I came home last night at the tail end of a work week to find Gwen knee-deep in a thicket of Himalayan Blackberry. Armed only with loppers and too thin gloves, she was uncovering a trellis of half-buried grapes in a part of the property I had turned a blind eye. (Plus, my neck is still tender from yanking out these buggers on the exact opposite side of the property earlier in the week.) My baby was getting stuff done!
While these particular shrubs do produce a sweet, juicy, and plump (if seedy) berry, they will simultaneously turn you indigo and also shred your epidermis with thorns like a Great White’s third row of teeth. Plus, they are downright greedy!
A couple hours and several splinters later the grapes were liberated from the razor-ous tentacles. I pried out a few more root masses and hung them on the fence as a warning to the others, like Texas ranchers do for coyotes. It was truly a gruesome sight.
Employing my favorite hand tool for moving brush, the potato hook, I was able to gather all the canes into a pile at the top of the hill. Then, through a process of lightly stomping, whomping and turning, a giant vegan blackberry wrap was formed thanks to the seating of all those gnashing teeth.
Gwen is seen here competing in the Blackberry-Burrito-Rolling Games of 2016 as she deftly guides the beast down the slope like the lion tamers of ancient Persia.
This is an example of working smarter (and funner) than working harder. After all, as part-time farmers, we don’t have the time or energy to continue the grind at home.