Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Blueberries for Caitlin

As you may or may not know, this property has been in my family for (let's round it off, shall we?) 50 years. My great-grandfather bulldozed a house site, graded a few roads, dug some irrigation ditches (hence the 'glorified puddle', or the 'small pond' - they all in theory drain into that one), and (most importantly to me) dug a well. Other than that no one has done anything to this place.

He also put in an asparagus bed and a blueberry patch in when not a lot of folks here in the Piedmont were eating either of those things. (Blueberries are a big thing in SE NC, but asparagus?) Needless to say many of our neighbors remember Mr Cammack, and many have asked me about the blueberries and asparagus and whether or not they're still here.

The asparagus, alas, we have not been able to find and I think its chances of having survived this long would have been something of a miracle anyway.

BUT. The blueberries are THRIVING. The original patch we know is such due to the disintegrating (yet still there) plastic (?) mulch someone put down at some point poking up out of the fallen leaves, etc. Blueberries LOVE acidic soil, and we've got 40 acres of pines that have been adding a nice thick layer of compost to the ground, and acid to the soil, for years. So there are volunteer blueberry bushes all over the property. You can hardly swing a cat without hitting one.

Who the hell came up with that expression?

Anyway, the first task my mother set to upon arriving here was to clear out the copious amounts of dead growth from the original patch. Which we estimate to be about 50' x 15' (the width GREATLY varies in places). This is mostly to make MY job of pruning them this fall after they produce easier (especially since I will be the first to admit I really don't know what I'm doing), and also to help try to curb their height. In some places I'd say they're a good 12' high. Some varieties are supposed to grow that tall, but I have NO idea what type he planted...so...

Behold the transformation:
Before. Yup. THICK.

AFTER. FYI: my mom is kneeling. She is not an elf, nor are the berries building-height.
Within days they were flowering and producing new growth in mass quantities. There are (green) berries everywhere. I am super duper excited. Stay tuned.

5 comments:

Kerri said...

I can see it now...people driving hundreds of miles just to buy one of "Caitlin's Stoneyhaw blueberry pies". You're about to become a legend!

George and Kerri said...

The swinging a cat thing... when in doubt just attribute to Mark Twain. If someone calls bull shit then they have done your work for you! ;)

caitlinvb said...

I feel doubly comfortable attributing to Mark Twain as the prep school where I lived as a child always took summer field trips to his house (we were in CT, after all) and it used to be one of my favorite places!!

And if by 'people' you mean George and Kerri, bring it!

Dogwood Cabin said...

OK...I've done the work, but I'm not calling BS! The most interesting theory is that the cat refers to punishment by being whipped with a cat o'nine tails. Below deck, there wasn't enough room to lash the whip, so the punishment was given on deck, where there was "enough room to swing the cat." It might have morphed from there! :)
BTW, lovely pictures! I cannot wait to see the results of your first blueberry experiment. I will be driving hundreds of miles to check it out!

caitlinvb said...

That makes SO MUCH SENSE! My mother (the Linguist w/the PhD and who revels in etymology....) and I were kind of wondering about it, but too tired from chicken palace building in 90 degree heat to look it up. You are such a dear to come up with a theory. I'll buy it!