Goatheads

A goathead is a sticker that's very very common in New Mexico. They grow where tumbleweeds grow (where the ground has been disturbed, and the easy weeds can grow), but they're very, very different.


In the vacant lot behind our house, two little blooms, June 19. Each bloom will become a cluster of stickers. I think they come three per cluster, but I've not ever really examined a scientific sample of them. They're WEEDS! This year I shall be scientific.

One is growing next to a lily plant in my yard. Those in the sun and on flat dirt lie close to the ground. Those where they're getting water stand up.

I wasn't scientific that year. I forgot. Since then others have made goathead pages, though, and those are below.

Cameron Lovejoy visited a couple of winters back, and we wanted to show him goatheads. The plants were all brown, but that's when the stickers get ready to travel, when they're all dried up.

I had never once before that tried to gather goatheads, but I knew just what to do. Some of us put on flip-flips even though it was cold and we walked out into the vacant lot behind our house. We took a chair and a little jar. The photo shows a basket, too. We gathered wood while we were out there. Wood scrounging is a part of our household economy, and it's community service to clean up vacant lots, right? Maybe.

So we should've taken two chairs and maybe some tweezers, or extra shoes and just take off the stickery shoes and carry the back to the house, to the light. But as I say, it was my first harvesting attempt. Kirby and I wore flip-flops, but what shows in the photo is the bottom of Marty's boot. It was flat rubber, and that photo shows he's picked up eighteen or twenty. Our shoes were softer and did less damage to the stickers. (How weird to be writing about trying to gather them without damaging them.)

Sorry about the woozy angle. That's the back corner of our house, behind Cameron. For those who know Albuquerque, Sandia Bowl would be off to the right, and Juan Tabo Blvd. was behind us.


Other people's descriptions:

This has fun close-up photos. Socorro Fat Tire Cycling

Seems innocent, doesn't it? Just a few stray, ground-hugging weeds overgrowing the middle of the road. Nothing to worry about! You've jumped stumps higher than your helmet. You've descended rock-strewn cliffs that would scare a mountain goat. You are not afraid of mere weeds!

You . . . will . . . be . . .


Goatheads are basically tetrahedral in shape, meaning that--no matter how they fall to the ground, no matter how they get kicked around--they will always have a spike pointing straight up into your tire. (and there's a photo to go with that)

Another bicyclist warning others about goatheads here barbwired.com/andy/PunctureVine.
Here's a site selling weevils to kill "punctureweed," and goathead-proof dog shoes They also has a good page on how and where goatheads grow, and some photos.


SLIGHTLY related... Goathead Records "a non-hierarchical, independent, radical record collective which plans to do a lot more than just put out records"
Nice art on their facebook page, and the video at the link above has an animated hot air balloon gag, plus my daughter speaks a bit on the video at their indiegogo page.

It's a good cause, if you like to support local musicians and people learning skills just because they want to!


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