Goathead Encounter

A few nights ago David, Megan and I took a long walk after dinner. Whereas, on my walks I’ll typically circle the same route on neighborhood streets, David likes to explore. With him in the lead we’ll charge off through a field toward train tracks or some distant warehouse, hey let’s check it out! On this particular walk the warehouse turned out to be the Pepsi Distribution Center. The delivery trucks were all parked and abandoned for the day. The doors to the warehouse were open, and it was stacked to the ceiling with Pepsi products. Man that’s a lot of pop!

When we returned home I shed my shoes right inside the front door. Pooped, I just left them there.

Don't leave your shoes in the front entry

Don’t leave your shoes in the front entry

Then about 5am the next morning the dog wanted out. I dragged myself up zombie-like to follow him down the stairs to the back door. (David and I take turns with the dog. It’s my turn.) I stumbled down the stairs behind the dog and then bumped into my shoes in the front entry. OW! OW! Hop. What the heck! I swear, one of my shoes bit me! I stood there in the dark while the dog was doing his business, rubbing an itchy wound on the inside of my foot by my ankle.

When I got up later to start my day, my first order of business was to pick up those shoes and put them by the back door where they belonged. I had an appointment I needed to race off to. Quick, get in the shower! I come racing downstairs wet and barefoot and suddenly – OUCH! Something impales my foot! I reach down and jerk out a large thorn lodged in the ball of my right foot. I leave a splotchy trial of blood on my way to the bathroom where I wash the wound, rub it with neosporin and slap a band-aid on it to stop the bleeding. Then I limp into a pair of flip-flops. Ow! That puncture wound really hurts. It throbs for the next hour.

So what the heck is it? I’d obviously picked that thorn up on our walk – through the field. It was still lodged in my shoe when it bit me at 5am. Then it fell out when I picked up my shoes to move them. And sat there in the front entry just waiting to impale its first victim …

Here I took a couple pictures of it:

FullSizeRender-12

'goat's head'

‘goat’s head’

Then I did an internet search on plants with thorns. … and found it. It’s this weed that grows in rough patches of grass ‘Tribulus terrestris

Tribulus Terrestris

Tribulus Terrestris

Looks innocent enough. Yeah, well within five days of blooming its dainty yellow 5-petal blossoms morph into a ‘fruit’ that easily falls apart into five nutlets. Nutlets? How about, burrs with 2-4 razor-sharp spines. These nutlets strikingly resemble goat’s heads. Thus, the name ‘goathead’. Other common names for this weed are devil’s thorn, devil’s weed, devil’s eyelashes, or ‘puncturevine’ (no kidding).

These devil’s horns are sharp enough to puncture bicycle and lawnmower tires. ‘Nature’s miniature version of a tire spike,’ is how one caption describes it. Why would such a vile creation of Nature exist? This is such a mystery that the Bible attempts to explain it. The Book of Genesis claims the creation of thorns as one of the punishments for the original sin of Adam and Eve, you know, alongside pain in childbirth.

Maybe give God credit for more noble intentions: The Scottish thistle became the national emblem of Scotland founded on the story of an invading Norse Army that was thwarted by an encounter with a thistle in the dark.

Obviously thorny plants and bushes strategically planted below your windows would be a good defense against burglars. This could help explain the knee to waist-high weeds sprouting up along houses in your neighborhood. These neighbors aren’t derelict, they’re smart! All the more reason for would-be burglars to target your house, with your pest-free, manicured, greenhouse gardens and lawns.

If, perchance, you have patches of goatheads or puncturevine sprouting in your lawn, not planted intentionally to keep wayward kids, cats, dogs, skunks, rabbits, marmots, and burglars off your property, don’t worry. For ways to cope with and/or eradicate this noxious punctureweed go to this website: Goatheads.com

If, for example, you have patches of devil’s eyelashes sprouting in your fenced yard where you keep your dog, then purchase their ‘Ouchless Faux-Paws dog shoes” to keep your pets’ paws safe from those loathed stickers. Though, since these thorns can puncture bike tires, you might want to get a written guarantee on those shoes … just sayin’.

Goathead gloves protect your hands when pulling puncturevine, but again, you might rather opt for extermination plans ‘b’ and ‘c’ offered on the same website: puncturevine-eating weevils, or … propane torch. Or maybe just sell your house and move … in the winter, when the goatheads are covered in snow, to hide the surprise for the new owner.

And you know, instead of building a wall along our southern border to staunch the flow of illegal immigrants (yeah, right, Frump-head), how about we just propagate puncturevine, goatheads, devils weed, Tribulus Terrestris, say, for the first 200 yards of terrain all along our southern border. That oughta do it. Yea.

And stop using Round-up! Although I suspect goatheads are resistant to it anyway.

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One Response to “Goathead Encounter”

  1. Jay Says:

    This #$!@ing weed has trashed 5 inner tubes on my bicycle trips in and around Denver!

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