Tuesday, April 8, 2014

The Invention of Velcro

Cool and cloudy, in the low 50s as the week started. Now rain.

On Monday I tackled my annual spring chore of cleaning up the bittersweet, multiflora roses and autumn olives on the back hill and in the meadow. This is the time to do it before everything leafs out and makes the tangle of brush impossible to maneuver in.

Burdock seed capsules
Even so, the bare vines and jungly dead growth from last year is awful.

I hack, I chop, I dig and lop.

It's not gardening.

It's bushwhacking. It's brush hogging, but by hand, with pruners and a bottle of woody herbicide to paint on the cut stems.

Every year I am careful around the tall dead stems of giant burdock that grows among the trees on the hill. I've had the velcro burs stick to my clothes, and one time I got the burs impossibly tangled in my hair.  Eeesh.

So I was particularly careful around the burdock plants on the hill as I chopped back vines.

Of course you know what my caution produced. This time I got burs stuck to the back of the polarfleece collar of my winter parka (it was cold out).

Stuck to the collar! Meaning I got burs down my neck. Burs in the bottom of my hair, some in my ears, a lot down my back.

Burs even got stuck to the velcro tab on the back of my hat. Oh, the irony.

It's not truly like velcro. Velcro rips apart easily. Burdock burs cling and never release.

It's not even like my brush hogging is very effective. I only get about a third of the invasive thugs that grow in the formerly disturbed area that I am trying to reclaim.  I'll need to be out there again and again before summer sets in and finally deters me from setting foot in the jungle.

But I do it every year, and maybe it helps. And every year I relearn, uncomfortably, how velcro was invented.

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