Here at the chicken coop I supervised some stump grinding ... rented a large one from Home Depot and took out 7 stumps of varying sizes so that we can commence with some projects around here. Forgot to take pictures of things being ground down but below is the before and after of that large tree mess that we cleaned up.
The remaining stump is almost as tall as I am and the fence grew into it - or should I say the tree grew around the fence - so there is no grinding that puppy down because of all the metal inside it. We took out all of the debris and wild potato vines choking everything and left just a little of the trunk on the ground to be dealt with as time allows. I went out today and it had already become a snake habitat so it will likely be winter before I start crawling around that thing with a chainsaw and axe. Uh uh ... they can have their little snake party zone with my blessing so long as they stay on the other side of the log. They come out on my side and someone is going to lose their head and it isn't going to be me.
And speaking of wild potatoes I finally found some time to take some pictures of the encroaching monster vines we do battle with every season ... every week during the summer. First off the "wild potato" in question is actually better called the "Air Potato." There are actually cultivated varieties of the Air Potato over in Africa and Asia where it is eaten as a staple but the feral suckers we have growing here in Florida and in Georgia are pretty nasty. Raw they have a bitter taste ... not poisonous taste just nasty. Supposedly they can be poisonous to some people ... they've got something called steroids in them ... but I've eaten them with no ill effect. Now that's not to say I recommend them. However, if it is starving or eating a feral air potato I'll eat the potato. Of course I'm adventurous food-wise and have eaten all manner of things that would make most people make that gacking noise when you heave real big ... worms, crickets, roaches, ants, scorpions, snails ... you get the idea. With age I've moderated my adventuresomeness but not much. LOL.
Below you'll see how the air potato does the same thing as kudzu ... it takes over an area and smothers all other vegetation out.
This is the very back corner of our property where some of our land slides into a drainage system where ponds and canals spill over into each other and then into the swamp that has been transformed so that it spills over into retention ponds and lakes all up and down the highway. We'll never totally eradicate them because it would take the cooperation of several neighboring properties plus the county and the people who manage the wetlands in this area of the state for multiple years running. So no, not going to happen.
To give an example of how invasive the vines are, the gate you see in the picture was cleared and cleaned off one month ago. The vine can grow up to about 8 inches a days so the experts say ... under the right conditions I'm pretty sure it can grow more than that but it isn't worth the time for me to measure it. The Elephant Ear in the picture is taller than I am by several feet so that should put what you see in some visual perspective as well.
The potatoes start itty bitty where the leaves and vine meet.
As the vines grow, they twist around each other as well as what they are growing on and the "potatoes" - which are actually more rightfully called a yam - get all knotted up.
Eventually the vines will knot up so much that the least little thing like wind, rain, or an animal slinking through will cause the "potatoes" to fall off to the ground where they pretty much immediately start sprouting to grow yet more vines. The potatoes can also lay dormant for several seasons until the right conditions occur.
The potatoes you see in the pictures above are really small - about thumbnail size - but they can and often do grow to fist size. As a kid the air potatoes of all sizes were the weapon of choice in the "woodland wars" where you picked sides and you played until you couldn't stand it anymore or you got called in for dinner before dark set in too much at which time you scrubbed until your skin was red and then your mom painted you up with calamine lotion to keep you from scratching the mosquito and chigger bites into sores. Oh, those were the days. LOL
Well here are the stories that got updated today. Not as many as I wanted but still a good handful. I will try and get to some of the others before the weekend.
And the Geek Shall Inherit the Earth
Zombies Aren't Real ... Are They?!
Up On Hartford Ridge
Larkspur in Eden
There Is No Such Thing As A Thornless Garden
When All Doors Close
Mother Hen's Recipes
A Bunch of Wild Thyme
Enduring on the Lake
The videos are also about the air potato. Maybe a little on the educational side but I think it is prudent for all of us to know what is both edible and inedible in our environment, especially those things that we might look upon as potential sources of calories and nutrition at some point.