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Thursday, April 18, 2013

Brutal Winds Bring Attack of the Tumbleweeds

2012 On the plains in Northern Arizona, two families joined forces and began the trials and tribulations of building a small family farm with nothing in the bank but love.

Burn tumbleweeds burn!
I wish I could capture the wind in a photograph to share. Even the dust blowing doesn't tell the story of how brutal it's been. Lance was sure the greenhouse was going to get uprooted and blown away. He and Frank grabbed everything they could think of to add extra weight to hold the frame in place. We had two days of really high velocity wind and when it was all over, Lance came up with a reinforcement idea that works. We've had two more days of awful wind and all is well. There are still a few finishing touches for the greenhouse before it's in use.

As tall as Frank.
We're in the middle of the Tumbleweed Wars. This will go on for at least another month. We no sooner get them all gathered up and burned when the wind comes up and our fences are lined with the scourge again. They look so messy to me. I hate them. And they're stickery.

Apple blossoms
If you've read my blogs from the beginning, you'll know that in our first spring last year I took suckers coming from the bottom of our fruit trees and ended up with fifteen new trees. From what I read, a fifty percent survival rate is common. At the end of summer, I was well above that and pretty dang happy. I didn't know that over the winter they were food for rabbits. Last year, I
Look close - it lives!

never saw a rabbit on our property. I suppose they'd moved out when the place was empty for so long. But they rediscovered us. I thought I might lose most of them. Not so! I started watering them and only a couple are lost to the damage. I think I'll get the fifty per cent survival rate. Although, as I type, we're due for a freeze tonight so not sure what that will do. We're more concerned for our big trees. Could be sad tomorrow.

Straps are now on the greenhouse.

Exhaust fans are in place.


  1. Farm living certainly brings on a different array of problems, but your family has risen to the occasion like warriors!! Good luck with your trees, fingers crossed Mother Nature will start to show some kindness :)

  2. Baby tumble weeds are edible for people, too. My sister knew someone who would use a brick to hold down the mature tumbleweed that made it to her yard and then eat them when they were little as a salad type food.

    1. Power to your sister, Judy. Doesn't sound like my kind of food. But curious - does she eat them before they die, when they're first growing?

  3. I was always charmed by the idea of tumbleweeds, Brenda, until I arrived in AZ and got tangled up in a tumbleweed migration that poked a hole in the radiator of my car. Now, I feel the same way as you about them. The wind is still wicked here in the valley this morning, I can just imagine what it's like up where you are. Keep the hatches battened. :-)

    1. Wow, Mackenzie - they really do attack. LOL Still windy here too.

  4. Praying for your trees, big and baby. The rabbits feast on my rose bushes in the winter nibbling the bark off, and every spring they come back fine. As for the tumble weeds, uff-dah.

  5. Hi Brenda, Love your post on tumbleweeds and rabbits. Here in Oregon my enemy is the Eastern Grey Squirrel who ate a whole through the metal protective screen of my heat pump and the wooden cornices on the eaves of my house. I used to travel to my aunt's in Eastern Washington to get a couple of medium size tumbleweeds to decorate them for Christmas - having read your post and the comments, I'm wondering if AZ has a mutant vareity of them? lol.

    1. Squirrels can be such a bother, Judith. I think they're so cute but they can be so destructive. We had them everywhere in MN. Mutant tumbleweeds - love it!