Weeding is hard. I’ve gardened before, I knew weeding was hard. But I’ve never gone up against something like this before. I swear the vineyard has its own ecosystem. There are birds, bugs, and fungi as well as the overgrowth from the grape vines and the weeds, weeds, WEEDS.
The birds and the bugs weren’t particularly considerate about posing for a picture, but I did get the mushrooms.
It was hard to know how to even begin to attack that mass of growth, but since I don’t yet have clippers (or shears, or a chainsaw…) I decided to start out low to the ground, with the stuff I could pull out by hand. I pulled a good bit all the way around the perimeter, but mostly I focused on what I think must be a gap between two trellises in the middle.
I really love the way that looks. It’s like a path to some magical place, the road less traveled by. The other side is equally intriguing. (Obviously they only lead somewhere magical if you walk the path instead of going around. Don’t you read?)
Getting down on the ground, pulling up some extremely mature weeds helped me get to know what to expect going forward, in the vineyard and in our eventual garden; which kinds snap off at the root (presumably plotting to come back), which kinds have prickles, which kinds weave themselves in with everything else, which ones have surprisingly pretty flowers.
One particular weed, which has been identified by my wise friend Apothecary as mile-a-minute, was particularly prickly. Some of my ex-boyfriends could rival it for clinginess, but I don’t think any of them would win.
Once I’d started clearing some out, I started to be able to sort out the pattern. I think one of the reasons the grapes haven’t been entirely overwhelmed is the presence of what appears to be some kind of weed-blocking cloth. Obviously it’s not 100%, but I have to imagine it helped.
I also realized that there’s a whole space that doesn’t get the kind of sunlight that plants need. It’s weirdly barren down there, with just the stems of plants that have their leaves much higher up. I suspect it may also be where some of the rabbits we’ve been seeing around are living, although I’m no bunnyologist. (Obviously).
In the end, I managed to produce a big enough pile of weeds that it felt worthy to show off on my blog. So thank you, people who are reading this, for giving me that source of motivation. Even the viewer with the Chinese IP address who is probably a bot. I appreciate all of you, and you helped me do this.
I also cleared out enough of that “path” down the middle to be able to get in there and take a picture looking outside. I thought that would probably be the coolest, most rewarding part of the day’s work. And it was pretty cool!
But it wasn’t the coolest thing. In fact, the coolest thing wasn’t anything that I did; it was all the plants. Those grape vines, despite being in a constant fight for their lives against plants, insects, animals, and fungi, despite having been neglected for who knows how long, have managed to make some fruit!
Sure, they’re tiny little baby grapes, and these were the only ones I saw. But that still seems like a reason to celebrate, to me. And it’s renewed my determination to keep these vines, despite the huge amount of labor that’ll require. Those grape vines haven’t given up, so I’m not going to give up on them.
I’m gonna eat the heck out of those grapes.
If you enjoy this blog and want to help support Queer Homesteading, consider donating to my GoFundMe.