I remember the job that the late Keith Rand used to do. He was always on the lookout for noxious weeds in the county and did great work controlling the spread of these pests. Public awareness was one weapon that Keith used very effectively. I’d be willing to bet that wild cucumber would not have spread like it has if Keith or his successor in office were on the job. They would have made the public aware of how easy it is to pull this climbing monster up by its shallow roots and most of the vines from the trees and shrubs it seeks to smother.
It is sad that the Weed Control Act is no longer enforced and that what should be everyone’s responsibility is no one’s anymore, which is just a sad fact of life.
The public became very concerned about roadside spraying and pressure to end it was successful. Mechanical control of roadside vegetation is still carried out in what seems to be a haphazard manner. With some more resources and direction, some of us think that a more effective job could be done. I should be clear about one thing: I’m not suggesting that any program carried out by the Department of Transportation should be expanded by robbing the pothole-patching budget.