Lambs Quarter
grows wild here.
It has powdery-looking leaves
and grows to almost six feet.
It can take over an area,
so when it took over a flower bed
at the pond house,
I scooped up an arm full
of discarded plants
that had actually been laying in the sun
for hours.
I transplanted them into my new wildlife plot
last summer and they grew thick and tall.
Even the grasshoppers
couldn’t keep up with their growth.

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Last summer’s Lambs Quarter crop, after a rain

This spring,
the Lambs Quarter grew up early
and spread out into the yard,
overtaking the Bermuda Grass. Yay! and,
Wow! This stuff is great!
Delicious, too.
I picked early tender leaves
and stirred them into hot pasta,
for a nutritious supper.
Friends told me how to preserve it
for winter,
which I planned to do,
later.

It’s hard to describe
the invasion of grasshoppers
we’ve experienced the last couple of years.
Maybe thanks to cooler temperatures,
they’re still tiny this year,
though growing.
(Growing in diversity too. I’ve seen a new design:
gray, with black and white striped legs.)
But they don’t have to be large
to eat a lot.
The chickens and guineas,
which spend their days feasting
on grasshoppers,
can’t keep ahead of their population growth.
Even though most of the grasshoppers
are still less than an inch long,
there are so many,
the devastation happens
quickly.

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In a week,
most of the Lambs Quarter
became a ghostly patch.
Walk up to the ravished stalks
and grasshoppers fling themselves every which way.
But I’m not sure that’s what killed
the Lambs Quarter. Looks like bug action,
though I don’t see bugs.
(Update: yep, Ann found the bugs—
tiny non-fuzzy caterpillar-looking bugs.)
I didn’t think anything could kill
Lambs Quarter. I thought I’d found
a wild, nutritious, hardy, natural
food source
well adapted to this bioregion.
And maybe
that is true…
Deeper into the wildlife plot,
I discover two four-foot high plants,
next to the ghost-of-Lambs-Quarter,
almost untouched. I’m hoping the tiny bugs
turn into moths and flitter off
before they devour these beautiful plants.
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And some of the plants devoured
already have fresh growth atop.

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And, grasshoppers are also on
the Johnson Grass. Yay!

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Unless…
I hope they’re not just sunning themselves
on those wide, smooth,
probably tough,
leaves!