this is the only conclusion i can come to after having our monster-plant positively ID’d as blackberries.

so- go all of you who called it correctly!- even over the internet, without photos and with only a vague and fearful description to go on…

last night i went out to do a few more random things and my daughter came out with me. she tossed  her frisbee over near our garage, in an area that is all concrete, but mentioned that her frisbee was stuck under “some of those pokey weeds”. so i went over and kicked it out from under…

this morning, i had that dawning, what the heck???…  smack the forehead moment. holy crud. i got her toy out from under a clump of thorns growing out of concrete??????

so, i donned the muck boots (necessary for all farm-type chores, whether they involve true muck or not. it’s all about the mind-set.), and the farmer mommy jacket (which was, until yesterday, my actual jacket, but which is now so full of scuffs and skid marks and puncture wounds from the battle of the blackberries 1.0 that i cannot in good conscience wear it in public. at least not without overalls and muck boots…), and my leather/suede garden gloves (only one of which i wore yesterday- big mistake…). i grabbed the long-handled pruning shears in addition to the short ones and went out to assess the situation.

and at first it did appear that the thing was indeed growing up through the concrete.

so i did what any good farmer would do. i got a sharp shovel and shaved it off at the pavement and then i chopped the bejeebers out of it.

after that little bit of catharsis i realized that it had actually come through my fence. an almost solid wooden fence.

now, this is no small feat, since my fence at that point in the property is about- and i’m not making this up and i just went to double check it-  100 feet higher than the next property over.

so not only did those suckers break through my fence, but they scaled a wall to do it. special forces apparently have nothing on invasive blackberries.

and i wonder, to what end, blackberries? is life really better on my side of the fence? would you really rather grow in my concrete than on the grassy knoll on the other side of it? have you no standards?  have you no shame?

and also, here’s the thing that really gets to me: in nature, who the heck is eating these berries? i read on the helpful link (thanks deb) that birds will eat them and spread the seeds (thanks birds. not.), but aren’t bears supposed to eat berries? well, i’m guessing they don’t love these suckers. i heard that goats would eat them, but poor goats! who would take a chance on mangling their goat’s lips on these horrid torturous plants? maybe someone who really hates goats.

my friend, who drove up this morning as i was literally hacking through sections of my fence trying to get this awful plant to release the boards, and said, “oh, you have blackberries!” told me that her husband had experience with removing them. the company he works for occasionally has employee morale day, or employee morality day, or some such thing, and sometimes they do local do-gooder projects. one of  them was to un-blackberry a section of a local park. so they supplied them with a pair of super-industrial gloves (kevlar, anyone????)- but get this- they had AMBULANCES on hand!!!!!!! yeah- just in case!!!!!!!!

wow. so i feel like i don’t even need to say any more than that about these plants ‘cuz that just says it all.

now that i realize they are capable of literally destroying my fence to get onto my property, though, i need to go into the backyard at some point and do a perimeter patrol. right now i am pretending that i’m not doing it because the yard waste container is full, but really i just need a break from sharp objects. i feel like i’ve been in a willy wonka factory gone wrong. as i type, i’m looking at all the little mini-cuts on my hand and thinking about that “death by a thousand cuts” (which clearly isn’t real…).

the good news is, i am at least 50% done with the great blackberry eradication project of 2013.

the grey chicken, who i very much wanted to call dorian (in spite of being vaguely afraid she might sell her soul to the devil in exchange for eternal beauty) has now defaulted to being called macy.

the gold-laced wyandotte, in spite of all the pretty names you guys came up with (thank you!), is agnes. i know, i know, but this is the story: i was sitting hanging out with them and she just seemed like such an agnes to me. i kept debating with myself and trying on all of the prettier names and none of them seemed to fit her. i kept trying to talk myself out of agnes, but she just felt like an agnes. so i came inside to write it on the list of names to think it over, and i saw that i had written it a few days earlier with a star next to it already… so, she clearly repeatedly gave me the agnes vibe, even though i didn’t remember it. you are what you are, i suppose… the unnerving thing is that she had been sneezing when we got her, (didn’t notice this until we were home the next day, though…) and she has some goopy stuff in one eye. i’m hoping very much that she is not contagious and that she will not die. if you think/know different, please tell me, but break it to me gently. so far, the other chickens don’t seem sick, so i’m hoping that’s a good sign…

i have two rhododendron bushes that i put for free on craigslist if someone will come and dig them up so i can have more space for veggie gardening in the front yard. the chickens are doing a fantastic job of aerating the soil. things are really starting to take shape for spring planting- provided CL doesn’t let me down and someone wants to come and sweat over our free bushes :)  but i am finally getting a vision of things being closer to how i want them to be, and that feels great…

and that’s about it from the bass farm.

what’s up on yours?