March 17, 2003


I am cutting some old fallen trees from the side of a hill so steep that, when I put my saw down, it either rolls or slides down the hill. I considered tying a rope at the top of the hill and repelling down with my saw. Good thing, though: the sections of wood tend to tumble and roll right on down to the creek soon as it is cut free.

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Making a hard job even harder, the hillside is covered with greenbrier. Genus: Smilax. Favorite common name: "Wait-a-minute vine". So called because when passing through a wooded spot where these devil-weeds grow, somebody before long's gonna be saying "Hey. Wait a minute" while they disentangle themselves from this green beast. The vines seem to have the tensile strength of bailing wire and the thorns are tough and sharp. There's no sense trying to hurry through a thick stand of this stuff.

Where I'm cutting, its hard to say if snipping them at the root is a help or a hindrance. Once freed from its roots, a vine seems to be able somehow to attach itself to my shirt or jacket or jeans and trail behind me as I slide awkwardly along the steep pitch, barely able to stand up, even without this extra bedevilment.

Another common name for members of this species is "Catbrier". I didn't understand where this name came from, until, coming in after wrestling with this horrible stuff the other afternoon, my arms looked for all the world like I'd been fighting off a score of mad cats and the cats had won. I'd even been cat-scratched through my jeans.

I have to go back at it, over on the brier-infested hillside, for another couple loads this week. If I wait much longer and it warms up any, I'll be wishing the briers were the worst of it. The cussed yellow jackets will be active, and they seem to be attracted to any movement in the woods that disturbs the leaf litter and exposes fresh soil.

When the wood's all in, it'll be time to think about repairing the deer-damage to the electric fence (there were four in there last night when we came home) and time to get in a gardening frame of mind. It's been a long dang winter.

Posted by fred1st at March 17, 2003 05:36 AM | TrackBack

You oughta try threading a 9' flyrod through that stuff. "Wait-a minute" indeed!

Posted by: ronbailey at March 17, 2003 06:09 AM

I've had to wait many, many minutes because of that vile stuff!

Posted by: peggy at March 17, 2003 08:24 AM

A can, no, a case of Raid for the hated yellow-jackets. I have learned to look at a spider and let it pass, and the same for the evil, evil, cold-blooded snake. But the yellowjacket shall not pass me, except in stealth. I could spend all day killing stupid wasps.

I've learned to ignore the scratches from the stupid briars. There is no winning with them --just an acknowledgement that we will each do as much damage to the other as possible. I will win in the end, but it's a hollow victory.

Posted by: Scott Chaffin at March 20, 2003 11:16 PM

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