Along the north side of the two acre mowed open area is a wild blackberry patch. This year the patch produced thousands of berries that dried and died on the plant due to lack of water and attention. So today, with pruning shears in hand, dressed in long sleeves, long pants, and a sailor hat coated with insect repellent, I decided to cut out the dead canes and drag them out of the patch to make room for next year's crop. Blackberry thorns are extremely sharp and stiff like rose thorns only 1/2 inch long! My clothes, now covered with snagged threads where the blackberries showed their resistance to pruning, has become my blackberry patch outfit.
Hesitant at first I tried to reach in with my shears but the patch held me at arm's length. As I got bolder holding the green canes out of the way with my arm or leg, more dead canes could be cut and removed. For about two hours I trimmed and cut until I had created a path wide enough for me to walk into the patch then cut only the dead cane to the left and right of the path as far as I could reach. Dave drove by on his lawn tractor with trailer and hauled the canes to the burn pile. Tomorrow I will make another path. The patch is large enough for approximately twelve similar paths. In the spring the first year canes (the green ones that didn't produce berries this year) will be pruned to about 3 to 4 feet high to encourage branching for berry formation. (I will enjoy the blackberries much more when they aren't taller than I am.) The antioxidant value of the berries in our diet is definitely worth the effort to grow and harvest them. Meanwhile I need to read up on blackberry nutrient and soil requirements.
We arrived in Maine two weeks ago and find settling in quite enjoyable. The preparation and move itself proved very stressful what with quitting my job. But now that we are moved, finding our way has indeed been an adventure. I praise God for preparing this place for us. There is much work to do and many things to learn. I can hardly wait for each new day to begin. And the stars, oh my, the stars. On a clear night we can see thousands of galaxies, billions of stars, all of the Big Dipper with the last star in the handle being just above the horizon.
Magnificent creation. Magnificent Creator.
LESSON: "Just as the weeds are sorted out and burned in the fire, so will it be at the end of the world." Matthew 13:40