The mostly humorous ramblings of my day to day existence.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

The Armenian Blackberry… the Devil’s Fruit in my backyard.

Also known as the Himalayan blackberry this luscious black fruit is tempting, and hard to resist. But it’s also a demonic weed bent on world domination!
You can see them everywhere in western Oregon, large inviting brambles that in the late summer display perfectly sculpted berries. They are sweet, delicious, and a perfect fruit to use in a milkshake. They’re made into pies, muffins, jams, and they can even make oatmeal taste good! But at what price do we pay for this succulent gift?
If blackberry brambles could speak you would hear them whispering to you “Come over here, I have yummy berries, I would never poke you.”
“Lying Succubus!” I would yell back at them. I keep forgetting plants can’t hear me, or can they?
The Oregon department of Agriculture calls the Armenian Blackberry “the most widespread and economically disruptive of all the noxious weeds in western Oregon. “ Did they say weeds? Yes they did. This noxious weed will take over the earth eventually, growing more than 20 feet per year with deadly spikes. Well, they would be deadly if you got poked enough times.
I’ve been battling the heinous weed in my yard for years; they have been an uninvited guest since they drew first blood in 1997. Anyone who lives in Oregon knows that when you try and remove the despicable weed the damned things fights back! Scratching, poking, and disfiguring your whole body until you look like you were fighting naked with a pack of feral cats. The welts get red, itch, and ooze; you’re in such misery you may as well just get drunk. You could battle them in suit of armor to keep from getting poked, but I think you would still be bleeding.
I’ve tried all kinds of creative torture on the spiky pests. I’ve used a weed whacker with a metal blade, dug them up with shovels, pulled them out with Kevlar gloves, and even let chickens peck them to death. They still keep coming back no matter what I do. The only consolation is that the chicken pecking is very satisfying. “Die Weed Die!” peck peck peck. I guess my next step is to rent goats.
I blame birds for spreading this spawn of Hades everywhere for thousands of square miles. The birds with their strange ever focusing eyes peck, eat, and drop millions of purple gifts from the sky. The seeds in those delightful bird bombs sprout, and like a malignant cancer start spreading their disease across the landscape. The berries must actually be very dark purple, but I guess calling them blackberry makes more sense than calling them really very purple berries.
After cutting, pulling, and piling the long spiky pests I once lit a match to the pile. Flames shot 30 feet into the air, and I thought for sure the fire department was going to get called, or Smokey the Bear would show up with his shovel and give me a lecture about starting fires.
But instead I heard a voice from two houses down that yelled “Watcha burnin over there?”
“Just some blackberries” I yelled back.
The voice then replied “can you burn mine too?”
There’s something special about burning blackberry brambles that brings neighbors closer together. When the flames are tall and the smoke is thick I swear I can here neighbors chanting “Burn, Burn, Burn you Bastards Burn!” It’s rather unsettling actually.
Usually I haul them away to be turned into compost. I’m charged $2.50 a truck load to have them taken off my bleeding hands. When transporting them I don’t have to tie the load down, they won’t blow out of the truck, like Velcro the thousands of thorns keep them entwined together in one dangerous mass. After dumping off the load of spikiness, they are cooked down by composting, and then resold to me later for $22 a truck load for enriching my tomato beds. It just doesn’t seem fair.
One day I may temporarily evict the weeds from my yard. I have dreamy thoughts of a day when I can skip through the grass without a bloody foot. But until then, I’ll just keep eating them in jam and peanut butter sandwiches, while devising new ways to kill them.

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