Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Killer Brambles

We have 40 acres.   Most of what we have is woods.  About 15 acres around the house had been cleared and used for grazing cattle for about 100 years, so when we got it it needed a rest and to let the ecosystems recover.  Little blue stem [grass] and vernonia altissima [ironweed] do not an ecosystem make.   It was exciting to see things come back.  

Until they started attacking. 

The brambles came back in a big way - in patches that go on and on - full of canes 8 feet tall and an inch in diameter made of some sort of whippy ropey steel.   And they have attitude.  Apparently 10 acres of brambles is kind of bossy.    They don't appreciate being cut down with a chainsaw and hauled away with a pitchfork.   For the record, I wouldn't either, I guess.    They don't like being mowed either - they fight back.   I was going to post a photo, but decided not to because 10 acres of brambles is just too scary and this is a G rated blog. 

So after Eric cut the brambles with the chainsaw, it was my job to gather them up a bit and pull them down so he could get in further to cut more.    In theory. 

The first batch came out OK, but then when I turned around to head off toward the ravine where we're dumping them piling them gently, dragging the brambles behind me, one of the tips whipped around and impaled itself in my sleeve.    Undaunted, I forged onward to edge of the ravine and when I pulled the pile around me to dump pile it gently in the ravine, more tips whipped around and got me. 

They got me on the sleeve, in the hair, and all over my pants, and I was wearing sweats and a long sleeved t-shirt.    Do you know what brambles do when they come into contact with knit?    Let me tell you, it was ugly.  In about 10 seconds [one for every acre of brambles] I was completely entangled by the pile I was dragging  coaxing politely [with the pitchfork] to the edge of the ravine where we're dumping them piling them gently.

I couldn't get out by myself.   Every time I moved one way to get one off, another one got me.   And I heard them threatening K2, too.   In the interest of full disclosure, I must confess that I said bad words.   Really bad words.   But I won't tell you which ones because this is a G rated blog.   I barely escaped with my life -- and my clothes.   Seriously.   It was touch and go.   No pun intended.  

Then I handed the rake and pitchfork to Eric and went inside.   I prefer to fight brambles fully armored [in denim with helmet and goggles] and riding the mower. 

Just wait until this summer.  I'll show those brambles who's boss when it's jelly time. 
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