Cactus Forking

posted on Monday

Not a word combination that comes often to mind.

prickly pear

But the agility area is rife with a low-lying prickly pear and hoo boy, it’s gotta go.  It starts with the hoe:  lift the flat pads of the winter-shrunken cactus with hoe, find that tap root…and then just the right, swift combination of hack-n-slice.  Prickly pear be gone.

Actually,  that’s when the hard part starts.  Because what then?  Can’t leave the things lying around.  For one thing, they’ll just root where they are.  For another, then they’re still…well, lying around!

But by golly, don’t go picking the things up.   The spiny scary parts aren’t even the problem–it’s the horrid little hooked fuzzy spines that you never see until it’s too late.  No matter what.  No, leather gloves are no protection.  Maybe I’ll try kevlar sometime?

So today I discovered a new use for a trusty old tool…my half-size manure fork.  It used to be assigned to yard duty when Duncan grazed in Flagstaff and ABQ’s South Valley (“mowing the lawn” had nothing to do with machinery), but here, it has no such use.

However, the poo fork (because yes, I am too lazy to say “manure fork” more than once) has now found new life!

Behold!  The Mighty Cactus Fork!

harvested prickly pear

I might even be smug and satisfied, if it weren’t for the juniper nursery located behind and to the left of where I stood to take this picture.  I’m kinda getting the feeling that the hoe and the cactus fork aren’t quite gonna do the trick…

juniper nursery


Quick! Don’t look at the Scary! Turn around instead! It’s…


The Mighty Cactus Fork

Much better.

About Doranna

My books are SF/F, mystery, paranormal romance, and romantic suspense. My dogs are Beagles, my home is the Southwest, and the horse wants a cookie!
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4 Responses to Cactus Forking

  1. Elizabeth says:

    My cactus removal tools include machete, hoe, barbecue tools (both tongs and forks) and feed sacks. The spines don’t *appear* to go through multilayer heavy paper quickly.

    A tough job, though, no matter how you do it. Given that the dogs will be using the agility yard, I’d suggest finding some old piece of soft cloth–a big old cotton blanket would be about right–and using it to pick up loose spines that may well be in the dirt. Lay it down, roll a drum of something over it, move and repeat–and then discard the material in the trash, because if there are spines, one side at least is going to be thick with them. We have a kind of prickly pear that readily sheds its little spines if jostled. Not all do.

    • Doranna says:

      Hi, Patty! Twenty-something guys definitely have their uses. Eight bucks an hour…hmmm, I wonder how fast he would plow through the juniper nursery? Haul and spread transfer station shreddings over the muddy areas? Hmmm…

      Lots faster than me, I’ll betcha.

  2. Doranna says:

    Feed sacks! Yes!

    But not until I find me some of those BBQ tools…

    Fortunately, these cactus (cacti?) seem pretty possessive about their spines. Except for those baby fine hairs. *shudder* Get close to those, and they’re suddenly embedded like little porcupine quills crossed with fiberglass insulation.

  3. Patty Wilber says:

    My solution: hire a 20 something guy for 8 bucks and hour and let HIM be spined. (I can supply the phone number…but you have to hurry because eventually he will become a fireman and will no longer work for peanuts…think there’s a +/- 6 month window). I acutally don’t have much cactus, but got him to remove a dead tree today. Last week it was move 2 feeders, replace a busted spigot support (It worked–horses snapped the spigot support and drum roll…the spigot was STILL STANDING!), raise a gate (also a smash victim–someone forgot to stop), and work on the footing in the round pen. He cleared a lot of cholla at a friends, so he is exspinienced. I tried to make that funny…..

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