Jacque Marshall

The Calhoun Triangle

If you like to swim as I do, and enjoy "wild" water (as opposed to swimming pools), Minneapolis is great. Zillions of city lakes (land of ten thousand lakes, and all that), many with public beaches (though I find "beach" an odd term for something the size, and often the consistency, of a back-street roadhouse parking lot).

Back in 1981, my preferred swimmin' hole was Lake Calhoun.

Being as the water is "wild," though, it's neither chlorinated nor filtered, and it's out in the full glory of the summer sunshine, so stuff grows in it.

Which is great for the anglers. Probably also for the fish. Not so much for the swimmers. See, there's this stuff that's like the home acquarium version of California kelp. Kelp is great, if you're an otter. Or a snorkeler. Or a tourist at the Monterey Bay Acquarium. Very picturesque. But swimming through the miniature version, when it's had a really good summer's growth, is just plain disgusting. It's like trying to pinwheel through tinsel, except instead of hanging delicately from the boughs of a Christmas tree, it's rooted firmly in the muck at the bottom of the lake. So, in addition to being snagged like a trout in a net, it feels like there's a whole concert stadium full of little Gollum fingers, trailing along your body. And they need to trim their damp, bendy little nails, too.

So, um, yuck.

In any event, this phenomenon is enough of a problem that, late in the summer, like any city anywhere, city services comes by and removes the weeds. And they do this, I kid you not, by mowing the lake. With an actual lake mower. That, you know, mows. Lakes.

It's an obvious thing, once you've seen it in action. But little ol' me, growing up in the semi-desert of the Colorado Front Range, I was kind of boggled. Who knew?

Weeder's Digest (yes, really!) carries the EcoHarvester, for all your lake weeding needs.
©Weeder's Digest. Used with permission.

ETA: I didn't realize this until the fine folks over at Weeder's Digest asked me if I work for them, but there is an actual company named Lake Mower. However, they do not, so far as I can tell, carry anything comparable to the EcoHarvester, so I suspect that's why they didn't turn up in my initial Google search.

—5 December 2015

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Updated: Sun Dec 13 03:59:18 EST 2015