Powell County, Montana: Dandelion Spring (Taraxacum officinale)

Here in Deer Lodge, Montana, the county seat for Powell County, spring 2019 is owned by the mighty dandelion, Taraxacum officinale. In my back yard, at least, that is undeniably true. There are multiple reasons for this profusion of yellow, green, and–after the flowers have gone to dandelion fluff seed–grayish white.

1. I love dandelions. It doesn’t do me a lot of good. I still have to mow them as flat as possible in order to fit in with the rest of the neighborhood. Which I will do.

2. Poisons worry me. Supposedly, herbicides won’t harm our local cats, birds, or other small creatures, but we all know about that word “supposedly.” During my first year as a commercial casualty underwriter for a major insurance company in its Spokane, Washington, branch office, I inherited a file on a central Washington farmer we insured. There was a horrifying claim in with the rest of the paperwork. A ten year old boy had gone traipsing through a sizeable wheat field, not long after the field had been sprayed for weeds. He dropped dead before he got to the other side. Autopsy revealed that the herbicide had penetrated his skin in sufficient amounts to kill him stone cold dead on the spot.

The chemical companies don’t mention things like that in their advertising. Oh, sure, they’ve got federally required warning labels on there now, but how many of us read them? Or take them seriously?

Anyway, I’m hesitant to spray.

3. Dumb lawnmower won’t start. It’s a Honda, nearly new–had the same problem last year when brand new, ended up mowing the lawn (not a huge lawn, either) maybe four times, total, in between trips to the small engine shop in town. The problem? The automotatic choke system. At best, the mower cuts great when it’s running, but shut it down even once after first start and forget about it. Then sit for a winter and now it won’t even fire. Dynamite to share, anybody? Back in the day, manual chokes worked just fine unless you got carried away through ignorance or inattention and flooded the carburetor. The new systems supposedly know better than mere human beings. Yeah, right. I’ve got three vehicles in the driveway: The 1998 van-type (Class B) motorhome used for Arizona runs, my beloved 1996 GMC Sierra pickup truck, and the vintage 1970 Chevy Impala. The Impala had an electric choke but I insisted on manual when changing brands last summer. Most of the time, all three vehicles start well. In subzero weather, the manual choke Chevy beats the other two hands down. My point? Laziness rules, no new ones without automatic chokes, gr-r-r-r!

Rant complete. Will be consulting with our local ACE Hardware folks tomorrow. In the meantime, how about some Dandelion Spring photos? Might was well take a few pics before a working mower goes to work.

These are weeds? Not in my book! Nothing prettier than dandelions for those with the eyes to see.

The early bee gets the pollen. This was the only bee I saw in the entire yard.

Pansies? Petunias? Betcha Becky will set me straight….

There’s another reason I’m hesitant to poison the lovely dandelions. Namely, without them, that back lawn is pretty cotton-picking sparse, at least over much of the area. There are, admittedly, a few spots filled in with “real grass,” but…. I was out of state for a couple of weeks, too. Gave the ‘lions lots of time to go to seed. As a child, did you enjoy the pastime of blowing dandelion seed fluff to the winds? No? Too bad. Beats device addiction by a mile.

Real live actual grass, who knew?

Dandelion fluff, ready for puffing to the wind.

Harvey Cat, another lover of Dandelion Spring.

Okay, one more trio of photos and we’ll wrap this up. I need to get to bed so I can get up early and go find a dandelion murder machine that actually works.

Dandelion Field of Dreams.

Humans love gold, right? Doesn’t get much more golden than this, right? Therefore, humans love dandelions. Debate logic.

Harvey agrees.

And a happy Taraxacum officinale to you, too.