I'm having issues with the shaggy grass at Red Haw State Park, just east of town. This is not a complaint, nor even a lament --- I'm just having issues.
I understand why acres of lawn sweeping down to the lake have been allowed to grow up this year. The number of seasonal state park workers, the gals and guys who mow the grass, maintain the trails and clearn the restrooms --- has been cut as an economy measure from the usual 250-300 to 143 and their allocated hours, from 180,000 to 74,000, according to a June 2 Iowa DNR news release. So maintenance at all of Iowa's state parks has taken a hit because of budget woes.
And philosophically at least I agree with the idea we mow too much grass in general publicly and privately and that to naturalize is a good thing.
Still, my mind's eye is accustomed to seeing acres of mown grass stretching out under the trees and down to the water far beyond the smaller mown areas that now surround shelter houses, restrooms and a few of the picnic tables.
It's a little like driving by what until last year had been a showplace farmstead and noticing that the lawn hasn't been mown, a window has been boarded up and the paint is beginning to peel. I hope that doesn't happen at Red Haw and our other state parks.
On the other hand, the Red Haw trails are dryer now and have been well maintained. That's a plus.
A minus is the musk thistle (Carduus nutans L.) up top, looking so pretty right by the circle drive near the main shelter surrounded by newly shaggy grass. And I noticed quite a few of these growing in the prairie area south of the woods, too.
As pretty as they are, musk thistles are not native, are highly invasive and extremely hard to get rid of once established. So they need to go. I thought briefly about knocking this one down myself, but then decided I'd better not. Maybe thistles are part of the new DNR park management plan and I'd hate to interfere.
I don't like to dwell on bathroom topics, but I'm having shampoo issues, too. I ran out the other day, so visited the hair-care wall at the HyVee Pharmacy while grocery shopping Thursday.
I don't think about my hair very much. It's still there, it continues to grow and I like to wash it once a day (at least) while showering. Beyond that, it just flies around up there on top of my head and I try to run a comb through it before going out in public.
So I have trouble understanding why hair-care walls are needed --- and HyVee's wall is modest when compared to the hair-care aisles in the big-box stores.
I have no idea if my hair is fine or course, dry or extra-greasy, or why I should care. All I really want to do is find something that doesn't stink (if it does, It'll make me sniffle, cough and sputter until it's gone, not to mention attracting flies) and that costs $5 or less.
Standing prayerfully before the hair-care wall I usually panic. You could spend hours here reading label and instructions and trying to figure it all out. So I tend to grab Johnson's Baby Shampoo because it's all I recognize, my Aunt Mary Krutsinger swore by it and it seems to work just fine --- for under $5.
I got into the shower this morning, but forgot to grab the new shampoo off the bathroom counter. Sloshed out to get it and got back under the shower. Discovered that the bottle was sealed with some sort of foil under the cap. Got the cap off with soapy hands, but couldn't manage the seal. Used my teeth. Got a mouthful of Johnson's Baby Shampoo. It didn't taste that bad.