I like your tumbleweed page!

Tumbleweeds are a real nuisance here in southeastern Washington. After we moved into our house, about 40 acres directly behind us was scraped of native growth and in one corner, a small grove of cherry and apricot trees. We've been able to watch the entire process from scraping the soil to the building of about 125 houses, with laying of sewer lines, etc. in between. Until this development came along, our backyard bordered on an area of native sagebrush and rabbitbrush, with the orchard in view in the distance.

An odd change of events led to us (and everyone along our side of the street) getting our property line extended back by 25 feet. We moved our fence back to the new property line, but the extra 2500 square feet in my back yard was disturbed soil (see and the Russian Thistle (aka tumbleweed) had a grand time taking over. Everyone I asked for advice on how to get rid of it said to use chemicals. Instead, I spent many hours pulling the little and not so little plants. They are soft and pretty at first, but get prickly as they grow. It's been a few years now and I've got other stuff growing back there, so I only rarely find a new baby tumbleweed.

The local folklife society hosts an annual Tumbleweed Music Festival and Songwriting Contest.
It is a wonderful weekend of music on the banks of the Columbia River, and sometimes actual tumbleweeds blowing around.

Mary Ellen

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In a message dated 5/2/2005 11:54:49 AM Mountain Daylight Time,
nellebelle@... writes:

but the extra 2500 square feet in my back yard was disturbed soil (see



This doesn't quite count, but I decided years ago that I would consider
myself "real" if someday I was a footnote in a book. I've been named in credits
and acknowledgements (once by my SCA name, and misspelled, and that was
funny), and I've been in a couple as a kind of guest-person, but just a footnote,
that's the big one.

You got 25 feet in back of your house! COOL!

It was in a geology class that they told us about the local growth patterns.
It helps geologists to know how long ago the surface was disturbed (or not)
and it also helps with paleontology, though that wasn't the topic at the
time. If you know the local flora you can figure out how long things have not
been dug up or eroded away. And around Albuquerque the primary growth (after
the bulldozer or road grader) is tumbleweeds and goatheads. Secondary is
certain quick but tacky kinds of grasses, and ragweed (which horses will eat if
they can, but if it's on the shoulder of a road they can't), and I forget
what else. Nobody wants that stuff, really, but it's better than tumbleweeds
and goatheads, and eventually will keep the tumbleweeds and goatheads from
getting a chance to get hold. Then longterm plants will take over and keep the
secondary stuff from planting. Those things depend on the region. And if
you know how long they live, you can date the area's condition and stability.

Tadaa.... something I learned in college that mattered to me always.


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