Goathead

“Don’t call me Goathead!” — Lon Simmons*

I like to look for little things I can do as a bicyclist to improve my community. I have a hard time following up on the big ideas, so here I’m talking about 15 minute bites of manual labor type stuff. I got two this morning.

The grasses are all full-blown brown now, so the remaining late emerging green stuff on the roadside is real visible. Many are opportunistic and noxious weeds–star thistle is in full bloom, and right now goathead is transitioning from flowering to green seed pods to drying and breaking up into monster thorn seed transports. Yankee Hill Road has a pretty strong distribution on the shoulders between the State Park and Sawmill Flat Road. I’ve been seeing it for the last week or so, so I brought a bag and glove and gathered some up and brought it to the garbage can in the park. The seed pods are setting now so it’s really too late, but I’ve made some mental notes of the problem spots and put reminders on my calendar for next July. Beats planning to go on a cruise.

Goathead. Look for completely flat growth habit with tiny yellow flowers. Don’t mess with it if the plant is dry, you’ll just spread it.

Wouldn’t it be awesome to follow up Bike Month in May with Kill Goathead Month in July? Have a craft brew kickoff party with a goat head pinata full of tubes, patch kits, and orange seal? We really don’t have a huge goathead problem here compared to other places, but reducing it on road shoulders would go a long way toward keeping it that way. If you get inspired to go get some goathead, be safety aware and don’t forget to check your shoes and tires before leaving an infested area.

* Lon Simmons was a broadcaster for the San Francisco Giants back in the day. Whenever one of the other announcers would cut him off and then say “go ahead” he would reply “don’t call me Goathead.” I adapted this as “don’t call me Buttdad” when my children were small. If you type “goathead” into your Android phone, “go-ahead” is the top auto-correct option. SF Giants Easter Egg?

Number two was even easier. I ran over a hex wrench going up Big Hill and then saw the rest of the package in the middle of the road. I gathered up the stragglers and put them in the package and put them on the cut bank where someone might see them. Is the grieving owner going to find them? Probably not, but they won’t be ground into worthless clinking stuff and plastic bits. Folks in vehicles don’t even know this stuff exists.

Hex wrench set on Big Hill Road. Sorry, they’re not metric.

No PRs this morning.

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