Opinion

The Johnson Grass War

Sunday, October 1, 2006

Back in 1892, a conflict occurred in Wyoming over the use of open range. The large ranchers hired some killers from Texas, numbering 50 strong, to head into Johnson County, Wyo., to challenge the small ranchers. The result was several innocent deaths and a sheriff gathering up a posse of 200 men, which cornered the hired guns. This conflict became known throughout history as, "The Johnson County War."

Right here in Bourbon County, we have our own version, but it could be titled, "The Johnson Grass War." Johnson grass, having been declared a noxious weed, invades and tends to flourish along roadsides and low-lying areas subject to flooding. In my case, this particular war continues to be a struggle. First were the hired killer chemical applications, which had some success in allowing the native grass to get started, but in the flood plain, the Johnson grass kept coming back. Then followed a period of regular mowing in an effort to keep the grass from going to seed.

Apparently, there is still hope in this battle, as my youngest son reported to me that there is a new sheriff in town that they have outstanding success with in Missouri. It goes by the name of "Outright," and, according to him, the Johnson grass stays dead when sprayed with this answer to the "war."

Regardless of the outcome, I am ready for some sort of a peaceful end to this battle. My main fighter, the 1952 Allis Chalmers, seems to be growing older and weaker in this struggle. Come to think of it, so am I.