Apple-Obsessed Author Fella

Macro Monday Has A Lot To Say About Invasive Species, Apparently

Here’s a fun thing that happened:

All weekend I’ve taken to doing some random long-needed yardwork, one task of which involved attacking the invasive grasses that have, well, invaded our property. These grasses were once ornamental, procured by someone somewhere — a neighbor, our home’s former owner, some random Forest Hobo — and they bought them from Home Depot or Lowe’s or some other proprietor of invasive plants masquerading as friendly landscaping greenery. They planted these grasses. These grasses spread like emerald fire across the roads, driveways, forests.

These grasses form a pretty significant root ball, too, so they’re incredibly hard to remove.

So, I decided I was going to tackle one particularly massive patch, see what kind of damage I could do. Our weedwhacker with the blade attachment wasn’t working, though — I cleaned the spark plug and checked the filter and whispered the secret words into the motor, but still nothing. I decided to get my very own blade attachment: A MACHETE.

Machete in hand, I went to attack the grass.

I was successful not only in chopping the shit out of the grass, but given how much it has been raining lately, I was able to rip up several of the root-wads right out of the damp earth. (Sidenote: we seem to have stolen the PNW’s weather, as it is unseasonably cold and rainy — right now it’s 60 degrees. In August. Sorry Seattle and Portland! I know that you’re presently on fire and stuff. I blame those wacky climate hoaxsters, The Chinese.)

So, that was good fun, but now I am in pain. The backs of my thighs feel like Ivan Drago has been using them as punching bags. Sitting down is an exercise in sudden, unexpected misery. But it came from being productive, so I’ll take it, and also, SCREW YOU INVASIVE GRASSES.

The next day, a tree fell. And it fell in part across the road, so I went down to take a look — initially I assumed it was going to be one of our ash trees. We have problems with the (also invasive) emerald ash borer around here. (Sidenote: you can inoculate your trees against them, even if the ash borer has already begun to attack the tree. Used to be that it was a thousand bucks per tree, but I guess the patent expired or something, and now it’s produced by other companies for around a hundred bucks a pop. You literally poison the tree to poison the bug. Doesn’t hurt the tree. Kills the bug.) But this tree was very leafy and green, so I went over to it and started lopping some branches and moving stuff off the road, and then I was like, “Hey what are these green berries on the tree that’s weird,” and then I was like, “Hey you know what has berries, poison ivy, and I’ve never seen the berries but this surely can’t be poison ivy, because the leaves are huge, and they’re not in groups of thr… wait no they are in groups of three wait this tree is dead it’s just colonized by so much poison ivy it looks like it’s alive oh shit oh shit.”

I went home.

I scrubbed and scrubbed.

I used gritty soap and then Tecnu soap and then showered.

And this morning my right arm looks like I’m wearing a shirt made of poison ivy.

So that’s fun.


Curiously, though much of my weekend was spent dealing with invasive species (including cutting down invasive Tree of Heaven trees and killing the invasive bug that eats them, the lanternfly), poison ivy is not actually invasive. It’s part of a healthy forest ecosystem, and shores up the ground against erosion. It’s also a fucking shitty asshole dick. *itch itch itch*

*scratch scratch scratch*


I told you about those cool book sales. They’re still ongoing.

You saw Turok #1, right?

And since we’re talking about invasive things, hey, don’t forget that book I wrote about ants, ants, ants: INVASIVE.

Did you remember that I’m at the Writer’s Digest conference in NY on the 18th, 19th, and 20th? I’m on a couple panels — one about worldbuilding and another about building an audience with a blog. (That last one is tricky, and I am likely to offer controversial opinions about both building audiences and making bloggery.)

Also reminder that I’ll be in SF, Portland and Seattle with Kevin Hearne and Fran Wilde on October 17th, 18th, and 19th, respectively.


please to enjoy these new photos taken by yours truly

*chops off arm in the meantime*