One challenge we have when it comes to high winds is tumbleweed.  It’s evolved to roll and spread seeds, which is why it detaches and takes off when you have a gust.  They don’t see this back east.

Between the plastic bags, dust, and snow blowing across the landscape, tumbleweed pose a very unique regional problem.  A friend in Rupert is married to a man who repairs cars.  He gets a great deal of business after windstorms, often repairing radiators.  Pieces of the weeds can pierce the coolant system when we’re driving.  I almost had this happen a few years ago.  Driving with a friend to Gooding County, we encountered herds of bushes rolling down the Interstate.

When we got to our stop, I had a big piece of tumbleweed lodged in my grill.  We had slowed down to 50 on the highway and followed a tractor-trailer as a shield.  It wasn’t a foolproof plan.

One hazard posed is to traffic.  Another is posed to homes and barns.  The weeds can pile up as high as a roof and are very flammable.  You can clear them away and then within minutes, you can have more.

I’ve written before that tumbleweed isn’t a native species.  Seeds arrived in a shipment from the Russian steppe back in the late 1800s and started blowing across the Dakotas, making its way west.  Scientists fear it may force a lot of native grasses off the land.  Cattle can feed on the weeds, but it’s not their best possible diet.

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Jeffrey Epstein's Cabin in Northern Michigan

Gallery Credit: George McIntyre

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