Grass is growing, along with weeds, and moisture is plentiful. Couldn’t ask for more! As we run the highways and byways of East Texas, lots of thistles are evident. These pests are easy to control, if we get an early start. A sharp hoe can work wonders on just a few thistles, with chemicals needed for larger infestations. The old standby Roundup works well along with 2,4-D formulations. Spray or chop out the thistles before they start to head and drop seed — if not, next year will bring more of the invaders.

Over 5,000 Texas farms and ranches have been honored with the Family Land Heritage award over the past 44 years. The program is set up to bring recognition to those land holdings, and their owners, who have been continuously in agriculture for over 100 years. And now, a growing number of properties that have been under family ownership for 150 and 200 years are being honored. Applications for the recognition in the 2018 registry are due by May 1 and are on the Texas Department of Agriculture website. The farm or ranch must have been in the family for over 100 years and operated by family members during that time.

Spring is cattle working time. Branding, vaccinating, ear tagging, castrating, and deworming of the bovines is underway. Also early gardens are looking good and will offer some table-ready taste treats very soon. Gopher control is also on the minds of many homeowners. The underground menaces are a destructive influence on grass and lawn mowing equipment. For just a small area, hand probes work well with the addition of the treated grain sorghum baits. Just probe the ground until the gopher run in found — add the bait and cover the entrance hole. For larger areas, the tractor mounted “gopher machines” are a must. And rather than investing in a machine you can call your own, most farm supply outfits will rent the machines and sell the baits.

On the subject of pests, getting a handle on wild hog numbers is a constant concern of landowners. And right now, the porky enemies are damaging more and more hay meadows, pastures and home lawns. A wild pig seminar coming up Friday, April 20 in Overton at the Texas A & M Center will be offering lots of information about hog control. It starts at 8:30 a.m. and lasts till noon. Cost is $10 a person. Call (903) 236-8429 for more details.

The political climate continues to grow and fester with radical elements of our citizenry adding fuel to the fires daily. Caught in the middle are the folks in law enforcement doing their best to control the lawbreakers. But as long as there are morons with I-phones capturing every little thing in our daily lives and sharing their “scoops” round the world, the mess will continue! 

Horace@valornet.com