Cutting paths through the blackberries

The large area of the garden to the Northwest was solid with 6-8 foot tall blackberries. We could see a few trees poking up but otherwise the area was a mystery.  Then in late summer (2106) Daiva took his big earth moving machine and literally rammed his way through to clear some access to the area.

Back and forth, this way and that he went.  The result is a giant maze with wide pathways strewn with long broken blackberry branches and roots that lie in wait to trip the unwary visitor.

What was revealed includes a wonderful grove of Oregon White Oaks that can provide welcome shade in the hot summer days. Another spot under some large deciduous trees has a grand view and borders a little secluded meadow. One path leads to the seasonal water flow that drains the field above.  We even found the remains of what may have been a small apple orchard at one time.  What fun it was to explore the area and imagine what it will be like when it will be more park-like, dotted with benches and shrines and flowers and fun little places to just be.

Basic RGBIt is in fact a random maze – you can’t see over the blackberries so it is very easy to get disoriented in there.  We needed a map.  Fortunately Google Earth updated their image of the area about half way through Diva’s clearing work, so we had a head start at mapping.  Next I simply walked around and about repeatedly carrying my phone with a GPS tracking app running.   It sort of worked, but such tracking is not very accurate and I got a lot of exercise and some very confusing data.  The resulting map however, is fully adequate and allows us to identify several special spots and the routes to visit them.

We are all deeply grateful to the group of enthusiastic young interns at Laurelwood who pitched in to create practical paths we can all walk on through the maze.  They pulled out many enormous blackberry roots, and spread hay over the best places to walk to delineate the path and make it easy to navigate over the bed of broken branches.  The task is unfinished and will resume in the spring time.  (You are all welcome to come join the fun.)

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