On Christmas Day, I thought I'd have some fun and spread a little milkweed. A simple, pure gesture. It was an oddly warm day, the soil was workable and as an added bonus, the next day it rained. Those conditions are helpful when planting seeds.
I recorded myself letting the seeds fly in the wind, with my outstretched arm above my sunroof, milkweed pod in one hand, camera in the other. And no, I wasn't driving, lol.
The video is visually appealing, if I do say so myself. Otherwise, it's just a fun, short video. I posted it on Instagram, which feeds into my Facebook (Backyard Columbus) page. I was pretty happy that the IG video has so far received about 11.2k views, which for me, is pretty good! I also posted it to TikTok, just to amuse myself, where it currently has over 58k views. Insert my surprised face HERE! Now Facebook: as of this writing, my little milkweed video has been played over 2.84 MILLION times and has over 2,200 comments. I think "WTH" was literally invented for this milkweed event! In general, people thought it was fun, but I don't even know if I'd say an "overwhelming majority". I've been called an "fu*#ing idiot", a "woke liberal" and "Typhoid Mary". Some hoped I'd get caught in a dark alley, fined, imprisoned or jailed. Wow. This response and anger over milkweed?
As if all that wasn't ignorant enough, some readers didn't understand, well, anything, but two overwhelming comment types were quite the theme:
I'm poisoning livestock
How dare I spread seeds on other people's property
Let's quickly start with the latter....
I was on a public road, out of a suburban neighborhood. Like, in the country. Any milkweed pod - because they're native (we're talking about common milkweed), could pop open and fly about in the air, landing wherever. Every seed doesn't make it and I've never seen milkweed in any field that overtook an area. Which leads me to...
Livestock. OMG - the people who lost their minds about milkweed and livestock. Think of it like this: there's lots of stuff that's carcinogenic to mice, but the amount the lab has to pump into that mouse to give it cancer is alot. It doesn't take long to find articles about yes, the toxicity of milkweed to livestock, but most articles also state that 1) the amount has to be quite large, 2) livestock are in general not stupid and tend to avoid things that make them sick (notice my wording, so don't come at me with a specific cow that died!), 3) livestock will mostly eat other vegetation provided they have it available...which means that in a properly managed field/pasture, it's not an issue. Nature blows milkweed into fields and pastures all the time. You can check out a couple articles HERE and HERE
At the end of the day, I made this video because I thought it would be a fun way to share again how important milkweed is to monarch butterflies (a fact that went over the head of the many haters in the facebook comments). Monarchs only lay their eggs on milkweed, the resulting caterpillars can only eat milkweed and it is the toxicity in milkweed that gives the monarchs a slight advantage over many predators. Whew. All this over a 15 second video...