In which I copy a Civil War general and tell an old joke

With Jim's back still *pinging* a little bit, I decided to do everything EXCEPT plant railroad ties for a few days...which meant donning the heavy-duty armor and going to the lowest, wettest section of the pasture to clear out the blackberries and pound t-posts.

This is the "before" picture. Notice the healthy growth of plants on the left margin, especially blackberry vines. ARGH! MUST KILL THEM!

Now, take a deep breath, and envision Sherman's March to the Sea.

Suck in those rebel yells, you horrible vines, Savannah, here I come!

I brought all the Implements of Destruction with me for this task. In the photo (click to enlarge), from left to right:

Safety glasses
Water bottle
TWO pairs of gloves
Helmet/ear protection/face shield

First step: hack apart as many vines and branches as possible with the brushcutter. I have now officially trashed my very own first set of brushcutter blades. They look like something has been chewing on them! Well, yeah: blackberry vines. Chomp chomp chomp.

Next: scrape and chop the vines, branches and foliage away from the future fenceline. 3 feet of cleared space is "trail master standard," but these are blackberry bushes; I wanted 6 feet of dead ground between those demonic vines and my fence. The McLeod was the perfect tool for this, because I could hack apart vines and scrape them away from the fenceline without having to stand in striking distance. Still, I'm not fooled into complacency: safety glasses ON!

Third step: Burn it.

Stop me if you've heard the joke about the Devil down in hell.

He's got a receiving desk, and he only asks one question of each sinner: "Where are you from?"

No matter what they answer, almost everybody gets tossed into the flames of damnation. However, a few get stacked up off to the side instead.

A new demon, recently transferred from sunnier climes, asks Satan the significance of the stacked-up sinners.

"Ah," says the Devil. "Those folks are from Seattle. They're too wet to burn."

So it is with the plants at the bottom of Sherman's March (perhaps I should call it Sherman's MARSH?) . The 100,000 btu Dragon generates heat up to 2,000 degrees Fahrenheit.

Theoretically, I should be able to vaporize sizable ponds with one squeeze of the handle on this sucker. Trees should catch fire and instantly transform into gigantic fireworks.

In reality, I point the hot Dragon at the sturdy Swampland grasses and vines and they....steam a bit. Horsetails sparkle, and buttercups sizzle some. Blackberries don't show much change at all. Humph.

At least I'm in no danger of starting a forest fire, but seriously, I'd like to get a LITTLE bit of flame for all that effort.

Apparently the heat will damage plant cells sufficiently to discourage further growth. I only hope that's true.

Luna, outstanding in the field as usual, this time beside the newly-cleared Sherman's March/Marsh. See all that nice clear space by the fence posts? Anybody wanna place bets on how long it takes for all those vines to encroach again? Anyone? Anyone?

In other news: at least one of our baby bunnies has survived to young adulthood. This one was nibbling on landscaping yesterday.

The peeps are growing and are mostly fledged now. They are also starting to make clucking sounds. Such pretty girls! At least, so much prettier than a week ago!


  1. A month. We originally strated clearing ours to run a pygmy-goat-level hot wire along one side of the fence that proved escapable after about 30 seconds of testing. On Monday we put up the insulators only to find that blackberry back with a vengeance. I have resorted to hoeing out the roots along the fence line and may ask the neighbor if she minds me backhoeing the whole stand into short-lived oblivion.

  2. Really? You think only a month? I was hoping to get to mid-summer.....


  3. Amonth? You need a herd of goats! Mom

  4. when we get a fence, we can have goats. But prices are too high for goats right now--I need a nice, free goat. Maybe after Fair....


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