Weeds gone wild!

tobr24u(z6 RI)August 20, 2012

According to a report on Sunday Morning pigweed and kudzu are out of control. Pigweed is shading out crops in the south and Kudzu has spread from the south thru northern states and has arrived in Canada, Scientists say that climate change is to blame with warmer than normal winters. Will Mother Nature have the last laugh for out impudence? Your thoughts will be accepted in the warm way that you have come to expect...

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sleeplessinftwayne(z4-5 IND)

Well, it did take kudzu more than 45 years. Mother Nature put up a good fight but those seeds trapped in truck tires can travel a long, long way.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 6:36AM
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pnbrown

Both of them are quite nutritious, apropos of failing row-crops.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 6:41AM
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tobr24u(z6 RI)

So a little vinegar and oil is the answer?

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 6:59AM
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jerzeegirl(9)

I'd suggest renaming them too - who would want to eat something called pigweed?

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 7:08AM
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pnbrown

How about amaranth, its real name?

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 7:23AM
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PRO
Brushworks Spectacular Finishes(5)

a nice side dish of pickled pigweed alongside some pigs feet. Soul food at its finest. :)

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 7:28AM
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tobr24u(z6 RI)

Maybe would do something for your soul but not for mine (if I have one)...

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 7:43AM
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esh_ga

If it's not in your yard, people rarely care about what invasive species are doing to the natural areas and waters of our country. No talk of "closing the borders", so to speak. Perhaps we should call these "illegal aliens" and then people would be more concerned about their spread ....

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 7:48AM
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mrskjun(9)

"Southerners just close their windows at night to keep the kudzu out."

Here is a link that might be useful: link

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 7:56AM
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sam_md

Amaranthus palmeri is not exotic, instead it is native to southern US, supposedly once cultivated by Indians. The problem is that over time it has become resistant to Roundup. Same is true with giant ragweed.
What does global warming have to do with kudzu? It is a perennial vine whose extensive root system lives over the winter. It is not unusual for the roots to extend down 6' or more. The winter frost only extends down a couple of inches, the root system below this overwinters w/o problem.
I never understood the claim that kudzu will not live up north.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 8:40AM
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jodik_gw

I am allergic to the pollen produced by ragweed, but I've heard that kudzu is a nutritious livestock feed.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 8:50AM
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david52 Zone 6

Around here, 'pig weed' refers to an introduced-with-the-pioneers-long-time-ago strain of purslane, reputedly the highest Omega 3 'er green leafy veggie around.

I have wheel barrow loads of the stuff. The problem, with its growth habit, is that it picks up sand and dirt very easily. However, chez moi, it grows like a bandit on top the weed barrier I use between crop rows, sending its roots down where I staple the fabric. So its pretty clean when I pick it.

Here is a link that might be useful: link to article on what we call pig weed

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 10:07AM
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esh_ga

The term pigweed usually means Amaranthus in the eastern part of the US. Apparently there is a russian weed called Axyris amaranthoides.

Agriculture goes after weeds that affect crops in a big way (chemicals and now GMO plants that can handle being sprayed with herbicide). But non-native weeds that invade state and national parks are not of interest to many folks. As budgets get trimmed more and more, manpower to fight these invasions is reduced and the weeds will continue to change the landscape of our "natural" areas.

Says someone that just spend two days pulling weeds in a state park ....

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 1:30PM
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pnbrown

Most places, purslane is called purslane, I believe. I have tons of it in my cornfield and keep forgetting to gather any for eating.

The amaranth-family version called pigweed in most of the eastern states more specifically "red-rooted pigweed" to distinguish it from other unrelated weeds called pigweed colloquially, and indeed has a distinctly reddish root, as does cultivated south american grain amaranth. Lamb's quarters is also in the general family and when mature can look pretty similar to the red-rooted pigweed.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 2:59PM
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maddie_athome

Jodi you heard it right--Kudzu is an excellent forage.

Along with Purslane and Amaranth for human forage, so to speak, the 3 should get major attention. I'm sure there are more...

Then there is Hemp. But I digress.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 3:34PM
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nancy_in_venice_ca Sunset 24 z10

Most places, purslane is called purslane

That's what it's called out here.

I wish I had know that it was edible back when I had it invading any ground that I cultivated.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 3:55PM
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subtropix

Weeds do seem much more aggressive than they used to be. The One I absolutely hate above all others is bindweed (second pace goes to ragweed). I used to love morning glories, thanks to this hardy cousin ( bindweed), I hate all these related vines.

Regarding Amaranthus, a neighbor once gave me cuttings from what she called Indian Spinach. It grew very well, then nativized coming up every year as a reddish/purple attractive plant with pretty flowers as well. I knew it was edible but never tried it. It is somewhat weedy, but in my opinion, it is occupying space that other much less desirable plants may easily invade.

Regarding kudzu, not sure if it has made it to NJ yet,but I don't notice it. It is supposedly cold hardy to zone 5, but it does not become an invasive problem in many northern areas supposedly because the growing season is not long enough for it to flower and seed. Lots of plants on the invasive lists behave less aggressively in the North. Having said that, even the current climate around NYC, and Philly shoud be mild enough for the invasive threat, so, if it's not there yet, just wait.

Surprised Poison Ivy has not come up yet. Interesting plant by the way. Supposedly, it will be becoming more potent in a warmer world with more c02. Also interesting is that scientists do not understand why the plant is selectively toxic to people. Animals are not only not bothered by it, they selectively eat it!

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 3:57PM
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kingturtle(Zone 7 GA)

Goats are the best thing for getting rid of kudzu. Maybe we could control over-run goats better than overrun kudzu. I know I have a stand-by arsenal of goats in my bunker to help keep a line of communication open in the event of Climate Change Kudzupocalypse.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 4:09PM
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vgkg(Z-7)

Driving on several of Virginia's by-ways and state routes you'll come across areas where tall trees on both sides of the road are covered up one side and down the other in kudsu. This can continue for a mile or more in some spots. It's like suddenly driving through a tropical jungle with mountainous vines swallowing everything in sight. Triffidville out there.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 5:35PM
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david52 Zone 6

The local pig weed moniker for purslane comes from what happens when you throw an armful into a pig pen. They do seem to like it.

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 5:52PM
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maddie_athome

KT is right. Send in the goats!

    Bookmark   August 20, 2012 at 6:01PM
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sam_md

"KT is right. Send in the goats!" The poster who said that is wrong, again......consider the source :(
Using goats to control invasives is a neat notion to watch on Sunday morning TV. How would that work in the real world? Where would the goats come from, who hauls them back and forth daily, who watches them while grazing, who carried water to them, who keeps them off the highway? are just a few questions, here's another where is the money coming from to contract out herds of goats, lots & lots of goats which sprout wings and can fly up 40-50' to eat kudzu?
The program that the OP referred to recommended goats to kill Phragmites australis which is a circumpolar species. We think an Old World strain is the one that has become a problem. Forget goats, burning is the best way to control this one but burning is not always possible.
This link is about a group of dedicated volunteers who are making a difference. Slowly, inch by inch the Anacostia Watershed is being rid of Phragmites manually. I have nothing but praise for those who volunteer their time to clean up this nasty, polluted site.

Here is a link that might be useful: Anacostia Watershed

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 7:27PM
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david52 Zone 6

There's a fairly decent cottage business around here hauling goats around to weed infested pastures. All you need is a PU truck and a cattle trailer - maybe use an electric fence if the existing fence isn't up to snatch or an unfenced area.

Goats are reasonably tame, one person and a dog can work a herd of 50, put them in a weedy pasture for 2-3 days, and they nibble it all down to nubs.

Driving into town today, I saw one of the outfits at work.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 9:55PM
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marshallz10(z9-10 CA)

Portulaca is esteemed by Hispanics as verdulaga; my guys love to weed beds infested with the weed.

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 10:57PM
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bill_vincent(Central Maine)

Then there is Hemp. But I digress.

And gympson root, sassafras, and so long as cows exist, psyillicyban mushrooms!

Now, what was that about digression? I may not party now, but I wasn't ALWAYS so squeaky clean. :-)

    Bookmark   August 21, 2012 at 10:59PM
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lily316(z5PA)

Bindweed is a problem here, and it can be pretty with all the white flowers. It does look like morning glory. My whole back fence is covered with it, and I can't rip it out till after the tomato garden is done because it entwines. I'm seeing more poison ivy than other years because of the warm winters. I am terribly allergic and never was as a kid.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 2:36AM
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pnbrown

Bindweed is my main weed in florida, when I till the sand. It dominates soils where the decay chain does not work efficiently for any reason, for example, overly wet or dry soils.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 7:43AM
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subtropix

Toxic reactions to poison ivy can change for individuals over time. Supposedly, initial minor reactions to it can become more serious after further exposure. I had a case recently, so I can empathize. I am sure though that this plant will one day some miracle cure for some human ailment!

Bind weed is not my only weed, but it is such a fast grower. It is able to smother my azaleas in a week. Seems like it has an extensive range so must be able to take a lot of different conditions. Lily, they not only look like morning glories, they are in the same family.I hate using chemicals though so I am always weeding!

    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 8:11AM
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pnbrown

Get a book by Charles Walters, "Weeds, control without poisons". You won't be sorry.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 8:19AM
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kingturtle(Zone 7 GA)

"KT is right. Send in the goats!" The poster who said that is wrong, again......consider the source :(
Using goats to control invasives is a neat notion to watch on Sunday morning TV. How would that work in the real world? Where would the goats come from, who hauls them back and forth daily, who watches them while grazing, who carried water to them, who keeps them off the highway? are just a few questions, here's another where is the money coming from to contract out herds of goats, lots & lots of goats which sprout wings and can fly up 40-50' to eat kudzu?

Sam I said that tongue in check - you realize that right? We are joking about the topic. But in fact the use of goats to control kudzu is not uncommon around here in kudzu land. A friend of mine used them to clear a couple of acres at the back of their property. They are used especially in residential and small commercial tracts - right-of-ways, etc where invasives have established. Check out the link and you'll see goats munching happily on kudzu watched by their guard dogs.

From the Atlanta Journal:

Kudzu-eating sheep take a bite out of weeds

As the owner of Eweniversally Green, Cash makes a living helping customers fight off kudzu, ivy and other weeds. His employees? About 100 four-legged friends.

"Primarily sheep and a few well-behaved goats," Cash, 30, said.

Unwanted greenery gets chomped away quickly when Cash brings his animals by. The sheep stay busy, but they don't mind. Plus, the change of location every few days is nice.

"The animals are on really good, lush food," Cash said. "It's like going to a fancy restaurant every day."

Although using livestock to control plant growth is common in rural areas, Cash said he's the only one with a business like his in Atlanta. He grew up in Dunwoody, nowhere near the country, but he's been interested in livestock since he was a child.

Since he started the venture earlier this year, both he and the animals have been busy, going from site to site all over town. Customers are asked to provide water for the animals and to wash all the greenery down. And Cash brings along a temporary, solar-powered fence that goes up quickly to prevent the animals from escaping or getting injured.

Kathie Brown, of Dunwoody, told the AJC she and her husband bought their current home about a year ago, but haven't gotten much use out of the backyard due to poison ivy. Brown said she's tried chemicals in the past to get rid of it, but when a friend mentioned using sheep, she liked the idea. The animals arrived Sunday afternoon and have been chomping away ever since on about a half-acre.

"They demolished the underbrush and the ivy," Brown said. "They were super, super quiet until they started to run low on food."

Brown said her husband, Kevin, cut down more samplings and the animals were happy again. Now, other neighbors are considering hiring the goats. And the Browns have met other neighbors, such as those with young children, since the animals have been in the yard.

"There are three or four of them that enjoy being petted," Kathy Brown said. "He really takes good care of them."

Cash says some of the animals have been rescues, and he takes very good care of his four-legged workers.

"We are a working farm," Cash said. "Our animals are our livelihood, so we do put them first."

The kudzu diet is a healthy one for animals, according to Grantly Ricketts, a University of Georgia extension agent for Fulton County.

"The kudzu is very invasive and it's going to keep growing," Ricketts said. "It's a legume, and animals love legumes."

About the only things the animals won't eat are rhododendrons and azaleas, which can be harmful, Cash said. Eventually, he says he'd like to add even more animals to the business. The goal is 300, he said.

Here is a link that might be useful: All your answers are here

    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 8:39AM
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jodik_gw

Ah, Hemp... that which creates a very durable material, and even without a high THC content, is extremely varied and valuable in its uses.

And then we get to its medicinal uses... it's never worked for me and my ailments, but it's helped so many others with a variety of medical issues, that it, along with several other drugs, should be made legal... in my opinion... and instead of criminalizing them, rehabilitation should be the offering.

I think greed and old fashioned, ingrained social constructs built out of propaganda have a way of keeping the decent, workable ideas from becoming workable. But with propaganda so deliciously ingrained, what can a society expect...

Kudzu apparently grows so fast that it could feed vast herds of livestock... but, but... is there enough profit there to seize that day? I'm guessing not, or someone might have gone there already.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 11:49AM
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kingturtle(Zone 7 GA)

Jodik, did you go to the you-tube link? There are several more examples of this sort of green goat weed removal business across the country. I doubt anyone is getting rich on it but consider that if you already raise goats, this is a way to make alittle money from them while letting them fatten up on free forage.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 12:52PM
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duluthinbloomz4

Thought the Univ. of Toronto, along with the USDA, was looking into kudzu as a possible biofuel source. Apparently the greatest concentration of carbohydrates is in the roots... something like 270 gallons of biofuel from an acre of kudzu. But a six foot deep root makes harvesting a tad more difficult.

But maybe researchers don't want to stand in the way of the fast growing plant for too long - gotta keep moving to keep from being swallowed up.

My wicked weed is Solanum dulcamara - been remiss in yanking it out of my shrubbery. Major operation now!

    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 1:31PM
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jodik_gw

I don't raise goats, KT. They're not my thing. They happen to be here, but they are not part of what I do, here.

I don't usually do Utube, either... it seems to mess with our bandwidth, or something.

I'm getting too old to take on livestock and any type of massive physical labor, so clearing kudzu and other weeds will have to go to someone else. With drought conditions, we're lucky to have pasture.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 2:40PM
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labrea_gw

I have purslane from my garden in the freezer. I add it to salads every now & then.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 5:39PM
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steve2416

I fight Kudzu at my ex's with weekly mowing, every week until it goes dormant. I always bring back a baggie of young leaves to chop into my salads.
At my house, the villain is Wisteria. It grows only slightly slower than Kudzu and is more devious. It will creep through grass at ground level, rooting itself as it goes and putting out more runners that go in search of opportunity. When I bought the Grey Elephant, there was a Crepe Myrtle with a 3" diameter Wisteria vine entwined through it. Pretty tree, beautiful red blossoms and the Wisteria blossoms are purple, very fragrant and loved by bees. Wisteria is in the pea family, makes its own nitrogen with enough to spare for the host trellis. I was naive enough to let it spread and climb the west wall of my 100+ y.o. house. It slipped in through gaps under my siding and made it's way under the tub surround; in 24 hours, 6 inches of pale green vine appeared over the lip of my bathtub.
Morning Glories infest my garden along with Wisteria that comes from the woods behind my property.
Honeysuckle loves incorporating itself into my chain link fence.
It's actually fun battling the beasties manually.

    Bookmark   August 22, 2012 at 8:26PM
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jodik_gw

I can't get Wysteria to grow, but do have issues with creeping charlie and morning glories. If I can get them as seedlings in early spring, they're not an issue later. Certain grasses and other weeds would like to take over the beds, but they come out easily after a good soaker hose soaking.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 6:59AM
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marshallz10(z9-10 CA)

Banes of my gardens: bermuda grass, portulaca/purslane, nut sedge, bindwead. My amaranth can become a weed if not scuffle-hoed out of beds. Really good eating as young plants.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 10:11AM
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shaxhome

Here in Bhutan, I'm constantly pulling out cannabis (literally by the acre), datura, cannabis, artemisia (used in absinthe), cannabis and amaranth. Also "weedy" are marigolds and nasturtiums, but I leave them alone...

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 10:23AM
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steve2416

I'm laughing as I post this, but it sounds like you have enough space to leave a few of those "weeds" alone. If there were not legal complications, why not?
Talk about Relaxing in the back yard - WOW!

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 4:06PM
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jodik_gw

If I had the physical wherewithal to utilize some of the plants mentioned to make fabrics or other items out of, that wouldn't be so bad.

Cannabis is in a class all by itself... not every type grown would give you that relaxing afternoon in the garden. On that, I'd be choosy regarding the seeds I planted or allowed to flourish. Hemp for rope is not the same type that produces THC content.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 4:20PM
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althea_gw

Oh how I would love to spend the afternoon weeding in Bhutan instead of pulling creeping charlie in MN.

My Hopi red dye amaranth is out of control, having been reseeding itself for several years.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 4:27PM
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pnbrown

Nut sedge has been one of the most-persistent weeds for me, during warm weather along with lamb's quarter. Lamium just goes nuts in early spring in my gardens, and other cultivated fields of good fertility.

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 5:43PM
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shaxhome

Jodik...this stuff has high THC content. A few youngsters smoke it, but mostly it's collected and fed to the pigs. It IS illegal, and you can get 3 months prison for smoking it. Never heard of anyone caught. Such a relaxed nation. But it's up to 3 YEARS prison for possessing tobacco products!

Here is a link that might be useful: Bhutan Weed Pics

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 8:28PM
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pnbrown

Nice blog, Shax, lotta plants! I had no idea that pot was a dominant weed anyplace. Bhutan could put Humboldt county out of business just by clearing a few acres, huh?

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 10:36PM
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vgkg(Z-7)

"A few youngsters smoke it, but mostly it's collected and fed to the pigs. "

Wonder how your hams compare to our Va smoke cured Smithfield Hams?

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 11:14PM
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shaxhome

Hi, vgkg!
I'll never know how they taste, cause we can't catch the darn things....

    Bookmark   August 23, 2012 at 11:54PM
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sam_md

shaxhome, what's the chance you could send some of those flying swine our way? They should be able to take care of the kudzu growing 40-50' into the treetops :)

    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 8:15AM
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vgkg(Z-7)

Hi back at ya Shax....high on the hog? ;)

    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 9:29AM
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jodik_gw

It's really beautiful countryside, Shax... lots of interesting plant materials and flowering shrubs!

Creeping charlie, dandelions, grasses, thistles, ragweed, burdock, and a few other weeds are the bane of my yard work, but luckily there are goats to feed the wheelbarrows of pulled weeds to... or I can simply compost them. With the drought such as it is, I end up feeding a lot of the weeds to the goats. They can eat just about anything, and it's nice to get rid of it all before it goes to seed.

It beats irrigating pasture... which wouldn't be all that efficient or conservative. I can concentrate the water I need at the root zone of the roses, and any weeds that pop up can be pulled and fed as forage. We can save the hay for winter feeding.

I would imagine that feeding hemp to livestock is much like feeding corn silage to cows... it's rather pleasant for them once it begins to ferment, and the cows stay happy and well fed. It's also quite nutritious, and provides part of what they need to produce milk in great weight and butterfat content. Of course, we don't have cows here... I learned that long ago when I worked on a dairy farm. We had very well fed cows.

Every day, I try to pull at least one, sometimes two wheelbarrows worth of weeds for the goats, or actually to keep the gardens weed free. Right now, I'm working to help gain rose size so cuttings can be taken and rooted. The less weed competition they have, the better for the plants, themselves.

Of course, I don't have mountains or the same climate you must... so there would be many differences in how we garden.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 9:38AM
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shaxhome

Yes, has been known to happen occasionally...And please give my regards to the lovely vgqn!

In a futile attempt to risk being accused of derailing this thread from being a "Hot Topic", let me add....

    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 9:46AM
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shaxhome

jodik! I'm glad you're here at the moment, because I have a serious question that I feel you may be the best person to answer...(yes, everybody else, this should be on the Conversations threads, but please give me a break! I figure I've destroyed this thread enough now to claim at least part-ownership, if the OP doesn't mind.)

I'll be returning to Oz in a coupla months, after nearly 3 years away.

My Blue Heeler, Bessie, (aka Aust. Cattle Dog) has been living with a friend for that time. She's 9 years old now, and I had her since she was 8 weeks old. Apparently she is quite happy and settled now.

Will she remember me, or should she stay with her current family? Serious question, as I want what is best for her.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 10:14AM
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kingturtle(Zone 7 GA)

What a beautiful dog! Wow, that's a really tough question Shax. I'm one of those saps who puts the dog first too. I'm sure your dog remembers you.

Are you able to take her back to the place and life you shared before you went away for 3 years (some place familiar that you both liked) or would it be different? Would the new home give her the same safety and amenities she enjoys now (room to run, exercise, & companionship)?

    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 10:36AM
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shaxhome

Hi, KT! Another friend from the SOE days!

Yes, I'll be returning to the same old cabin on 100 acres of wild, rocky country. I've lived there alone (plus Bess!) for nearly 10 years, so that's the only place she knew until I left.

She and I worked cattle a fair bit, but I believe she's become more of a pet now, living with small kids and another dog for company.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 10:51AM
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kingturtle(Zone 7 GA)

Looks like a wonderful place to rekindle old flames. Bessie is blessed to have such options.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 11:03AM
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vgkg(Z-7)

Shax, I'm with KT about her remembering you. When you get home - You and Bessie will be playing the roles of when Fred Flintstone comes home from work and Dino runs him down! Be really cool to record your reunion.

    Bookmark   August 24, 2012 at 4:50PM
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mylab123(z5NW)

I'm hoping Jodi comes back to this thread, what a hard decision to make. I'm glad you are thinking in terms of what is her best interest....but I honestly wonder what that would be?

Two very different ways of life for her. It strikes me that your lovely cabin provides more of a true scratch and sniff canine way of life which so few really get to enjoy anymore in such a way - but she also now has her pack family she has grown to love would have to leave. What a difficult decision to make.

I don't suppose that the best of both worlds, equal custody sharing, would work?

    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 3:31AM
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maddie_athome

Shax--will she remember you? You bet she will! I dunno...maybe it's not so much about coming home reuniting with her than it is about leaving her again? Jodi might disagree with me though...so I'll too wait for her 2 cts.

I was talking about industrial Hemp, not Cannabis. Industrial Hemp's THC levels are that low you'd need to smoke half an acre, at once. I prefer the 2 to be kept separate, since equating industrial Hemp to Pot is the favourite lie used to keep Hemp outlawed.

Thought the Univ. of Toronto, along with the USDA, was looking into kudzu as a possible biofuel source. Apparently the greatest concentration of carbohydrates is in the roots... something like 270 gallons of biofuel from an acre of kudzu. But a six foot deep root makes harvesting a tad more difficult.

But maybe researchers don't want to stand in the way of the fast growing plant for too long - gotta keep moving to keep from being swallowed up.

Yah...don't fall asleep near it! I read about this, and it made me wonder why waste alot of time and resources looking into something that would be mighty difficult to carry out at a reasonible effort and cost, when there are way better biofuel sources, with a way higher biomass yield.

After decades of neglect, allowing Kudzu to take over entire landscapes, you won't get it under control overnight. Kudzu is a top notch forage. Keep sending in the goat squads and ignore the troll, he knows diddlysquat.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 4:36AM
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shaxhome

Mylab and Maddie...thanks for your valued opinions. Some news I received just yesterday that changes the whole question for me. The problem seems to have resolved itself.

My friend and his wife have decided to divorce! Bit of a shock for me, too. BUT, he is moving to another town 2 hours away, and will see his kids only every 2nd weekend. Don't know about the dogs, but this has decided me to bring Bessie back home. With the break-up to his family unit, there'll be enough disruption to all their lives, without having to worry about who gets possession of the dogs.

So, I told him my decision and he actually sounded relieved. One less problem for him at the moment.

And vgkg...I won't bother to record the reunion. Bess is more likely to saunter into the house, look at me with a "So, you're finally back?" look, then curl up and go to sleep. With her head on my foot.

I feel better now!

Regards,
Shax

    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 5:16AM
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kingturtle(Zone 7 GA)

Sorry about your friend's divorce, but I agree this changes everything.

In my experience dogs don't forget people important to them. When I was fresh out of college, I had to leave my beloved dog with my parents for 2 years in order to take a job out of state that involved a lot of travel. I did return home twice a year for visits to see family and my dog. Each visit was a happy one for me and my dog where we picked right back up where we left off. Two years later I got a different job and was able to take Maggie back and she followed me on through several different jobs, places, living arrangements, and girlfriends for years always responding positively to whatever different circumstances we found ourselves.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 7:23AM
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jodik_gw

Shax, if you've had Bessie since she was a babe, at 8 weeks, she's most assuredly bonded to you. She'll be thrilled to see you, and will welcome you with more love than you can imagine. That would be my bet.

Dogs have no concept of time, so that 3 years may as well be 3 weeks. It won't matter to her.

Some people think dogs don't have those kinds of memories, but I can tell you, quite honestly and from great experience, that every pup I've ever whelped remembers me. It's an imprinted scent and an instinct so very complex it's impossible to really understand... but every single pup I've ever handled, ever raised for the first few weeks of its life, remembers me the moment they pick up my scent.

I can make a well trained dog I haven't seen in a few years, but that I bred and whelped, break a command of "down-stay" just by calling them over to me. Yes, it's true.

In fact, you're very lucky that Bessie settled in with your friends... sometimes separation anxiety is an issue. Dogs usually bond with their first owners if treated well and interacted with on a regular basis. Some dogs are less intense in bonding, and if forced to be given to another family, can settle in with little issue. Others bond so tightly that to remove them from that first owner will cause them to stop eating, drinking, and eventually die of a broken heart.

So, while time itself is of little consequence to Bessie, seeing you again will bring her "home", and she'll happily return with you.

Whether you want to take her back is another issue. I would... but that's a decision you must make. I think as long as she can visit occasionally with the family who has her, she'll be fine.

The two most intense memories Bessie has are the scent of her mother, the breeder who first whelped and held her, her original surroundings... and you as her first owner. Neither will she ever forget.

At this very moment, I'm in possession of a daughter belonging to my girl, Maia, an Olde Bulldogge. Even though I hadn't interacted with her much since she was placed at 8 weeks, only seeing her a few times, once we got here she settled right in. She smelled her mother, her origins, my scent, and was happy to flop down on a blanket and nap as soon as we got here.

We worried for the first day or so that she might experience separation anxiety, which is very common with this particular breed, but she ate that evening, drank normally, and had normal stool and urine. She was a bit nervous for a few days, reacquainting herself with our surroundings, but she's settled right in like she's lived here her whole life. She sleeps with me, loves to snuggle at night, and is a fantastic and beautiful dog. I just adore her!

I would take Bessie back, and unless you notice a loss of appetite or other telltale signs of separation anxiety, I wouldn't worry. To Bessie, you've only been gone a short time. Take her home, and watch her carefully for the first few days... if she settles in, and eats and drinks normally, you'll know everything is fine.

In case she does go off feed, or experiences such anxiety that she can't deal with it, you can always replace her with the family who was so wonderful to keep her for you.

You'll know what to do when you first see her upon your return. Her reaction to seeing you should tell you everything you need to know.

And now that I've said all that... I just want to thank you for the compliment of asking me for advice. I'm always happy to share any information I can, and even though some of it isn't what the general public wants to hear, you can always count on me to be brutally honest. :-)

Let us know what happens with Bessie... I'd be very interested to hear about her reaction.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 10:04AM
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shaxhome

Thanks jodik! Really appreciate your words. Bess did know her new family quite well before they took her in. I worked daily for 4 years with the guy, and Bess came to work every day too, so it wasn't like she had to get to know him afresh. And since I've been away, he brings her to my property for weekly runs in her old surroundings.

And of course I want her back! The decision has been made for me now, if you read my last post...her adopted family is sadly breaking up, so it's obviously meant to be.

Pics in a couple of months...

Regards,
Shax

    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 10:22AM
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jodik_gw

Sometimes, things just work out how they're supposed to, I guess... call it karma. Sad for the breakup, but happy that you'll be reunited with Bessie.

I just hope that any negative vibes or tension from the breakup won't affect Bess. Dogs are very keen at picking up on emotional stress, through the pheromones we give off. Keep a particularly special eye on her when you take her back. Exposure to such stresses can actually present/manifest in physical illness, such as mange patches, worry chewing, and a lot of other issues.

Hopefully, you can avoid any of these issues. Such worry can lower her immune system... she wants to be of help, but loyalty prevents her from knowing what to do, so she worries... and as I said, this can manifest in certain minor physical issues.

From what you say, though, aside from the possible stress of the split, it'll be almost as though you never left. She'll be thrilled to have her family back, and with any luck, you'll fall into a routine that will help her forget any worries she has.

It may take a little extra work on your part, maybe run Bess through an old routine that she's familiar with, obedience or whatever it is you do together. But hopefully, she'll be alright, and will fall right back into old patterns and habits.

I wish you the best, and if I can help further, just ask. I know some incredible trainers and other dog people, and surely between us all, there isn't a question that can't be answered, or a problem that can't be solved. :-)

    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 12:47PM
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lily316(z5PA)

There is no doubt in my mind that Bessie will remember you. Dogs really don't have time comprehension. I watch videos of returning vets being reunited with their owners after a few years and it's Kleenex time. Dogs are so joyful. Sorry about your friend's divorce but maybe there can be visits along the way with Bessie. She's a beautiful dog. Send more pictures of the reunion.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 1:13PM
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trianglejohn

Years ago I had a friend and co-worker that lived down the street from me that got a dog that was kinda hard to manage. He was part Chow Chow and was quick to snap at anyone trying to get him to behave. She had lots of problems dealing with him but the one thing she could count on was that if she mentioned the words "go for a walk" he would jump up and snatch his leash off the wall, knock her down and take off running down the street to my house and sit perfectly on my stoop until I got ready and came outside to play. It was our standard routine (we lived across the street from a large park). He adored me completely but I was not his biggest fan. He just wasn't the kind of dog I like and truthfully it isn't fun being the only person that could control him since he got into trouble all the time - and he wasn't even my dog!

She eventually moved away and I lost touch. Years later out of the blue she calls me and asks if I would be willing to fly out to her side of the country to help manage the dog on a cross country road trip. I remember telling her on the ride from the airport that I doubted the dog would even remember me but once we pulled up the driveway he came running up to me and stuck by my side the rest of the week. He totally remembered me and I wasn't even his owner.

On the flip side I had a dog that I adored that due to loss of job I had to give away. I met up with her a year later and she barely remembered me. It broke my heart, but she was very happy with her new family.

    Bookmark   August 27, 2012 at 5:02PM
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jodik_gw

There are a lot of variables involved... age of dog when bonding, type of dog, historical uses, inherent characteristics, etc... like humans, no two breeds, or bloodlines within a single breed, are identical.

Chows have a completely different mentality, due to their historical beginnings. This is another reason why it's so important to research deeply, and make use of the information and many sources available to us today... and from yesterday. Chows were originally bred as a food source for humans... in many breeds, certain characteristics remain through time, locked in the genetic code.

Most general public owners are not the most instinctive or intuitive when it comes to "reading" their animals. This is why we value so highly the great trainers we've had the fortune to meet and work with over the decades. Breeding, we know... training beyond the basics is for the true professionals.

None of this is meant to offend... it's just part of the truth when it comes to canines.

Anyway... Bessie is an entirely different breed, with an entirely different history and mentality.

Lily is correct... while time is not an issue for dogs, their keen sense of memory, of associating happiness and love and security with certain scents and other bits of intuition and memory is incredible. I feel as though as long as Bess was not exposed to an overload of stress, she'll be fine.

    Bookmark   August 28, 2012 at 12:45AM
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