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Gambol in the Bramble

Photo by Michael Dziedzic / Unsplash

Sometimes ideas for a blog post surface organically, like the other day. We were beginning to clear a huge tangle of old-growth blackberry vines that had taken over a corner and two sides of an outbuilding. They’d grown so tall last summer we couldn’t even reach the berries, much to the birds’ delight. Working my way into and under the bramble with a pair of loppers, I uncovered a couple of old rusted cans and the remnants of a tennis ball. I found some gratitude there, too. With thick gloves on, it actually felt good to tug on the vines and work out the soreness in my arm from the COVID vaccine I received the day before. My practically indestructible denim jacket kept thorns at bay. The humus layer of the soil that had been undisturbed for so many years released a rich earthy fragrance as I worked. Best of all, we were treated to a recording of Maya Angelou, played over my husband’s portable radio.

We trimmed those tough old vines and loaded them into the trailer. It became obvious pretty quickly that we’d have more than one load.

We’re blessed (or not) with three blackberry bushes. The biggest, best and earliest berries grow along a fence where they are more easily managed. Those are pie-worthy!

I remember the days when we had a burn permit on file with our local fire station. All we’d have to do is call and if the weather conditions were right, we’d be given permission over the phone to burn yard trimmings on our property. And we did, many times, in the autumn and winter. I’ll never forget sitting around a January bonfire with our neighbors, our faces warm and backs cold, their Labrador retriever stretched out between us.

Those days are long gone, replaced by air quality restrictions. Ironically, you can no longer burn your trimmings at home, however, it’s perfectly fine to burn gasoline in your truck to haul them to the nearest composting site ten miles away.

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