a Taj MuttHall Dog Diary: Antithistle Crusaders Strike Again

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Antithistle Crusaders Strike Again

SUMMARY: What I do on nonagility weekends, number 33.

The native grasses in California were predominantly perennial bunch grasses, which were less inclined to flame on. Today, hillsides and meadows everywhere are predominantly tall, dry, highly flammable annual grasses such as oats and foxtails. Various groups make heroic efforts to try to preserve some of the few remaining bunch grass meadows. One effort is in yanking out the nasty invasive yellow star thistle from Los Trancos Open Space Preserve.

I've heard about these efforts for years but never tried it before; this year, I volunteered for the project and, so, got up to the alarm at 7:30 on this Saturday. OK, sure, that's better than 4:30 for dog agility, but the operative phrase here is "got up to the alarm." Bleaaaahhrrrr.

Dogs were excited, though, because 98% of the time when I get up to the alarm, it means DOG AGILITY YAYYYYY!!!! My goal was to be out the door by 8:30, showered, dressed, breakfasted, with lunch and supplies in hand. And, according to the official Taj MuttHall clock, yay!, I made it!

Had my official TMH purple leather gloves, knee pads, and my official Salinas/Monterey Agility Racing Team water bottle ready to go, so it would be almost exactly like being at an agility trial, at least as far as water bottles are concerned.

Dogs drooped miserably when I left them at home. Poor babies. But thistle would not go well with dogulouses.

...But wait--! MUTT MVR's official clock says that is is 8:41! Where did those 10 minutes vanish?

Ha ha, I always set MUTT MVR's clock ahead by 5 to 10 minutes to help me make sure to get places on time. Maybe it works. There have been no scientific studies to prove it.

I get to the open space place on time after just under an hour's drive, and we spend nearly 4 hours pulling the nasty stuff.

Now I'm home, dogs inform me that they're bored, I have photos photos photos backlogged everywhere plus am a little sleepy from getting up to the alarm bleaaaahrrrrr. So if you'd like to see more photos (about 20 total) and commentary, you will have to pop over here.


  1. Lovely photos, but this looks like a TON of work! Hope you get to sleep in on Sunday!

  2. Yay!!! I believe that the Yellow Star Thistle is not only listed as an invasive alien, but as a Noxious Invasive Alien species.


    Eons ago, when I went to Carizzo Plain Natural Preserve (way before it got National Monument status), there were signs all over the place about noxious, invasive Yellow Star Thistle.

  3. Sunday I get to go to an open house/brunch! Much easier. :-)

    YST's story is pretty scary. It actually doesn't spread easily until people get involved. Read more here.