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Tumbleweed takeover at Homestead Senior Residences

Staff writer

Wendy Buchanan planned to enjoy her holiday and simply check the heaters at the Homestead Senior Residences Marion Tuesday morning. Instead, she found tumbleweeds blocking the entrance — a lot of them.

“I couldn’t even get into the front door,” said Buchanan, the manager of the apartment residences.

Temperatures dropped and the wind blew hard Monday night and early Tuesday morning, piling up the tumbleweeds five feet high in places, Buchanan said.

“Instead of snow it was tumbleweeds,” she said. “They were over waist-high. All you could do was walk through them and try to beat them down.”

The tumbleweeds were full of stickers, and Buchanan worked in the cold to gather them. She wanted to pile them into a truck but knew they would only blow away if she did.

“I filled five of the biggest trash bags I have,” Buchanan said. “I stuffed them until I couldn’t stuff anymore in them.”

And despite the five full trash bags, many tumbleweeds remained under the canopy and required removal Tuesday afternoon. Buchanan planned to take them to the tree dump Wednesday.

Buchanan’s father, Alvin Winter, and volunteers Robert Steffan and Chuck Miller helped clear a path. It wasn’t easy.

“As soon as we got them picked up, the wind would gust and push them all over,” Buchanan said. “It was quite a shock and I’m not sure where they came from.”

Buchanan wanted to fire up the leaf blower, but it didn’t start. Good thing, she said.

“It would have been a tornado,” Buchanan said. “And I didn’t want to get them on Main Street.”

Some tumbleweeds even managed to sneak inside the building.

“You opened the door and they flew in,” Buchanan said. “We’re going to finish cleaning them up and hope they don’t come back. I don’t know what it will look like in the morning.”

Tuesday was supposed to be a holiday, but Buchanan’s sunny outlook helped her get through the unexpected day of physical labor.

“You have to have good attitude,” Buchanan said. “It just proves what it’s going to be like when the snow comes flying in. I’ve seen the tumbleweeds before, but never in this massive amount.”

Last modified Nov. 13, 2014

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