Chuck Palahniuk

“Old-time ranchers planted cheatgrass because it would green up fast in the spring and provide early forage for grazing cattle,” Oyster says, nodding his head at the world outside.

This first patch of cheatgrass was in southern British Columbia, Canada, in 1889. But fire spreads it. Every year, it dries to gunpowder, and now land that used to burn every ten years, it burns every year. And the cheatgrass recovers fast. Cheatgrass loves fire. But the native plants, the sagebrush and desert phlox, they don’t. And every year it burns, there’s more cheatgrass and less anything else. And the deer and antelope that depended on those other plants are gone now. So are the rabbits. So are the hawks and owls that ate the rabbits. The mice starve, so the snakes that ate the mice starve.

Today, cheatgrass dominates the inland deserts from Canada to Nevada, covering an area over twice the size of the state of Nebraska and spreading by thousands of acres per year.

The big irony is, even cattle hate cheatgrass, Oyster says. So the cows, they eat the rare native bunch grasses. What’s left of them...

“When you think about it from a native plant perspective,” Oyster says, “Johnny Appleseed was a fucking biological terrorist.”

Johnny Appleseed, he says, might as well be handing out smallpox.”


Chuck Palahniuk, Lullaby
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Lullaby Lullaby by Chuck Palahniuk
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