It’s truly astonishing how quickly weeds and other unwanted greenery can grow and get away from me. I kept a horse and a donkey on the back part of the property for at least a decade. They kept all vegetation trimmed right to the ground. The donkey, a Death Valley rescue, even ate poison ivy and prickers. He wrapped his little donkey lips around wild roses and berries.
After I no longer had the horse at my own place and the donkey went on to higher pastures, I ran pigs across the same area for several years. Nothing has been done for perhaps four years.
I decided once again to raise pigs in the spot and let them do the preliminary work of preparing for another garden next season. Grandsons Michael and Christian showed up on Sunday afternoon to help set up the pig pen. To my amazement, the place was completely overrun with multiflora roses. We are talking about a solid mass over six feet tall and easily 50 feet in length. It was in full and glorious bloom but bound for glory. Why, I would not be surprised to see it marching into the house next year.
Being no-nonsense young men, Michael and Christian went right to work. They had Walmart-purchased, scary-looking machetes (that’s another story). They hacked their way through the tangle and cleared an avenue for a fence.
By day’s end, two little black pigs were settled into a new home.
The roses in June are simply breathtaking. They have received ample rain during the last few weeks and are just lovely. I see them all over town and marvel each time.
The multiflora rose is a different story.
A native of Asia, it was introduced here in eastern North America as a natural hedge row to contain grazing animals and as a conservation tool to prevent soil erosion. However, like many introduced species, it has become entirely invasive. Now that it is blooming, one can see it everywhere along the roadsides and on stone walls.
It is sometimes used as root stock for ornamental roses. Do everyone a favor and never plant one.
I took a trip to Bruno’s waste plant in Oak Bluffs on Saturday. There is a remarkable stand of coreopsis flanking the facility. It is so cheerful to see it surrounding a dump.
Allow me a completely sexist observation. Women who have men never go to the dump. What’s up with that?
On the way to North Road from Beetlebung Corner, there is a small farm offering garlic scapes for sale. I came home and checked my patch and did not find one of the curly tips. I was curious about that since I recall eating them sauteed with sugar snap peas last year at this time.
My outdoor planting of sugar snaps is ready for picking. I polished off all the early-planted ones in the unheated hoop house.
I must say I stand corrected. I actually like the roundabout. So far I have zipped right through it every time. The problem now is the entire Edgartown Road. Why would the middle of June be Verizon pole exchange time?
Oh! While I’m complaining about driving conditions, I have to mention tailgating. My dad told me if I was so close to another car that I could read the plate number I needed to back off! I drive around in a dump truck and sometimes cars are so close behind I cannot see them in my mirrors. Pity them if I stopped quickly.
I received a follow-up letter from my friend Kenny in Chilmark. He wrote the coming home piece in my Memorial Day column about his return trip from Vietnam where he was wounded. Here’s an interesting addendum:
“About 17 years ago my son Kevin was a sophomore in college and was asked to write a paper describing what it would be like to be his age returning from Vietnam. He wrote part of the story I gave you for the paper. The instructor gave him a C-, writing on it that it was not believable!
“Memorial Day — remembering those no longer with us. Sgt. Evans from Texas who died next to me that day in Vietnam, to all those troops on every side of all wars, to their mothers and fathers, brothers and sisters who never got to hold them again, to the wives they never got to love, to the children they never tucked into bed and to the grandchildren they never saw — the insanity of it all.”
Thanks, Ken, for putting it all into perspective. Let’s get out there and enjoy our families, friends and the world itself.