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Three Years of Patience and Hard Work Pay Off
I'm sorry I have not been able to respond as much lately in the Message Forum but as usual I've been extremely busy.
Yesterday (6/26/) was a dual purpose day - it was our anniversary (but before you send congrats and all please read on)...secondly, I awoke as I would any other day only to get a phone call first thing:
The AP. As in Associated Press. Asking me for an interview because Missouri Governor Bob Holden was signing the "kudzu bill" that day. Excellent I thought. And short of sticking feathers in my cap, taking bows and curtain calls, I was the one that had brought this entire situation to light over three years ago only to have legislation shot down in the 11th hour at the state senate level. Patience young Pfalzbot, patience.
Okay, so some of you are wondering, "what the heck is he spouting off about here?" Well, I hope not to bore any of you but I'll give you the paraphrased version just so you do know. And please, no posts back about the benefits and wonders of kudzu. This stuff has nearly cost me my life, my wifes health, and the overall well being of day to day life here. Granted, it got us started in goats which is a good thing!
When we moved here in 1997, we had no idea what kudzu was. Unfortunately we bought our house and land at a time when kudzu is dormant (late winter). We had no idea what that green mass of weeds and vines was when it came out of hibernation in the spring. Soon it closed in on our earthbern home and had literally created a tent over nearly two acres of heavily wooded forest that is on our land.
The problem was that our neighbors would not do anything to control it. They let it grow and laughed. When I approached them about it, they came up with a cock and bull story how there was nothing they could do about it. Well, knowing good and well that it would soon become a bigger problem than it already was, I chose to do something about it.
Further dealings in the neighbors ended up in me getting sucker punched in the face as I turned my head at a "fenceline" meeting and then picking up a tree limb and trying to smack a few home runs with the neighor as the baseball for hitting me. I left SoCal because of violence. I surely did not expect this kind of thing here in Missouri.
Well, to make a long story short, I went to work on clearing the kudzu by hand. A can of gas and a book of matches would surely do the trick. Wrong. A week later it was back, shooting tiny young sprouts as though nothing had happened. Enter the goats.
We bought goats not for meat, not for dairy nor for pets. When eyeing a prospective goat, I asked myself the question, how much kudzu can this goat eat a day? That first year was unremarkable. The goats did indeed get it in check somewhat, but it still covered the trees where they could not get to. I cut, burned, cut and burned some more - all the while, the kudzu still growing over the neighbors fence on to our property.
It was about the time when the battle came to fisticuffs and my wife nearly broke her wrist and did indeed injure her knee that I began to pursue legal action. I went from county, state, all the way to the federal level only to hear that nothing could be done in Missouri because it (kudzu) was not listed on the noxious weed list. So that's where I began - working to get legislation passed to place it on the Missouri noxious weed list. Hey, I may never be known for anything else but I did achieve one thing in life up to this point: help write and push a bill into law.
It could have all been so simple - the neighbors could have at least worked with us for which I would have worked equally as hard to help. It's not like I moved here to take up a grudge against them but with them being that inconsiderate, lazy and just downright have no sense of responsibility, of course I had no choice. So for them I have no pity.
At one point when the wife and husband divorced and the wife retained the home, she was willing to try and work something out (I was leary) because she knew the law was imminent in passing sooner or later. She was granting us permission to run our goats on ALL the kudzu infested areas including her land. It lasted a week. Supposedly our goats ate her Rose of Sharon bushes. Such audacity! With all of our trees her kudzu had killed, she had the gall to use that as an excuse.
Fool me once, shame on you. Fool me twice, shame on me. There is nothing short of these people packing it up and heading out that will make me ever set foot on their property again let alone help control a problem that was their responsibility in the first place. The passing of this legislation is the first step in making them become responsible for their actions (or inaction in this case). And when they are out there sweating and toiling over trying to eradicate the kudzu, it's going to be me heckling and laughing this time.
I realize this is getting rather long winded so let me close by saying this: please don't give up on our system of government. It can work if you are willing to work hard for it and be patient. This was pure proof to me. It's easy to lose faith in the system but never lose faith without at least trying first.
As a result of all this, I am going to try and post the television interview on GoatWorld for everyone to see. Of course I mentioned GoatWorld. The fact that we were able to turn a bad thing (kudzu) into a good thing (GoatWorld) is truly a good thing and thankfully I've met alot of great people as a result and seen that there are quite a few more avenues in life to explore besides the close proximity of a fluorescent lit music studio or an electronic engineers cubicle.
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