OLD TIMER’S MESQUITE AFFRAY!
By Norris Chambers
mesquite trees bloomed and produced long beans every year. Many animals ate the
beans as if they were delicious. Of
Ranchers and farmers who depended on grass for cattle food accused mesquites trees of robbing the range of space and moisture. They also dropped their thorns on the ground where barefoot kids and tender footed animals could meet with traumatic disaster by stepping in the wrong spot!
depression fighting tactics of the New Deal were begun in the mid thirties the
mesquite tree was on the list of unwanted range clutter. The government would
pay the farmer or rancher to destroy certain unwanted vegetation. This program
was intended to improve the productivity of the land as well as enter more
money into immediate circulation. The prime motivation was to end the
depression and return the country to prosperity. Most of the land owners in our
area were glad to participate in the government programs that supplemented the
meager farm and ranch incomes.
One of my
uncles had several hundred acres of pasture that was infected heavily with
mesquite trees and prickly pears. When he signed the necessary papers to join
the cleanup program he hired us to help. Several methods were approved for
removing the trees. The first plan was simple. Remove the tree and stump
physically. The second process required cutting around the base of the tree
with an axe or hatchet and waiting for the tree to die, then removing it. The
third method seemed like the easiest way. It was only necessary to spray
kerosene completely around the base of the tree. This would also kill the tree.
The trees and stumps were to be removed.
Clearing the prickly pear patches employed a very basic process. We could use an axe, hoe, cross cut saw, sledge hammer scythe, mower or any other convenient tool for removing the pears and tossing them with a pitch fork onto a large bonfire. The roots were to be completely removed from the soil.
Some recent advertisements offering to sell mesquite bean coffee at unbelievably high prices might make you wonder about the wisdom of eliminating the mesquite trees. Other landscapers charging an arm and a leg for decorating your yard with a rock garden might cause you to question the wisdom of destroying so many prickly pear clusters.
But we did have a bundle of profitable fun. Perhaps you should carefully cultivate a few mesquite trees and thorny cactus and then physically remove them. This process is guaranteed to provide a lot of fun!