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Posts Tagged ‘weeds’

I have invited and openly welcomed quite a few weeds into our yard over the past 5 years. A few of my friends shake their heads and can’t quite figure out why I would get so excited about weeds. You know, things like dandelions (taraxacum officinale) and lambsquarter (chenopodium album), or plantain (Plantago major) and purslane (Portulaca oleracea), and those are just a few of the edible and useable weeds I get excited about growing on purpose.

lambsquarter

lambsquarter

Then there is straggler daisy (calyptocarpus vialis). I did a post on it over on my personal blog this past week. There are a lot of mixed reviews on it in my area. Some LOVE it, others absolutely HATE it. That is one weed I wasn’t sure about when we moved here, but then again, it was spreading all through every garden and choking out other things. Once I got it out of the garden areas and started planting the herbs and natives I wanted I was much happier. It took a lot of work to get it out of the places I didn’t want it, but I do like it in my yard. It is a great ground cover.

Straggler Daisy

Straggler Daisy

One weed we struggle with is the Coastal Sandspur (Cenchrus spinifex Cav.) That is one weed I could do without completely.

Sandspur 1Some of the other “weeds” that make up our yard I have spent some time identifying… others, I have not taken the time to figure out yet.

An assortment of "weeds"

An assortment of “weeds” – lambsquarter, henbit, larkspur, thistle and poppy

It is always interesting to see what pops up each year. It is amazing how much it can vary. One year we may have a particularly pesky weed and some very pretty flowering ones and the year after there are new things out there.

Some years I have to pick my battles with things I really don’t want out there. I haven’t come up with a great way to get rid of the coastal sandspurs, other than hand digging them.

Where do you draw the line? What weeds do you embrace?

Sincerely, Emily

You can see what else I am up to over at Sincerely, Emily. The topics are varied, as I jump around from gardening to sewing to making bread or lotion and many things in between.

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We live on 10 acres, mostly pasture with a small stand of evergreens and lined at the edges with wild blackberries.  Our property is a perfect square, with our house smack dab in the middle.  To the north of our farm is a small family run dairy farm.  To the south is my mom’s acrage  To the east is another 10 acre farm that raises beef and sheep.  To the west…well to the west used to be over 50 acres of just open space with a creek and an old dilapidated saw mill.

Now it is a housing development with homes on lots from 1 to 2 acres.   On our Western flank we have 3 neighbors.  It is the #3 neighbor that I will be speaking about today.

As I was driving home the other day I noticed that the blackberries along the fence line bordering #3 neighbor were turning yellow.  I stopped the car and got out to take a look.  As I got nearer it became obvious they had been sprayed with some sort of herbicide (all of our roadways around our town are sprayed the same way so I knew immediately how it looks)

I got back into my car grumbling about the nerve of someone to spray the blackberries on my property.

The next day and the day after that I visited #3 to speak to her about spraying on property that wasn’t her’s.  She was never home.

Meanwhile I have called the county to find out the rules about this.  They were clear that no one had the legal right to spray on another’s property, even if it was blackberries (which if you lived in Western Washington you realize that they are considered a nuisance plant.)

Anyway on the 3rd try I stopped by her daughter’s house at the beginning of the housing developement and was going to leave a message to have her mom call me.

Of course the daughter was concerned about what I was wanting to contact her mom about (I would be to if a neighbor wanted to talk to my mom who lives on her own)

So I proceeded in the nicest way possible to tell her daughter that I was concerned that her mom was spraying my blackberries.  I explained that not only did my kids pick and eat the blackberries all over our property but we also were beekeepers and that these berry bushes were an outstanding source of pollen for them.

I was clear that there no legal standing to do this.

The daughter although polite kept asking me “you mean you want blackberries?”

I explained to her about making jam and gardening organically and feeding bees.

She told me how she and her husband had spent months and months clearing their 2 acres of the native ‘weeds’ so they could put in their expansive lawn and borders.  She certainly didn’t want my blackberries infesting her mother’s equally manicured lawn and she didn’t blame her mom from spraying.  She frankly thought I had a screw loose…

It finally boiled down to yes I want those blackberries and they are on my property and could she please tell her mother to call me when she returned from vacation so I could speak to her.

Why do people want to move to the country and then clear out all vestiges of said country and plant lawns that look just like those in town?

Why would someone think that just because they want to keep their perfect lawns that it could possibly ok to use killer spray on someone else’s ‘weeds’?

Have we come so far from our roots that the manicured lawn is now the norm and I’m the oddball?

Kim can also be found at the inadvertent farmer where she raises organic fruits, veggies, critters, kids, and…a camel!

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On our 10 acres we have just over half in use.  Most of it is pasture for the animals, the orchard, garden, and house occupy the rest.  The remaining land is wild and we have it hayed each year.  We then buy back the some of the hay at a much discounted price.  It works out very well for both us and our neighbor who gets some of our hay for free for his cattle. It also keep the weeds (blackberries specifically) at a young manageable state.  As opposed to the giant vines that would develope if we let the property go. We have been doing this for all 12+ years that we have lived here. 

This year we didn’t get it mowed down.  The summer just got away from us and before we knew it it was to late for hay.  I thought I wouldn’t like seeing the pasture grass all grown up and weedy all winter…

But I have enjoyed standing at the kitchen window and observing all the wild creatures that are using the grass for cover.  Rabbits especially seem to be thriving in the field.  Our local hawks have been circling looking…and finding…rodents.  Even my kids bundle up and go run through it on the way to grandma’s

We won’t let the property go wild every year but for this year it has been fun to see what happens when you just let nature be in charge. Not making hay is a good thing once and a while!  Besides…

It gives me something else to take pictures of, and goodness knows I need to take more pictures…

Just ask my overstuffed computer and extra hard drives!

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