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Goodson: Mother's Day Gift

05/07/10 5:55PM By LeeLee Goodson
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(HOST) Mother's Day is nearly here, and commentator LeeLee Goodson has the story of a Mothers' Day gift that she's never likely to forget.

(GOODSON) "I have something for you," my husband said one Mothers' day a couple of years ago. I was really only expecting a card from him and the kids, and maybe a plant for the perennial garden, but he left and returned, lugging a bulky object wrapped in tissue. "Go on, Honey," he said. "Open it." He beamed with anticipation.

I pulled off the tissue to reveal.a 20lb propane gas cylinder, out of which extended a couple of brass knobs and fittings, and a long thin black hose with a sinister-looking metal nozzle at the end. It took me a few moments to realize what it was:.my very own flame thrower.

I should probably explain that I've been waging a one-woman war on burdocks ever since we bought this old farm. If you don't get rid of them before fall, the prickly seeds mat themselves hopelessly in the horses' manes. Not only that, but the horses graze near them and distribute their seeds along with their manure; ensuring a banner crop every year.

So in spring, I go around the pasture and mow to prevent them from going to flower. I do this every couple of weeks throughout the summer, but it's useless. They just grow lower to the ground where mowing can't stop them. I don't like herbicides, so in the fall, after a hard frost, I resort to yanking their tap roots out of the ground - an exhausting, messy job - and take them to the dump so the seeds won't spread. It doesn't matter what I wear while doing battle: I wind up covered with grasping, prickly burdocks.

But now..oh ho... now I'd show them who was boss. The problem was I didn't know how to work my new personal flamethrower and truthfully, it scared me a little. Gregg puffed out his chest and told me he'd give it a test run. He strapped it to his back and headed outside to the nearest patch of weeds. He fiddled with some knobs and when it began to hiss, he clicked a long-handled lighter just below the nozzle. The hiss became a roar and a blue light shot out from the nozzle. Gregg gave me a confident nod, dropped safety glasses over his eyes and turned toward the weeds.

At first, nothing much happened. Then small tendrils of smoke appeared. Gregg swung the nozzle happily side-to-side. The smoke increased, and then suddenly the weed patch erupted into small flames.  Horrified, we watched as it began to spread to the low grass nearby.  I leaped into action and began stamping, and Gregg, who by now had turned off the contraption, did the same. Thankfully it had been a wet spring so the grass didn't take.

After lots of energetic stamping, followed by a thorough soaking with the hose, we retired the flame-thrower to the tractor shed, where it has remained since. So yes, the burdocks may have won that battle. But I feel so special: nothing says "I love you, Mom" quite like the gift of a flame thrower.
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