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A story to tell for the rest of their lives


I seem to get myself into these weird predicaments. Remember my train station moment? This was worse. This was not just in my head, this was for real. Real, real. 

It all began with a little wanted ad on Freecycle. Innocent. Harmless. I asked any of the local gardeners if they had any berry bushes that would need thinning out come spring. I received lots of responses. One woman, whom we will call by her last name, Grace replied to tell me she had a blackberry bush she would let me dig up. I could come by the next day and dig it up anytime I wanted. It was to the right of her driveway and was a “big prickery mess of a plant.”

Adi and I were so excited. I felt horrible all day and really wanted to get some fresh air. We grabbed the shovel and gloves, then piled in the truck and followed her instructions on how to get to her home on roads without street signs. 

We quickly found her home, located the “big prickery mess of a plant” and proceeded to dig. I was thankful that we brought the truck because this thing was a monster and would have never fit in the back of the minivan. 

As we loaded up, I noticed a high schooler walking home from school and joked at how funny it would be if that was Grace’s child. Can you imagine walking home and seeing someone drive off with your mom’s blackberry? 

I had already picked out the spot where we would transplant the big prickery blackberry. The girls and I got to work. The last shovel full of soil dropped over the roots and instantly I became worried we dug up the wrong bush. I am not super familiar with plant idenfication, but I had a deep feeling I had done something wrong. 

Gil began googling. Apparently people don’t take pictures of dormant blackberry bushes often, especially pictures of blackberry bushes that look like the newest addition to our berry orchard. 

I began emailing. I wrote my freecycle friend and expressed my worry and apology for the mistake I thought I had made. I offered to pay for whatever bush I destroyed and internally vowed to never dig in random people’s yards again. 

330 minutes of waiting for dear, sweet confirmation that the prickery mess I selected was the right one.

Since most of our life seems to relate to Seinfeld, my husband consoled me with this: 



5 1/2 hours later, Grace emailed back confirming my greatest fears. She simply asked for a chunk of the lovely butterfly bush back and graciously said that it was extremely hardy and would survive the upheaval unscathed. I was to still take the blackberry bush and she would clearly identify which bush was mine. 

My pride forced me to return the next day during working hours in hopes that I wouldn’t have to meet Grace face to face. I did the deed. I prayed over the big prickery butterfly bush, that it’s roots would quickly take back to the soil which I had rudely ripped it from 24 hours earlier. I located the berry bush, faught with the roots to release from the earth and smiled at her tag. To encourage the butterfly bush to re-root well, I left a tray of butterfly cookies and a so-sorry note on the porch, then took off. 

Grace now has a story to tell everyone. So do I. Thanks for your grace, Grace. 

Thanks to this up close and personal encounter with butterfly and blackberry bushes, I will never, never, NEVER confuse the two again. In case you are like me, here are some pictures  to help you when digging blackberry bushes from random yards. 


my 6 year old photographer captured this as
evidence of our replanting of the prickery butterfly bush.
A well labeled, well pruned blackberry. 




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