Wednesday, May 31, 2017

tumbleweed and a success



Russian thistle found its way to this country, and many others, from the steppes east of the Ural Mountains. Tumbleweeds are a classic sight out west. But they are not something you want on your property.
Every winter the plants die and the stems become brittle. At some point, a stiff wind will break the stem and the plant will begin to roll, and roll, and roll; scattering thousands of seeds. Not good. Tumbleweed can be a big problem, piling up against fences, houses, whatever, clogging arroyos, and becoming a fire hazard (they are bone dry and filled with air pockets). Pretty much a worthless, no good plant. Easily spread and most difficult to kill.
The Department of Agriculture in Washington first became aware of a strange plant in 1880. There were reports coming in from farms in South Dakota. There are accounts from some areas, in the late 1890’s that many farmers were driven from their homes on account of the weed. In only 20 years, Russian thistle covered an area of roughly 35,000 square miles.
Presently, it’s in every state except for Alaska and Florida; it’s even been found in Hawaii. And from Russia, it has spread throughout dry areas of Europe and Asia. Australia, Canada, Argentina, South Africa are all infected with the weed.

For years, scientists from around the world have been working on a fix. They have been experimenting with pests, mites, weevils, moths, and fungi that prey on the weeds. Sounds like a possibility, but I seem to recall stories of a fix, turning into a problem.

Tumbleweed is like a roadrunner, a southwest classic. If only we did not have to live with it.

After my surgeon saw the CT results, she called me and left a voice mail letting me know the results. She said there was no sign of metastatic disease. When I listened to the voice mail and didn’t know what metastatic disease was, I called Lynn and she looked it up on the web. Pinball started reading a paragraph about it and when she was done, I told her about the surgeon’s message. Oh man, did I get an earful for not letting her know up front that I did not have it. Topped off with being called a name which I hadn’t heard her use before. Oops. I wasn’t thinking, only focusing the meaning of the term. Not having a thought what Pinball might be thinking as she read the description (it went on and on, and all bad). This is what’s called a mistake.
But we sure had a good laugh about it afterwards. Lynn was SO relieved that I did not have the cancer spreading. As I later learned, and could have guessed, she shared the story with a number of her friends.

On the 24th, I had a 5-hour surgery to take out the ‘very large bulky mass.’ Having read my medical records, my surgeon sure seemed to warrant her fee. I hope that was my last bout with cancer, twice is enough. The 14 staples will be taken out tomorrow (June 6 [I pre-dated this upload]). The first week or so sure was painful, even with wearing the support wrap. I’m am SO past ready for this run of medical problems to be over.

Decades ago, many kids were into a Kool-Aid type drink mix that made carbonated beverages (soda water powder). One night back in 1905, an eleven-year-old Frank Epperson accidently left his drink outside and it froze. The next morning, he tried licking it (why!?) and thought it tasted great. He sat on the idea for awhile and in 1923, he decided on a shape for the frozen drink and went with a stick coming out of the bottom. He told his family that he was going to patent the idea and call it, Epsicles (Epp’s icicles). His kids nixed the name; they didn’t call their dad Epp, hence, Popsicles. I love little stories like this.

‘Be curious about everything,
because curiosity generates questions.’
R.S. Karachi


RVwest article ‘Following a Free Spirit’

RVwest article ‘The Spaces Between the Places’

7 comments:

Cabin Adventures said...

Good to hear you are doing okay. We have been following your blog and appreciate very much your honesty. Thanks for sharing your talents.

Cabin Adventures said...

Good to hear you are doing okay. We have been following your blog and appreciate very much your honesty. Thanks for sharing your talents.

Robert L Knowlton said...

Great news Sebastian. I think its time for some miles of dirt roads to pass under those Nash tires, walks with the kitties, and a few hikes to let your spirits renew to the out of doors.
Rob K

Carol said...

Wow, so relieved to hear the cancer has not spread!
Hope you heal quickly so you may press "play" again, and take off the "pause" button!

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Eliza said...

Been reading your blog for a while. Greatly relieved to hear this news. Hope you can turn to new adventures again soon...

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