I like Thanksgiving in Tennessee because it looks like this:

You’ll notice Sara decided to dress up as a Pilgrim.  The girls rode one of my buddy Jim Taylor’s horses after dinner, but I didn’t know that until they were done, so no pictures.

I spent Thanksgiving doing my duty as a patriotic American male – eating turkey and watching football – then spent the next three days finishing my assault on the briar jungle.  Here’s another before picture from last weekend, when I was just getting started.

Did I mention the briar was incredibly dense?

I’ve hated the stuff ever since we moved in.  Something about briar attracts discs when I play disc golf.  Even when I try to be careful reaching into the stuff, the thorns grab ahold of me and shred my skin.  Here’s what they did to me this weekend — and I was wearing sleeves.  The thorns poked right through my denim shirt.

So clearing the briar wasn’t a labor of love.  It was a labor of hate.  Here’s what the area looks like now that I’ve exacted my revenge.  I cleared the thorn bushes up to our property line.  The jungle continues on the other side, but that’s not my problem.

This picture was taken from what used to be the middle of the briar patch.

In addition to thorny bushes, we had thorny vines that wrapped themselves around the trees want to keep.  I cut the vines at the base and we pulled down the ones we could.  That’s Chareva in the picture below, yanking for all she’s worth to bring down a vine.  (I offered to help, but she had a personal vendetta against this particular vine and was determined to bring it down herself – which she did.)

Once when I pulled down a vine, it whipped me on the side of my head and a thorn caught my ear.  If I ever want to wear a diamond stud in my ear, the piercing job is at least halfway done.  I said a bad word and bled for awhile.

As I cleared the jungle, I found some dead trees.  We had no idea they were there … the briar was so thick, we never saw them before.  If they’re not rotten, we’ll cut those up for firewood.

We also collected quite a few dried sticks and branches for kindling.

I hacked away that jungle for three days (plus last weekend), working until dark.  It was tough and sometimes painful work, but worth it.  I am, as Charlie Daniels would put it, Dog Tired Satisfied.

14 Responses to “The Farm Report: Jungle Boogie”
  1. Elenor says:

    Bravo, looks wonderful! (Albeit you seem bloody but unbowed!)

    That pretty much captures it.

  2. Thorny vines are evil and serve no purpose. Proof that if there is a God he sometimes doesn’t like us very much.

  3. Marilyn says:

    WOW! You’re certainly making good use of your new toy. I don’t know anything about those briars. Will they grow back slowly enough so you can keep ahead of them now?

    We had a crew cut some down near the creek several months ago. Those just have sprouts, so we’ll keep whacking ’em. I hope eventually they all give up and die.

  4. smgj says:

    You should keep some goats and a couple of pigs. That would (probably) get rid of the briar completely.

    PS – great work. I bet it’s really satisfying to see what you have accomplished.

    It was indeed a pleasure to step back and look at the former jungle.

  5. Dianne says:

    Sounds like the briars were fighting back! Congrats on winning. So, when are you getting a ranch truck?

    We’ll buy a truck eventually.

  6. Joe Dokes says:

    You need a truck. 🙂 Your minivan ain’t gonna cut it, the gun rack is completely optional though.


    Joe Dokes

    A truck is in the future plans.

  7. Marilyn says:

    Gives one new respect for the pioneers who cleared the land initially. . . with considerably less-sophisticated artillery.

    Exactly what we were saying to each other this weekend: imagine having to do this with axes and machetes.

  8. If you leave a couple of brush piles along the property line (10′-12′ cross, 4′-5′ high), they make good cover for the bunnies.


    Hmmm … if we ever decide to set bunny traps ….

  9. ngyoung says:


    Kinda surprised to see this on the yahoo.com main page. Actually cites most of the myths from your movie.

    Good to see more of this in the popular media.

  10. Dave M says:

    I was working on my own briar patch this weekend as well, although its not nearly as large as yours. We also have thick vines wrapped around trees, and they were a pain to get down. Some of them are still up there.

    We have a few vines that we’ll have to let rot and fall off. They’re too thick, too entwined and too high up to pull down.

  11. Sally Myles says:

    Now imagine doing all that lot on the Standard American Diet of grains grains grains and more grains. Three days?? Three weeks more like. And you’d have gone to bed feeling a damn sight more tired, I’ll bet. A big well done from me, who is guiltily looking out the window at next door’s Ivy that I have let take over my fence. I need a tool like you’ve got….

    On a standard American diet, I wouldn’t have had the energy to put out that much effort all weekend.

  12. Dave Wilson says:

    I hate briars. They seem to have some sort of irritant that coats them. The scratches burn and itch far more than one would suspect for being as small as they are, comparatively.

  13. Marilyn says:

    @Sally Myles: Ah, yes. Neighbors. How well I remember the endless supply of bindweed and deadly nightshade that I had at one place, thanks to the neighbors on the other side.

  14. Joe Dokes says:

    I’ve often heard the phrase “into the briar patch.” It now has crystal clear meaning.


    Joe Dokes

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