In August, when they start bearing their first delicious fruit, I am in love. Dog walks become a meander around the hedgerows, both of us selecting the ripest (she chooses the lowest, I go for those higher up). I hire the kids to pick quarts of them, freeze some for baking later, make the rest into jelly for toast. In August, it’s honeymoon time.
By late September, the novelty has worn off, the fruit is not tasting so sweet to me, people are no longer sneaking the last slice of pie from the fridge. By now, we’ve had one or two altercations – pricked fingers, perhaps a sting from the competition. I turn my back on our time together, and move on with my life.
In mid February, we get a spell of warmer weather, and revitalized after the winter season, I head out into the world that is the back forty, full of assertiveness and determination. I am going to put limits on this relationship – it simply cannot be allowed to run rampant like this, taking over my life, my farm, and perhaps even the world.
Armed with secateurs, long arms clippers and leather gloves, I go on the attack. For a while it looks like I am in charge after all, my nemesis is cut down to size in many places – behind the barn, around the driveway, beside the compost. I am euphoric – this year, THIS year – I am calling the shots.
And then April hits. Warmer weather, lots of rain, things begin to grow visibly overnight. I can see the warning signs, but am powerless, in the grip of a force I cannot withstand.
Now, in June, I can see I am doomed to repeat the endless cycle of our relationship. I foresee that though I hate now, I will be over the moon again in just a few short months. Except…wait….
There is help! Coming to my assistance are my loving children, who know a money making opportunity when they see it. It is worth the price. As recently as yesterday, an afternoon attack by the older daughter produced a significant result – a huge section of barn wall suddenly reappeared after a 2 year absence.
It’s a fine line we tread here. I am not after complete annihilation – the thought of August’s passions loom in the back of my mind. I just don’t want to be taken over completely….
Ahh, Himalayan blackberries…why can you not learn to live in moderation? Why must you attempt to dominate the planet like this? You have adapted too successfully, and seem unable to live a peacable life with us without constantly pushing at my limits. There are other sweet fruits around you know…strawberries, now, would be a gentle friend.