Monday, July 23, 2012

A Peace Treaty of Sorts

I have two different blackberry bushes in my yard. In the front yard is the "I'm going to take over the world with kindness and big juicy berries!" Blackberry bush.

When these berries ripen, they are 1.5 to 2 inches long, bursting with flavor and practically hop right off the vine into my hands. As you can see, there are few, if any, thorns to be seen on the vine or anywhere near the berries. Harvesting from this vine is an absolute pleasure and I look forward to going out there every morning to see what has ripened.

In my back yard is Mr. Prickly Grumpy Berry vine. The first few times I tried to harvest from it, wow, did it bite me. It was not a nice experience, and in contrast to the front bush, the berries are much smaller.

Can you see the thorns? And the comparative size of the blackberries?

Well, I haven't given up on harvesting the fruit. So I made a peace treaty with the vine. I will only harvest the fruit I can reach and leave the rest for the birds and bugs. If it insists on biting me every time I try to gather fruit, then I will just have to trim it back all the way to the fence and see if it wants to try again next year. While the berries are much, much smaller than the berries up front, they are still very sweet and yummy.

Today I noticed that 80% of the berries were ripe and ready to be picked. I talked to the bush the whole time I was out there, reminding it of our agreement. It only bit me twice, which was a vast improvement over the other times I've been out there. There are plenty of berries under the leaf cover, but I wasn't about to go diving in there for tiny berries that didn't want to be picked. I did find a couple of really awesome leaf-shaped bugs crawling over and around the vine, though.

Speaking of peace-treaties, I also have agreements with the bees in my yard, too. They are more than welcome to pollenate all of the plants and flowers, as well as build hives in whichever part of trees they choose. I'm totally fine with that. I will pick berries along-side the bees doing their work. The agreement is simple. I'll leave them alone, and they leave my children and myself alone. So far this summer, there have been no incidents after the first time the kids saw a bee and freaked. The wasps are a little more scary, and I let them work because I haven't found their hive yet. But they haven't bothered the kids yet, either, thankfully. I prefer a balanced eco-system in my back yard. If the birds and garden snakes will eat the insects, I'll happily let them have part of my fruit. Fair's fair, right?

I just wish more insect eating birds and spiders would take up residence in my yard. I really don't like the earwigs. And the earwigs love my peaches. But if I spray for earwigs, it will kill the other insects, too. I'd try to make some kind of agreement with the earwigs, but I'm convinced they're evil and wouldn't keep it anyway. Like mosquitos and gnats. Just annoying and evil and here on this planet just to be food for spiders and anything else further up the food chain.  

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