Enter the blackberries (Again) bringing the fiddlebacks too

There are days when we work hard and then there are days when you hardly work.  Yesterday was definitely a work hard day.  With the advent of fall weather closing in on us, it is the time of the year to do all your fertilizing and reseeding.  Now earlier this year we planted our pastures and they turned out quite well really.  However, there is this one hillock that just didn’t take.  I think part of the reason is that the Spring rains washed the seed to the bottom of the hillock.  You can tell because it is overly lush and green there.  With no grass growing, it was open season for bracken fern, salmonberries, and blackberries to start taking over.


Everyone has choices when managing say a lawn or pasture. You can go the easy way and turn to the manmade spray chemicals and, poof, those weeds are burned away.  I happened to have my farm supply store throw in a gallon of weed killer for kicks with my fencing order thinking this may be a good idea.  When it arrived, I was stumped.  The name of it was “Brash”.  So, ok, if you are going to name a product something, this is not what I would have chosen.  I mean, why not just call it Destructo Maximo Enviromento.  When I read the manual (yup a complete manual was included) it listed how, when, and what to use it on.  I got stuck for the longest time on the logistics of it; it may as well have call for a haz-mat suit ‘cause they came right close to saying burn your clothes afterwards.  The cherry that tops the cake is there was no mention of Bracken Fern anywhere in the list of weeds it can manage.  Oh sure, plenty of mention on the dangerous environmental impact it has.


So, having the organic and green philosophy that I carry, it was not too far of a leap to decide this product shall be returned unused, washing my hands even after carrying the sealed bottle.  Besides, if you want weeds gone, you simply need to replace them with something else to grow in their place.  Bracken fern disappears once the grass crowds it out.


My focus then was on the hillock which was Mt. Bracken Fern.  I wanted to reseed it.  The first task was to clear it;  bracken fern, no problem, salmonberry shoots, easy to yank out.  Ah, then we’ve got the blackberries.   These suckers spread their thorny ivy paws horizontally across the ground. I hand pulled each and everyone and got the scars (through my gloves) to prove it.  I was amazed that these were the same plants that produce those great berries we harvested just a couple weeks ago.  Then raking commenced; after everything was in neat piles (big piles!), it took me a number of wheelbarrow trips to port the stuff out of the pasture and over the side to rot, um, “return to the forest”.


“Be gone!” I declared triumphantly.  Now I await a nice morning rain to sprinkle its love kindly on the hillock so that my little seeds will sprout and take hold before winter makes them dormant.  I even went a little pagan and did a ritual blessing of the hillock asking Mother Earth to bless the seeds with growth. Awww…


Fall is the time of year up here where the days are still pleasant, but the nights start to get a bit cooler.  What that means is the bugs that are around at this time of year seek warmth at night.  At this time of the year there are still the grasshoppers clicking there way around the field, but are on the decline.  Even the mosquitoes are diminishing (though bugs are not a big issue out here as they are, say in the southeast US).  We are blessed with the fact that we also have nothing poisonous lurking in our forests. No poison ivy or poison oak, no sumac, no poisonous snakes to bit you either.  We do have black widow spiders and brown recluses, but chances are really slim that you run into one.  That is, until I met the late season spider of the year: the fiddleback, a brown recluse like spider that is huge!  They have a big bulbous butt and on the back is some white markings that look like a fiddle.  I understand (from my neighbor) that yes they do indeed bite and can fester. 


I discovered these suckers as I walked around the outside of my yurt and saw that there were some interesting webs catching the bugs.  I like that!  Then I saw that one took up residence in the crease of the top cover.  OK, that’s a wee bit too close for comfort.  So, I threw out my green philosophy for the moment and bug bombed the inside of the yurt, just to be safe.  I mean, I’ve never had a problem with bugs in the yurt.  The occasional mosquito and fly get in (well, and a bat that one time). Still, I also haven’t had the yurt up this late in the year before.  It can stay up year round, but we were using it seasonally before this.  I just can’t afford to be bitten by a brown recluse like spider right now, so I had to weigh the options.  I’d rather the chemicals get thrown around inside the yurt than on the grass outside the yurt. (Boy my logic is starting to get on shaky ground).  Anyway, the spiders are gone and with the cool nights happening, all the rest of the bugs are gone too; just not indoors to my yurt.

About David

Making manifest the change I want to see in the world through the hospitality of a humble little homestead campground with yurts and alpacas.
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1 Response to Enter the blackberries (Again) bringing the fiddlebacks too

  1. KIMBERLY says:

    Thank you very much for sharing your new adventure with us. 

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