021 The blackberries won this round

021 The blackberries won this round

The blackberries are ripe! I had to harvest them but my land was so overgrown that an afternoon of harvesting turned into a fight with the brambles. Three days of cutting and trimming, and I finally had a harvest–but the blackberries are far from finished.

Waking up to sunshine is a rare treat. When the weather is good, Pepper and I cuddle for a moment but don’t linger for long.

On sunny days, the potential is great. Work in the garden? Go for a hike? Maybe finish that roof repair that still isn’t done?

Most mornings have been gray and wet lately, filled with work at home.

We knew the blackberries were ripe from our hikes through the forest. The day before, I’d checked those in my garden, so I knew they were ready to harvest.

So, I got dressed, packed up my bedding (yay, Pepper is shedding again…), and started the day. I’ve been sleeping on the floor for a few years now, but we’ll talk about that another day.

When I went to the garden, I thought I’d be harvesting. Ten blackberries in, I knew I was in for a lot more than I had bargained for. This would take a while.

The entire meadow is overgrown with brambles. Cutting out every little stem took forever. For the first hour, I didn’t even touch the main bushes.

When I called it a day, I’d only made it through about a quarter of the brambles, and all the berries I had harvested had long been eaten.

At home, there was a lot to be done, so I split my time between the garden and home–usually following whatever the weather was in the mood for.

Our favorite neighbors moved out and left behind quite a bit of furniture. We were lucky to inherit most of the shelving. I’d stuffed it all into the basement to deal with later.

Furniture doesn’t go bad, blackberries do.

At some point, I’d like the garden to be a place anyone can walk barefoot, so I got a bin for the thorny brambles, gloves for my hands, sandals for my feet, and a strong pair of garden shears.

Sore and scratched all over, I wondered what I’d gotten myself into. I didn’t go back for two days. Instead, I got more sore and scratched from hiking through the forests with my husband and Pepper.

It didn’t take long for me to go back, though. There were more and more ripe blackberries taunting me, and I knew I had to get rid of the thicket of brambles to make room for food crops.

The next patch added stinging nettles to the mix. Knowing that the itch doesn’t last, that the stings are medicinal, didn’t really make getting nettled any more fun. But the fine nettle hairs won’t survive the winter, so they’ll break down fine.

Anything without thorns gets chopped and dropped to add nutrients to my land.

Three afternoons later, I finally got to harvest the fruit of my labor–quite literally. The blackberries growing up my fence were heavy with ripe, sweet fruit. This was what I had come here for that first day. The basket was filling up fast, and I was happy.

There were still a lot of blackberry bushes around me that needed to be dealt with but I could see the fence, and an end in sight.