Friday, September 17, 2010
Meridian StarJuly 16, 2010
Got Kudzu?Anne McKee
The Meridian Star
I know -- how did it make its home so nicely in Mississippi? History reported at the time of the U.S. centennial that was celebrated in 1876, there was an open invitation extended to foreign countries to build exhibits that featured unusual plants. It was the Philadelphia Centennial Exposition. Uh-huh, and Japan featured kudzu. Now it must have been a real novelty to see the elaborate Japanese gardens on display. Oh, how the lovely dark green leaves swooped and swirled – in and out, up and down, around and around. It was so charming – made the Americans want to plant their own lovely kudzu enhanced gardens, and that’s how it all started.
By 1905, Americans, as enterprising as ever, sought new uses for the fast growing perennial vine. It was quickly learned the plant could be used to prevent erosion, and as forage for cows, pigs, and goats. Some one thought of planting the stuff along highways. It was the 1930s when the Soil Conservation Service paid hundreds of men to plant kudzu, and in the 1940s, farmers were paid up to $8 an acre as well to plant the green stuff. It didn’t take too long for the U.S. to stop their promotion of the out of control vine. By 1972, kudzu was declared a weed by the USDA. However, the plant sometimes known as “the-foot-a-night-vine” and “the vine that ate the south” was out of control. Unfortunately, Mississippi as well as the entire southeast had near-perfect conditions for the prolific growth of the vine – hot, humid summers, frequent rainfall, temperate winters with few hard freezes and no natural predators. Today, it is estimated, kudzu covers 7 million acres of land in the southeast. It’s hard to believe, but some estimate the plant is spreading at a rate of 120,000 acres a year. In Mississippi, it covers almost 250,000 acres (some estimates are higher), and kudzu causes millions of dollars of damage each year for the Magnolia State – especially in the forestry industry.
Could goats be the answer? In recent years, Mississippians have seen growth in the goat industry – yields of meat, milk and wool products. Yes, we know goats will eat anything green – kudzu has proven to be a high-quality, high-protein food similar to alfalfa. So, kudzu-plus-goats have brought a growing market for this non-traditional meat, but we can’t rely on the goats to eradicate kudzu from our land.
Perhaps the most interesting kudzu fact -- for 2000 years China has used kudzu as medicine. A few areas -- remedy for alcoholism and hangovers, treatment for dysentery, allergies, migraine headaches, diarrhea, fevers, colds, intestinal problems, and other ailments. The first Chinese medical kudzu documentation is dated 100 AD. Today the main focus for kudzu medical research worldwide is for the treatment of alcoholism. Scientists have successfully concluded through experiments with hamsters and rats that a compound in kudzu shows a repression of alcohol consumption.
Kudzu has continued its slithery pathway into countries around the world. It has been discovered in Canada near Lake Erie as recently as July 2009. During WWII, kudzu was planted by the U.S. armed forces at Vanuatu and Fiji to camouflage their equipment – it is now out of control there as well. The creeping plant has found to be a problem in northeastern Australia and Northern Italy.
Every situation or fact of life should have a chuckle – a little humor. James Dickey says in his poem “Kudzu”
That you must close your windows
At night to keep it out of the house.
And who has not enjoyed the daily comic strip created by Doug Marlette entitled Kudzu? It was known as a funny take-off about rural Southerners – hey, that’s us! At its peak, Kudzu was syndicated in three hundred newspapers. CBS aired a pilot for a Kudzu sitcom on August 13, 1983. A musical based on the comic strip was staged in Washington D. C. in 1998. Mr. Marlette was killed in an auto accident on July 10, 2007, and America lost a popular comic strip.
Well, there you have it – a short version of the “Kudzu Story.” There is so much more to know about the little “miracle vine” that has been given the name “Kudzula” in at least one theatrical production – maybe a later column will reveal some exciting “Kudzu Breaking News!” Perhaps this is just a “Kudzu Dream,” but if the green stuff develops a proven food, fuel, or medicinal usage, could Mississippi one day be known as the “Kudzu Capital of the World?”
Anne B. McKee is an author and storyteller. She lives in Meridian. Anne is listed on the Mississippi Artist Roster, sponsored by Mississippi Arts Commission, as a dramatic and literary artist and as a Teaching Artist. She is active with the arts and educational communities throughout Mississippi. Visit her web site: www.annemckee.net
Thursday, September 16, 2010
This was my brain thoughts when my husband told me that we really needed to add a man's line to our collections.
First: sculpted wood-like cuff with a fishing hook stuck in it....had to cut fishing line. Second: Hook and a lure stuck in wood cuff. Third: Kill the wood...hook, anchor cuff design. Fourth: Vintage anchor, no hook. Fifth: Really cool vintage anchor, found the KILLICK!
That's it...high five!!!!
Some of you may know what a Killick is but for those who don't...it's a small anchor, especially one made with a stone in a wooden frame.
There are many versions of a killick but this one was pretty awesome and a no-brainier for a piece of jewelry. It will have a stone, we are working on that one.
Friday, September 10, 2010
Thursday, September 9, 2010
Materials: 14K Solid Yellow Gold and Sterling Silver 92.5
Width: 1.35"Chain sold Separately
Made in US
Monday, August 30, 2010
Curved Bamboo Post Earrings
Bold yet elegant 14k solid gold bamboo leaves artfully adorn these beautiful sterling silver bamboo stems.
Total Length: 2"
Materials: 14K yellow gold & 92.5 Sterling Silver
Made in the USA by "ME"
...to purchase, click here.
Thursday, August 12, 2010
He has become my new found inspiration even though he is no longer with us.
He died about 8 years ago, and although he never really taught me how to paint or draw, I think you can see that a little bit of him rubbed off on me.
It would be nice to show him what I am doing now, I think he would be proud.
Wednesday, August 4, 2010
Can I say that I just LOVE this ring! When sculpting the ring in wax, I would slip it on just to make sure it would be comfortable, not too big, etc...and once we cast the final piece, WOW...it was perfect, I wouldn't change a thing on this ring.
Description: Rows of bamboo with my signature bamboo leaves laying on top.
Description: Rows of bamboo with my signature bamboo leaves laying on top.
Materials: Sterling Silver & 14K Solid Yellow Gold Leaves
Oval Top: 7/8" x 1 3/16"
Available Sizes: 5-9
Tuesday, August 3, 2010
Limited Edition - 12
Available - Number 3 of 12
Total height: 11"
Materials: Tree Base (Bronze, Patina & Sealer)
Ghost Orchids & Roots (Brass & Sealer)
Always wanted to own the elusive ghost orchid? Are you a collector of beautiful things? This fabulous sculpture, donated by artist Dawn Vertrees, is stunning! The tree is bronze, roots and flowers are brass. The sculpture—along with many more items--will be auctioned off on Saturday, May 1 at the conclusion of the AOS Spring Meeting. The auction is on Saturday, May 1 with preview starting at 5:30 PM and the AOS auction from 6:30 p.m. TO 8:30 p.m. Join us at the Clarion Meridian Hotel & Convention Center. You do not have to register to attend – the public is welcome.
This is just a part of the Orchid Conference hosted by the Oklahoma Orchid Society which includes a Keynote Address by Joyce Stewart. If you haven’t been to an AOS meeting, come join the fun! For schedule details go to the AOS web site www.aos.org and events and members meetings.