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CULT:Tumble Weeds

  • Subject: [iris-photos] CULT:Tumble Weeds
  • From: "Neil A Mogensen" neilm@charter.net
  • Date: Wed, 16 Mar 2005 09:50:23 -0500

Your photograph makes me just a bit homesick, Jeanette.
There's nothing more fun than setting fire to a great pile of Tumbleweeds.  They practically explode.  Gathering up a bunch and setting them over into the fire as it dies down has singed many an eyebrow and made a jacket smell like a hot steam iron had just gone over it.  --One does not wear polyester doing this job.
More than one fenceline has collapsed from a drift of tumbleweeds catching on the barbed wire.  The wind pressure on the accumulated mass exceeds the strength of the split black locust or western Juniper fence posts often used--both incredibly strong woods.
These pesky weeds do have an ecological asset, however, as their tap root goes deep and brings much needed micronutrients to the surface.  These accumulate both under the weed as it sheds its tiny, transient leaves, and then later in the areas where the tumbler finally comes to rest and disintegrates or is burned.
The skin burns and stings from the oils in the plant when one tries to handle it.  The very sharp, small spines at the leaf-node scars cause one to dress well and take great care in handling the dang things.
Neil Mogensen  z 7 western NC mountains, but born and raised in country much like that shown in the photo on the Idaho-Oregon border.

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