Clark Hollow Ramblings: A rough season 

It seems to me that the people who say the 17-year cicadas don’t hurt anything need to rethink that position. There isn’t, as far as I know, a lot you can do about them, but they are not just passive little bugs that give you a ringing in your ears and then go back underground for a long sleep.

We had a couple of big trees in the yard when we moved here that had been attacked by someone with a chain saw in an effort to prune them, and it was obvious they were not going to survive. We had planted several small landscape trees in an effort to get in front of the problem when the old trees finally gave up the ghost.

The cicadas just about killed the small trees. Every branch on them died from the cicadas depositing their eggs about a foot from the end of the branch. On an older, bigger tree, this damage would be negligible. On the small trees, it was almost a death sentence.

In addition, my peach tree, a smaller cherry tree and my apple tree suffered the same fate. That was bad enough. Then we had the bitter cold of last winter.

We had about 24 blackberry vines that my brother-in-law gave us several years ago. They served very well for some berries for our cereal or ice cream and especially for a little blackberry jam.

If you have blackberries, you know that every year the plant sends out one strong shoot, that doesn’t have blooms on it, and, of course, doesn’t have any berries on it. That is the shoot that will bear fruit the next year. Every winter, you cut back the shoots that had berries on them, but leave the other young shoots alone.

This past winter killed all but two new shoots on the blackberry vines. The plant isn’t dead at the root, because most of them are pushing up little green shoots again, but there will be no blackberries this year for grandma and the grandchildren to pick. I suppose it was the cold weather. At least, that’s what I’m blaming it on.

But, except for these little frosts that keep hitting our garden, I am ready to declare that spring is here, and new life will once again spring from Mother Earth, and all will be well. At least, that’s the position I’m taking. I hope that works for you, as well.

And speaking of new life bringing hope eternal, I trust you had a blessed Easter. Our little church has enjoyed the graciousness and hospitality of the Settle family for a number of years. We had sunrise service in their front yard, and, once again, it lifted some spirits that needed lifting.

There was a campfire and an old rugged cross, and a wonderful service that I hope all enjoyed. I know it lifted my spirits and gave me inspiration to fight the next battle, whether it’s bugs or Mother Nature just acting up. Stay well.

Richard Brady
About Richard Brady 154 Articles
Richard Brady was born and raised within sight of Rappahannock Peak, as was his father, grandfather, great-grandfather, great-great-grandfather, etc. He graduated from George Mason University and was employed for 35 years with various agencies of the federal government. He retired in 2001, and he and his wife, Linda, live in Flint Hill, Va.