Tuesday, February 09, 2016

Observations gleaned while pruning a blackberry thicket

On a beautiful day, it is important to find meaningful work to accomplish outdoors. A winter-tangled blackberry hedge provides such diversion. Such a job is perfect, as it requires just enough concentration and judgement to allow the mind to focus on other matters and takes up enough time to generate a number of observations.

Notice how the brackets where last year’s berries grew look remarkably like gnarled hands. Express gratitude to them for last September’s bounty.

Consider following the lead of golfer Tommy Gainey by wearing two gloves, not just one on the ‘pulling hand’. Add one for the ‘pruning’ hand too. It may be more difficult wielding the secateurs, but there is little doubt that there will be fewer scratches on the exposed hand and, as a result, less blood.
Note the differences between dead and living branches. Colour is the obvious marker: green as opposed to brown. But living branches also have much bigger thorns, though the thorns on the dead ones seem sharper, pointier as if they have withdrawn into a harder, tougher form of themselves. The biggest difference though is their weight. The dead ones, some of which are completely dehydrated, are oh so much lighter than the nourished (wet) living ones.

Next time, wear a baseball hat. The thorny branches seemed to enjoy grabbing me by the hair. At one stage, I considered using the pruners to chop my way out. Fortunately, with patience as my guide, my messy braid emerged intact.

Think about writing a letter to the City, requesting a larger ‘green bin’ container, as this one is now full to its 360-litre capacity brim. Luckily, pickup is every week.

Stand back and admire the important task of the season’s first prune.

Meditate on the sour-sweet flavour of blackberries on the tongue. Think of all those jars of jam that will result from autumn's crop. 

1 comment:

Milen Abraham said...
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