Saturday, May 06, 2006

Berry Delight

Blackberries, while good to eat, are a real problem in the Pacific Northwest. Anytime the soil is disturbed Himlayan blackberries take root. Today between showers I was clipping back vines. My goal was to clear out the area I see out the kitchen window.

As I started clipping and piling, my donkey brayed and the sheep baahed. What was I doing throwing away perfectly good food when they were obviously starving. So I moved down their direction (there are berries everywhere) and threw the branches next to the fence. Heads popped through the fence and devored the greens. The pigmy goat Nibbles (someday I will learn to not take animals people don't want anymore) aperated through the fence and helped clear the leaves so I could see the big vines.

At some point I realized I had stopped working at clearing out berries (a job) and started feeding treats to my animals (a joy). They've done a great job of clearing their field and a path outside the fence themselves. It doesn't look like their necks are 2 feet long, but a path that size exists that wasn't here last year.

When I started clearing a path to Jesse, who had taken a walk in the woods and gotten stuck on the other side of a briar patch, I got grumbles from the fenced crew. Jesse rescued, I came in for a late lunch, and the sheep wandered off. Nibbles levitated back into the field (I never actually see her get between places, but she seems to go at will).

I now have a much larger path, several berry-free moss-covered stumps sprouting huckleberries, and happy sheep. Another good day.

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