Saturday, September 03, 2011

Tumbling Tumbleweeds

This is a small tumbleweed. The best known of the weeds we have here. These, too, will grow with no water as do all of the weeds we have. The tumbleweed is called that because in the fall when they dry they come loose from the dirt and 'tumble' across the desert with the least little breeze. A wind can send them for miles. They will then stack up against any thing that gets in their way- fences, houses, cars, (they love to go down the roads and get stuck under moving cars and can even catch on fire from the hot undercarriage of the car). Again we fight them constantly as each tumbling tumbleweed has millions of very tiny seeds on them that fall off as it tumbles and will then sprout where ever it falls off. Again this plant is not native to here and the story I have heard is that it is a Russian thistle brought over from Russia about 200 years ago to be raised as cattle feed and as food for people. I have heard that it is a good 'green' if pulled and cooked like spinach soon after it sprouts. If left to long it gets the stickers on it and isn't good for people eating. Horses, cows, sheep, goats will eat them from the time they sprout until there is nothing left of an old, dried-up weed. My horses beg for them when I am pulling them as weeds. They do cause allergies for lots of people when they bloom. Some blooms are a nice shade of blue and almost big enough to be seen. There are several different kinds of tumbleweeds and we seem to have some of all of them.

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