Saturday, February 23, 2008

Fits and Starts

This is where my family lives. It's a little town called San Miguel de Allende in Mexico. It's a perfect place. For the last couple of weeks in December I alternated my time between reading books (a total of 6 in two weeks -- I wonder why I can't blow through scientific literature with such speed and joy?), mountain biking with my father, and generally absorbing the local culture (read: shopping and eating).

Despite my complete disregard for anything academic during my vacation I let my inner ecologist bubble. On our bike rides and drives across town I couldn't help but notice the vast amounts of Arundo donax growing from the banks of the river and along the edge of the lake. The locals use the reed for fencing material, either by cutting the shoots and lashing them together, or simply by growing this (invasive) weed along their fence lines. They also let their goats eat it. We rode by one happy flock munching through a large stand. In Mexico, the plant is called "can-lle brava" (that's how they pronounce it). The literal translation would be: "Angry reed" or "crazy reed." This invasive weed is also found here in California and pains riparian restoration. Should we bring out the goats?