Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Trails of Seeds and Deeds

Mark Twain was from Hannibal, which he considered to be part of the The South. All along the Mississippi River, in both Missouri and Illinois, farms were called plantations and tobacco and cotton were the cash crops. Slavery was illegal in Illinois, but widespread. People thought of themselves as southerners.

Close encounters with two mid-summer plants reminded me of all this. The first is my annual battle with the volunteer tobacco plants what pop up in my backyard (photo above). I nuke them every year but there must be seeds in the soil from some long-forgotten farmer's field.

The second is the annual appearance of chicory along the highways in Illinois and Missouri (photo below). Chicory is what was used in The South as a substitute for coffee during the Civil War. It likes poor, heavily compacted soil -- so the shoulders of highways are its favorite place to grow. The plants are there, the blue flowers will start to appear as we get closer to July 4th.

So, I guess, if you're in the neighborhood, you could drop by for a smoke -- be prepared to roll your own, and for the nasty after taste of Roundup -- and for a tasty cup of hot pseudo-coffee brewed from the roots of the chicory plant. Ah, gracious southern living!


The Phoenix said...

And we all know what Missouri's cash crop is now. It rhymes with "where-Madonna."
actually pot grows all along the rural roadways in Missouri, I noticed lots when Rooty and I went for our Sunday drive to the Augusta Bottom Road -- it was grown as a crop, the farmers sold the hemp to make rope -- you see old pictures of farm kids in the 1920's and 30's drying it on chicken house roofs -- all of the "high" frooze out of it long ago so it's just a weed (but not weed)!!!!

the cash crop in Missouri at the moment appears to be Meth judging from the number of houses that are blow up in the manufacturing process!!!!!!!

The Phoenix said...

How's Rooty, by the way? Snoopy wants to know.
Rooty's fine, he's spent the evening going in circles trying to get to the bandage on his tail, where he had a cyst removed. they also lazered off some doggie warts and cleaned his teeth. Rooty LOVES the vet's, there are dogs, cats, and kids, the three things he loves most. I just goes a little nuts when he's not in the house!!!!!!!!!!!

siren said...

I was in Hannibal earlier this year. Apparently they never got the memo that they're not the South.
I have taken US61 to Iowa many times, I usually don't stop until I get to Iowa, Hannibal is not my favorite place either, it needs to be powers-washed with lots of Ajax, although it was th ehometown of the Unsinkable Molly Brown

Pixie said...

A dog that likes the vet ?? glad he is ok though.
I used to get the same rhubarb plant come up every year in my garden in the UK. We did almost everything to get rid of it. When we were doing some building work we even dumped the bricks and rubble on to the spot. When we came to move them 6 mths later there was the bloody rhubarb peeking through the rubble!

Wp said a few weeks back that this was the meth capital of the US. (I think he said that I wasnt paying full attention ) :|

*Off to look for "pot plants " now.
Rooty likes people, and going places. He had a rough night but managed to get his bandage off!!!!

I have thorn plants that I've been killing every year since I bought my house. These are nasty things, trees actually, with large thorns, that were planted by the first settlers as fences (since there were no trees). When killed out in one place, they just come up in another.

Not sure why Meth is so bad here, or why they cannot seem to make it without blowing themselves up. The counties west of St. Louis is where the booze was made during Prohibition -- I have heard that as an explanantion as to why drugs are so common there (family traditions, etc.).

If you see any old deserted farm house, there will usually be fields of hemp, but it lacks whatever makes you high.

:P fuzzbox said...

Their are many weeds in this area that were brought in by settlers and well meaning individuals that are taking over the area.

Morning glories were brought in to beautify homesteads. Mesquite trees were brought in during cattle drives. Johnson Grass was brought in as an alternative food source for cattle. Salt Cedar is devesting many areas. And one cannot forget the poster plant of the Southwest, the Russian Thistle or as it is known The Tumbleweed.
There is a line is The Last Picture Show about being able to see from horizon to horizon before the Mesquite moved in!

Tumbleweed looks innocent in the movies, until one broadsides your car on I-10.

Amy in StL said...

Hey, when I moved to The South, people there didn't consider me a yankee. People from Michigan, Ohio and Penn were yankees, but I was one of them.
Welcome back,
Your dreams were your ticket out.

Welcome back,
To that same old place that you laughed about.

Well the names have all changed since you hung around,
But those dreams have remained and they're turned around.

Who'd have thought they'd lead ya (Who'd have thought they'd lead ya)
Here where we need ya (Here where we need ya)

Yeah we tease him a lot cause we've hot him on the spot, welcome back,
Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back.