Posts Tagged blueberries

Blueberry Chronicles, 2020.

The Gray and The Brown and The Blue —
and the Accidental Engineers.


Brown Thrasher

Blue Jay

The birds have not been pleased abut what we’ve done
the past three years with our nets.

But we weren’t happy with their version of sharing, either,
knocking each berry to the ground with a single peck on the day before,
by our reckoning, that berry was ripe for picking.

We had been tossing the 25 foot square nets, best we could,
up and over the bushes. It was slow, rough work
both for us and for the bushes.
The branches carried the weight of the nets, especially at the tips,
and lots of berry clusters were knocked down.

And because the branches were pressed right up against the nets,
the birds could scramble over the top and peck through the mesh.

The challenge we set for ourselves in this year of quarantine was:
could we devise a structure to hold the nets over the bushes?

It had to be doable — this year, before the berries were ripe —
also affordable, reusable, closed tight against the birds,
but openable somehow so we could get inside and pick.

Moving up the hill, section by section,
roughly in order of ripening.

The very tallest and widest branches still push against the net,
in a few places, but mostly the bushes are free inside.

To our astonishment, we did something like what we set out to do.

The berries cost half-a-dollar apiece, something like, this year.
Subject to amortization, perhaps, depending on how many times
we can take it all down, store the pieces,
and put it up again.

For the moment, it looks as if we might have won.
Sorry, guys.

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The solstitial thickness of peak green.

There are flowers, of course, in all colors,
all around, in pots, and planters, and plots,

but it’s green when you look out or look up,
high in the temperate rainforest
of Western North Carolina.

Drastic escalation this year
in the battle over blueberries,
the outnumbered humans versus the birds,
the jays, the catbirds, especially the thrashers.

We won by draping mesh cages over the bushes
and over ourselves while picking,
four nets 25 foot square,
scheduled to amortize against berry value by 2028.

Meanwhile, on basically the same amortization plan,
but now with a vegetable patch behind it,
our rockwall garden thrives
and we can dial up the sun anytime we want.

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Chlorophyll abetting breath.

Not always green,

or not only green,

unfurling from the core,


as if their coils of DNA had been compressed, then let go.

A few of Earth’s three trillion trees, under white clouds,
mostly voting green

— more trees here than stars in the galaxy
as recently reckoned —

while the green then gray berries
fatten into blue
and we and a thousand wild birds wait together
poised to strike.


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Alas, the leaves of grass emerge.

Last week’s front yard was wild and rich.

But when you live in the woods
IMG_20150510_192530372you have to strike a deal with encroachment,
yours and the wood’s. Mark the edge.
IMG_20150524_201901860Mowing machines make possible tick-free passage,
IMG_20150524_201854858cut the blueberry bushes from the jungle,
IMG_20150524_201829324and give perimeter plants a chance at light.
IMG_20150524_202138451You can park a car, and find it in the morning.
IMG_20150524_202627599Defend your pots and beds and plots from wild things.
IMG_20150524_202833332Thanks, Huskvarna.

Update. The day after this picture, they were gone.
IMG_20150509_184221753Fledged or lunch, depending.

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