Mandan News

Fighting dandelions

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I can’t adequately describe the dandelions around our cabin at Lake Tschida, but that’s never stopped me from trying before, so here it goes.

Adding the Bairs, Vanderlindens and our front lakeside yards together consumes somewhere over two acres of grass that we mow every year. Imagine, if you can, the scene in the Wizard of Oz where Dorothy and her entourage find themselves surrounded by beautiful flowers for as far as the eye can see and you’ll be close to what our front yards look like when the dandelions bloom out here.

And boy do they bloom this time of year. There’s more yellow than green and dandelions indeed dominate the landscape. Over the years, we’ve learned to try to minimize their dominance, because if we don’t they, literally choke out natural grasses. Once the natural grasses go, the dust and cactus begin to take over, and like folks in town, we prefer grass to cactus and dust.

So we spray the dang things, and here’s my latest adventure into that arena. Neighbor Lance borrowed me his super-duper 15-gallon weed sprayer. As you might guess the super-duper model is mounted on the back of an ATV. Allow me a moment here to describe how that’s accomplished.

Mounting this baby involves tie downs and zip ties and a short prayer that the dang thing won’t slip off the back of the ATV and poison some precious area somewhere.

15 gallons of weed killer weighs a tad or so over 150lbs when full. The super duper model has a pump mounted on the top of its tank. The pump has wires coming from it that need to be clamped onto a 12-volt battery. The wires have a juncture that needs to be plugged in as well as an on and off switch.
In addition, this particular super-duper has two options to spray with. There’s a wand that’s mounted to the back of the tank so a fella can just turn that on and scoot along. Then there’s a hand held wand with about 12 feet of hose, so if a guy wants to, he can actually get off and hand spray tuff at hard to get at places.

So I put on my biohazard raincoat, the yellow one, and headed off to destroy dandelions. The wind was fairly stiff up by Lance’s house, so I decided to try the hand held wand. I hit the on button and before I could grab the hand held, the back mounted wand doused me. I had forgotten to turn that one off before using the hand held.

Once I got that under control, I hit the hand held and the throttle on the ATV. The ATV jerked my wand hand into the air and the spray gave me a facial. I spit and swore and tried again. I made a couple rounds of Lance’s yard and backed up to hit a tough spot.

Unbeknownst to me, I managed to back over the hose for the hand held and the wand ripped out of my hand. I immediately tried to back up and the wand was unceremoniously crushed by the ATV’s rear tire.

I immediately let some profanity escape, hopped off the ATV, picked up what was left of the wand, pulled the trigger and shot myself in the chest.

In order to shut the dang thing off, I had to find the right valve, I found a valve and opened it so the back spray wand could soak my shoes before I realized that I should have went for the electrical switch first.

And the upside here is that after soaking myself with liquid dandelion killer, I’m still here to tell ya about it … here’s hoping you survive whatever quagmires you get yourself into too …