Charge of the Noxious Weed Brigade
Tribal canoe pullers often carried their canoes across a narrow neck of land at Port Townsend, to avoid battling the dangerous tides of Admiralty Inlet as the Strait of Juan de Fuca squeezes back and forth through a five-mile wide gap into Puget Sound. The portage area was open grass, and early settlers and later farmers kept it that way.
QV is built on the old portage site/meadow and, by agreement with the previous owner and City, we will keep 25% of our six-plus acres in “contiguous open space.” The land was badly damaged in construction, so we must restore and preserve a meadow. That’s not as easy as it may sound.
Some dirt churned up in construction is of poor quality. Twice we’ve sprayed “topsoil,” grass, and a meadow flower mix over the property. Some areas are still pretty thin; some are thick and nearly waist high. But nature seems to be as fond of weeds as of flowers, and all too often the weeds are thistles.
Bull thistles we can dig up, and we’re doing pretty well there. But the State of Washington calls Canada thistles “noxious” weeds, illegal and unwelcome immigrants that can’t be controlled by normal gardening methods. We’re enjoined to use powerful herbicides. We’re trying to be careful gardeners and avoid collateral damage, but it’s a years-long battle.
Thistles to right of them,
Thistles to left of them,
Thistles in front of them
Prickled and stung;
Laden with sprayer and spade,
Gamely they dug and sprayed,
Spray on their jeans and boots,
Spades chopping hard at the roots,
Strode the Noxious Weed Brigade.
(apologies to poor Lord Tennyson) - Jack