The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

By Jim Lee 

Tumbleweeds trouble for Portales


Just about every time I peek in my yard, especially after particularly energetic breezes like we experienced on Thursday, I see every chunk of tumbleweed that ever took up residence in these southwestern United States.

This leaves two choices: Avoid looking at the yard, or do something about the pesky plants.

If I decide to lift my backside from the plastic chair on the front porch and actually do something, the question of “what?” arises with me. My friend Dave suggested throwing them out in the street and allowing the wind to deposit them in the mayor’s front yard. But I don’t want to do that to a nice guy like Mayor Orlando Ortega.

Another alternative is to dump them in the alley behind the house and see if the wind will take them to my neighbor’s back yard. But he’s a nice guy, too.

A city ordinance against burning tumbleweeds adds to the dilemma. If I try to take them to the city facility for disposal, they’ll blow out of my pickup before I get there.

I try to imagine what FDR, Napoleon, Indira Ghandi, or my wife would do. Nixon would draft them, and Mother Teresa would feed them. No help from historical precedent on this one, I’m afraid.

Where do I turn for answers? I turned to my coffee drinking buddy Ed Miller.

He told me to stomp on them to flatten them out before applying a pitch fork. Now that makes sense.

Chris Stasheff and I were with Ed when he made the suggestion. Chris’ face lit up with an idea based on Ed’s observation. Frankly, it amounted to a real tumbleweed epiphany. The delight on his face could light the houses of Arch for 39 days. I decided to listen — after all, the man does have a Ph.D. and should therefore have the answers to everything. Besides, I didn’t exactly have a surplus of ideas myself.

He said the city should use a big trash compactor on the tumbleweeds, along with whatever glue that’s used in those fake fireplace logs. Then Portales could market the logs to the public, thereby turning a nuisance into an asset. It’s difficult to think of fireplaces this time of year, but it’s easy to fantasize about the removal of tumbleweeds.

And how about all that extra revenue? We could fix the streets, pay for the pipeline to Ute Lake, and finance the fire department — all while lowering taxes to the level of 1908.

So, the next time you get disgusted by the tumbleweeds bouncing into your yard and homesteading next to the fence, just look at the possibilities. If you beat the city to getting a giant compactor, you can make a fortune.

By the way, I have a lot of raw material in my yard to get you started on the road to riches. You can have all my tumbleweeds at half price.

Jim Lee is news director for KENW-FM radio. He also is an English instructor. He can be contacted at 359-2204. His e-mail:

[email protected]


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