Pat Shingleton: "Pig Weed and Mrs. O'Leary..."
We’re getting closer to harvest time in South Louisiana including sugar cane and soy beans. Farmers in Arkansas continually struggle with a menacing weed that is compromising the cotton crop and its called... “Pig Weed.” Pesticides that originally controlled the weed are no longer effective. Experts declare it uncontrollable as it chokes more than a million acres of cotton and soybeans. Some farmers have spent more than $500,000 fighting a plant that won’t die. Pig weed grows three inches a day and is as big as a baseball bat at its base. It not only kills crops but destroys the blades on combines and cotton pickers. A new, engineered herbicide has been introduced. In closing, Professor Increase A. Lapham was instrumental in creating the national weather service in 1870. As an assistant to the chief signal officer under the U.S. Army Signal Service, Lapham chronicled an extremely dry weather pattern in Chicago. He noted, “Unusual dryness has pervaded the atmosphere during the past two months; …rainfall has been less than the average and evaporation considerably more. Very little rain has fallen upon the extended region since August.” Due to these conditions a great fire started on this date at 9:30 p.m. in or near a barn behind the home of Patrick and Catherine O’Leary at 137 DeKoven Street in southwest Chicago. Legend suggests it was Mrs. O’Leary’s cow that caused the inferno when it kicked over a lantern; proven to be a fabrication.