The sun is back! For real! Not just poking it's nose out between crowded clouds, but actually shining brightly in a mostly blue sky. Pooch, Dummykins (one of the cats) and I decided to take advantage and headed back out to the back yard to continue on our progress from yesterday.
Using hedge trimmers, a set of giant branch clippers and a lot of overhead reaching, I got a 90 minute workout while unburying half of my fence from the thousands of feet of brambly blackberry bushes that had embraced the chain-link fence and then eaten it whole.
Blackberry bushes give me this fantastic upper body workout every year somewhere around the end of May or early June. Every year, I vow that NEXT year I am going to start cutting them back in February or March so that they are easier to manage, and every year our schedule gets crazy and the weather is too wet and the whole project gets forgotten until the blackberry tentacles have consumed the fence and have started reaching their spindly fingertips towards the house in an attempt to eat us alive.
I have finally learned to wear long sleeve shirts, long pants and gloves when working in the bushes. The layers help to warm up quickly and produce sweat in amounts roughly triple what I normally have at the end of a workout (which makes me smell delicious), in addition to protecting me from painful scratches and thorn-slivers. It only has taken 4 years of managing them for me to figure that out. But I try not to complain about the bushes too much because mid to late summer they produce enough blackberries to keep us fed for several weeks.
As my shoulders began aching and the vibration of the electric hedge trimmer started making my carpel tunnel tingle, I sadly realized that the other half of the fence will have to be rediscovered another day. Even still, after 90 minutes of clipping, trimming, pulling, pushing, tearing and dragging vines around the yard I decided I was going to do just one more section of trimming before calling it a day. I grabbed the big clippers, hoisted them overhead to clip a large vine trying to invade from 9 feet in the air, began to close the handles and prepared to hear the juicy "snap" of victory as a clean cut was produced and... a giant slug fell ON MY FACE.
Making the chaotic freak-out from yesterday over baby spiders seem like a timid shudder, I promptly smacked myself in the forehead repeatedly to get the damn thing off of me, yelled out a YEEEAAAAAAAGGGGGHHHHH!! that made the neighbor's dog's start barking (Pooch and Dummykins just watched me in amusement and were no help whatsoever) and then frantically started wiping my face with the only dry and semi-clean part of my sweatshirt which was conveniently located on the inside-lower-back portion of the garment so I had to take the whole shirt off to make fabric-to-face contact. After frantically rubbing as much slug-goo off of my face as possible, and cussing and stomping and throwing a general fit, I kicked the slug across the yard where Dummykins finally decided to "help" and pounced it.
I then realized I was not wearing an undershirt.
Isn't exercise fun?