I can always grow blackberries

Blackberries are considered an invasive species in United States, because they are not native. They were only introduced to the US in the 1880s. It’s difficult to find much information on exactly who brought them over, probably because, as my brush remover guy said, “I’d like to dig him up and kill him again.”

I love eating blackberries, but when we moved to our new property, I was not pleased to see most of the slopes surrounding the main yard were covered in them. I prefer to procure my blackberries from other people’s neglected yards. We hired the brush cutter suggested by the previous owner, who did not maintain the majority of the shrubs. They really needed to be removed before they invaded us like an old B-movie monster.

I was thrilled there was someone close by who could help us and as he delivered his machinery onto our land, I felt we were knocking this land ownership thing out of the park. I felt good when he started in on the bank below our little barn. I was okay by the time he made it across the area. I became a bit concerned when he began a third humongous pile we’d have to burn. I soon discovered land looks much smaller when it’s covered by blackberries. I couldn’t watch.

By the time he made it to the bottom of the first slope, I was indoors taking care of household tasks. My husband came in and said, “You should go look and make sure it’s what you wanted.” I hired the guy to do a job; I didn’t feel I needed to check up on him. But I dutifully put on my boots and tromped out there. I not only observed he’d made it to the bottom of the hill, but he was in a large corner I didn’t even know was ours. I panicked. I knew we owned everything to the fence, I just didn’t fathom how vast it was until all the blackberries were gone.

I rushed in and told my husband he had to make him stop. The reality of how many piles we’d have to burn, how much property there actually was, and the amount of maintenance we’d have to do to keep it that way pushed my previous “I-am-landowner-hear-me-roar” assuredness into a vortex of despair. My hubby headed down the hill as I frantically searched for the brush guy from the top. By that time he had moved to the front area.

The brush cutter stopped as my husband approached. After conferring, he dismounted and headed up the hill towards me. I was attempting not to freak out when he said, “Talk to me.” I burst into tears and rushed into the house, leaving my husband to try and explain my behavior.

It had been an emotional week with the death of our friend, and my husband used that to cover for me, but seriously it was one of those moments when I realized we probably bit off more than we could chew. I pulled myself together enough to go back and explain that I panicked over the extent of the work we would need to do just to finish the job, not to mention the task of keeping the blackberries at bay. I gave him my blessing to resume his work.

Later, once I was back to my normal level of insanity, I thought of the possibilities of having a little forest park. Perhaps it’s an overzealous dream, but at least it grounded me for the time being. And if nothing else, I can grow blackberries down there.

Gretchen Leigh is a stay-at-home mom who lives in a neighborhood near you. You can read more of her writing on her website livingwithgleigh.com; to see pictures illustrating her columns, follow her on Facebook at “Living with Gleigh by Gretchen Leigh. Her column is always available at maplevalleyreporter.com under the Life section.

More in Life

Turn off the screens and head into Covington

Chamber, city and the school district work together to get kids outside

This time of year, it’s all about the harvest

The fourth week of August is time to reset for the coming… Continue reading

Couples tried on costumes for fun selfies at the 2019 Covington Sausage and Cider Fest.
Pour Covington another

Residents enjoy annual Covington Sausage and Cider Fest

Aaron Crawford is based in Seattle, and his latest album, Hotel Bible, nit No. 24 on iTunes. Courtesy photo
Aaron Crawford headlines Ten Trails event

There will also be a grand opening of two new model homes at the housing development site.

The Soup Ladies need a new truck

Rotary Club of Maple Valley leads fundraiser for volunteers who feed first responders.

The Maple Valley Youth Symphony Orchestra presents “Sunday Afternoon by the Sea” at 2 p.m. May 19 at the Tahoma High School Performing Arts Center. Courtesy photo
Upcoming events: Maple Valley Youth Symphony to play with U2 tribute band

Other events include ‘Mamma Mia!’ at Kentlake HS; Harry Potter movie night.

Gretchen Leigh is a stay-at-home mom who lives in a neighborhood near you. You can read more of her writing on her website livingwithgleigh.com. To see her columns come to life, follow her on Facebook at Living with Gleigh by Gretchen Leigh.
Pulling the right strings

What would we do these days without Father Google to teach us how to manage life’s challenges?

In May, Kentlake High School will present several performances of the ABBA-inspired musical “Mamma Mia!” Courtesy photo
Upcoming events: Kentlake presents ‘Mamma Mia!’

Also on tap: Greater Maple Valley Unincorporated Area Council will meet about water issues.

Gardeners love our veggie-friendly Western Washington climate

Here are the most incredible edibles to grow now.

Always and forever

With the exception of my blackberry meltdown last week, I have finally… Continue reading

Fishing boats sit on the shore of Lake Wilderness during the Hooked On Fishing Derby. Photo by Kayse Angel
The 2019 Hooked On Fishing Derby

The derby took place at Lake Wilderness in Maple Valley over the weekend

Maple Valley wood carver creates chainsaw art

Ken Gruenes spends his retired days creating art out of tree stumps with his chainsaw.