Much of this glorious Memorial Day weekend was spent outside: eating ribs on the porch, sleeping in tents in the backyard, and catching frogs at Great Meadows.
I call my oldest son the frog whisperer. I mean, sure, there's a lot of commotion during the actual catching process, but then look:
The frog's just sitting on his arm. He was there for a while, too. Why isn't he jumping off? It's a wild frog!
Usually you can't get your hands on a frog, never mind ask them to pose for you. And even if you do catch one, they're slippery little guys that wiggle free and execute all of these hoppy evasive maneuvers until they're safely entrenched back in the murky shallows. I thought it was a fluke, but then it happened again later with a different frog. And here he is again with a toad:
(The amphibians couldn't stand the rest of us for even one second.)
Anyway, this post isn't about frogs and toads. It's about our other Memorial Day weekend activity: trying to rein in the wild kingdom that is our backyard. It's a jungle back there! A poison-ivy-canopied, possibly-tick-infested jungle. I'd like to say it's all under control now, but the truth is, it will never be under control, and therefore my willingness to exert myself wanes before it even waxes. As long as the boys can retrieve their wiffle balls without contracting hideous, weeping rashes, I feel my landscaping responsibilities are complete.
But there were a few pleasant surprises in the yard mixed in with the unpleasant ones:
Wild black raspberries! They're not ripe, yet, but they will be in a few weeks. What started as one cane a few years ago has turned into a veritable bramble with hundreds of potential berries. The plants are aggressive and thorny, but they're better than some of the other aggressive, thorny plants I fight with every year. The compact berries are delicious for snacking, as well as in cakes, jams, and salads. We may lose a few wiffle balls in the process, but I like to think it's worth it!
I think these are wild blackberry blossoms. I know I sampled a few blackberries one year on the steepest part of the slope, and they seem to have spread. They must like the poor soil and constant erosion we have. The problem is that they're in an inconvenient spot, so I always forget to check on them at the right time, which is later on in the summer. I'm pretty sure the birds remember, though!
My first blueberries! About eight years ago, I planted three blueberry bushes. Not once have I seen a single blueberry on any of them. I checked! Well, feast your eyes on that cluster of six berries in progress! Yeah, okay, so they're the only berries on the whole bush. So what? It's better than the other two bushes, which don't have any at all.
The long-standing principle in my yard is Survival of the Fittest/Most Delicious. Let the hardiest, tastiest plants win!!