Some serious blackberry annihilation happened this weekend with the hire of a brushcutter with a steel blade. Though there are still plenty of blackberries to harvest, Eug showed no mercy and from 10.00 am – 6.00 pm the whining sound of a two stroke motor could be heard as it felled the silent mess of stalks. Splattered in blackberry juice, like a maniac he swiped and swayed until by 1.30 pm on Sunday he had cleared the inside boundary leaving a hedge, varying in width, to serve as the fence. The ground falls away into the gutter of the road, most likely posing a challenge in controlling the blackberries once they are cleared beyond the fenceline. The remainder is an ugly mass of stalks and long weeds, difficult to rake as many are still attached to the roots. In fact there are piles of stalks and sticks all over the block that need to be collected together and burned.
It was an enormous weekend of hard work, and while Eug was on the southern boundary I continued to maintain all the maze paths on the northern side, clearing around trees, raking and pulling out weakened roots. It certainly seemed that the well clipped plants had more yielding roots, whereas those with green shoots were still impossible to pull out. Perhaps it is true the shoots provide life for the roots.
Cleaning up the southern boundary is going to occupy us over Autumn and Winter. In the meantime I’m sure there are another couple of weeks of harvest in the maze which has not been touched. The Blackberry vinegar has been the most popular product so far, especially as cordial. And we must have 2 kilos of frozen blackberries in snap lock bags. After the Hepatitis A berry scare this year, we really should be going commercial!