Potatoes, Weeds and Other Ponderings


grass-burrToday was the day that the remainder of the potatoes have been dug out of the garden.  We heard that the forecast said possible rain coming in the next day or so. It was decided that we should probably take that forecast to heart as we cannot count on the days staying as beautiful and mild as they have been.

We have been pretty spoiled with our weather lately. It is great but it makes putting off outdoor tasks, way too easy. We do have to remember we live in the midwest and winter will arrive at some point. So…….today my husband decreed it was potato digging day.

Digging potatoes is always kind of exciting in an odd way.  You plant those “eyes” in the early spring, hoe them, water them (sometimes you water them and sometimes you just wait for God to do that job.), you put grass around them to keep the weeds down and then you wait.  And you wait. You pull some weeds. You pray for rain. You wait some more. You pull a few more weeds.  The plants die (which is a relief because then you figure you can quit weeding!). And finally it is time to dig them up and see what actually grew under there.

I mowed the potatoes last week. Yes, that is right.  I mowed and bagged the area the potatoes were in.  Once the plants die and you quit pulling weeds; you discover a sad fact.  That sad fact is that the weeds do not die at the same time as the potato plants. Those weeds can get quite large and the entire area looks very unsightly and in general…..just a mess. So I mowed and bagged them so we would be able to locate where the potato plants actually were.

I discovered today that it is not the big weeds that get to be the problem.  There are some little grassy weeds that I am sure were dreamt up by the devil himself. Those little weeds are grass burrs.  (I did not know what they were called till today when I googled them.) I am not sure who named those things but, to just call them grass burrs does not do justice to how diabolical they actually are.

The little burr type seed head things are painful.  They are tiny and are round spiny little balls of agony when they stick into your skin.  They like to hook onto the edges of your jeans or stick in your socks and then when you cross your ankles later it is like having someone stick a bunch of needles into your flesh. I really, really hate those things!

I found out as we were digging potatoes just how nasty they were. Many times when I reached down to pick up a spud, unbeknownst to me, there would be one of those little buggers hiding underneath the spud. By the time we were done digging all the hills; my fingers were tingling from all the little “sticks” I had suffered from those burrs.

I think this weed is a lot like “stuff” in life.  It is not always the big things that take us down and cause pain.  Sometimes it is just the accumulation of too many tiny, little hurts and frustrations that finally get to us. It is the things that hide in the odd places and catch us unawares that cause us pain and get us to react in a way that we normally would not.

I guess I am going to have to keep pulling weeds in my garden and in my life.  Even when the potatoes look dead, I need to remember they are still living beneath the ground and still growing. I am finding out there is never really a time to just let the weeds go…..there is never a time to quit weeding, watering and praying. If I do quit, I find it will eventually come back to make life difficult.

Weeds are pulled up by the roots to clear the fields for the growing grain.
Why should not mental weeds be pulled up by the roots also,
and the mind cleared for growth?
~Horace Fletcher
Menticulture, 1895






43 thoughts on “Potatoes, Weeds and Other Ponderings

  1. kindergartenknowledge says:

    Very interesting post and the ending is perfection! I have never, ever planted potatoes, but I hope to plant some when we move to the farm. Help! I had no idea about the grass burrs having a relationship with potatoes! I liked mashed potatoes so much before I knew about the very horrible grass burrs! Maybe I will just have rice!! Do you not have grass burrs in other areas? We have them at the farm…in the pastures. I call them stickers and everyone else calls them grass burrs. I stepped on one recently when we were at the farm. Someone brought it in the house on their shoes or boots and it wasn’t me (I guess). Anyway, I was walking around in the family room straightening things up and I was barefoot…I hardly ever walk around barefoot. I stepped on a sticker and really yelled loudly! It really, really hurt. Those awful stickers!

    Liked by 2 people

    • thechickengrandma says:

      They are usually in the grassy trails along the fields. I was so surprised to find they had invaded my potato area in the garden. I guess that will teach me to keep weeding through the entire season…..even when the spuds look dead.
      I have stepped on them also when they fall off clothing and stick to a rug. Not a fun experience.
      I am thinking when we are eating mashed potatoes this winter the burrs will be a dim memory…..I hope :).

      Liked by 2 people

  2. thecobweboriumemporium says:

    I, and my family call them sticky balls, and they always come into the house via one of our cats. As you rightly say, horrible little buggers.

    I absolutely love this post, Chicken. You team it up so well with the ‘weeds’ in our lives, and how we need not only to weed our gardens, but our lives too. You’re so right.
    GREAT read Chicken. ~ Cobs. x

    Liked by 1 person

  3. peggyjoan42 says:

    We have to dig our potatoes up before long. That weed in your photo does look wicked. Weeds are so hardy compared to vegetables and other food items you plant. Guess every gardener will be pulling weeds the rest of their lives. I have pulled a lot of weeds in my life. Nice post.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Ruthie's Crafting Corner says:

    I sure loved reading this post! Not so much about the burrs! I especially love how you tied the lesson in too! WONDERFUL! I also learned about the mowing and bagging of the plants. Do tell us more, I await learning more about your gardening! In Florida, I lived in a rural country area, we had sand spurs! They are just so evil and painful, that what I get for always being barefoot and carefree 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • thechickengrandma says:

      My garden work is pretty much done for the season. I still have to clean out my chicken coop, apply that “good stuff” to the garden, have my husband disk it in and it is done.
      I would love to hear about your Florida gardening. And yes those burrs are evil on barefeet! I have felt that pain also.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. PaperPuff says:

    I remember digging up potatoes at my grandparents’ in Ireland as a kid. That smell of damp soil and root vegetables still takes me right back there! Great post, with some wise words.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. goldenbrodie says:

    Those burrs sound very nasty. We love and adore potatoes in any form. I buy them in the grocery. Would like to try to grow them but not enough land. I’m scotch-irish and when I was in Ireland this past spring we ate potatoes everyday and loved them.

    Liked by 2 people

    • thechickengrandma says:

      My family does not feel like it is a real meal unless there are potatoes involved. My dad would always joke that when there were potatoes you for sure had to pray before the meal. LOL. Actually he never skipped praying before any meal.


  7. beeorganizedwithpamela says:

    Oh those weeds are so incredibly hard to completely eradicate. They stick to everything. We found them in our yard and we worked so hard to remove them. We pulled old carpet behind the lawn tractor to try to pick them up. (after pulling all that we would see each time before we mowed) Very nice tie in. Weeds are tough. But you know so are we. We are stronger than we know.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Regina, Catchy Sketch says:

    This is so True!
    We used to grow potatoes and other vegetables and my parents are still planting and digging them every year.
    We also have such tiny weeds and foxtails in California and have to throw away our hiking boots after every season as we can’t get these little things out of fabric.

    Liked by 1 person

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