As he drives through the area, Dan McCloud is always searching for his elusive prey. Some years it’s where he’s discovered it before. Other times, he has to drive on, always keeping an eye out for it. McCloud is a dock hunter. “Dock,” as he refers to it, is a term for Rumex crispus, a weed that grows in fields, ditches and numerous other locations. It’s also called sour dock, curly dock, yellow dock and narrow dock. “You always look for it,” said McCloud, a seasonal city employee. “Kind of like pheasant hunting.” The names may not be familiar, but Mitchell residents have almost certainly seen lots of dock. It’s used as a trim material to complement the Corn Palace murals. In addition to dock, rye and brome grass also are used to frame the murals. Today, crews will begin to remove the trim erected last summer as the first steps are taken to give the Corn Palace a new look. Dock is taken from fields and ditches, twisted into a bundle and tied off with the same kind of metal ties that are used to link rebar.
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