[Tweeters] I Have A Dream

Jeff Gibson gibsondesign at msn.com
Tue Jan 20 09:32:48 PST 2015

On Martin Luther King Day here in progressive Port Townsend, I spent a few hours Doing The Right Thing with other volunteers at a Marine Science Center event - removing invasive's at Fort Worden.
Yup, this was a focused event: the intent being removal of invasive europeans. Sorry, First Nations , I don't mean white people, because then the volunteers would have had to eliminate each other, I guess. No, I mean invasive european plants. Native? Invasive? Chosen? Humans have a lot of strange ideas. I do like Reverend Kings dream though - a work still in progress.
Scotch Broom and English Ivy were the target pests of the work day - well known habitat disruptors. I've always wanted to use one on those big broom yankers, and yesterday I got my chance. "Broom Yanker" is my term for a tool that goes under several different names, but basically, is a long pry-bar with a clamp on the low end. You place the clampy thing around the base of the broom shrub, and pulling down on the long bar, the clamp grabs the broom stem and you lever that suckers tap root right out of the moist winter soil, with a satisfying thunk. Gotcha!
My work buddy for the day turned out to be Joyce (we were the J - team) and we created quite a pile of yanked scots. Being middle-aged people of moderate size we were unable to yank some of the largest broom- but we tried. What we needed was a cheater pipe for about 4 ft more additional leverage, or maybe just a Seahawk on the end of the pry - one of those real big ones.
I would like to note that I do admire the Scotch Broom, as a plant, kind of like how I admire Starlings. Scots broom; the Vegetable Starling. I find it to be an attractive plant - foliage and flowers - interesting. One of our victims yesterday was blooming - it has been balmy lately.
Oh yeah, that dream I have. My Dream is to torch Everett's Jetty Island.
Why? Because the place is totally overrun with Scotch Broom. In spring, I call it Everett's "Gold Coast", because then the whole place is glowing with blooming broom. Quite beautiful really, especially on blue sky days. Blue and gold go so well together. But this Beauty is an ecological Beast - eating up opportunities for native plants - and better bird habitat.
So my big dream is to go out to Jetty Island one warm and windy day in my dented aluminum canoe, maybe with a can of diesel fuel. In my dream, I then proceed to light the whole damn place on fire. "Bye bye broom!" I'll quip. Of course in my dream, I will have taken care of all the public safety issues, so no folks get burnt. In my Dream, all the birds fly safely away, and whatever mammals have swum out there, swim away. It would just be such an exciting event! OK, so there would be a little air pollution - hey big deal, it would just be for a few days!
Too bad it probably wouldn't really solve anything. That damn broom is tough stuff. Fire, especially if not hot enough , might just encourage it's persistent seed to sprout. You'd have to have a follow-up work army of little kids, boy and girl scouts, Auduboners, native plant freaks, work-realease prisoners, whoever, to pull all the new seedlings up. Then the army would have to come back for a few years of follow-up, including planting lots of native plants, like Nootka Rose, and Snowberry etc. Wouldn't a few patches of Shore Pine, or Sitka Spruce be nice for bird diversity?
So that's my Dream, such as it is.
Jeff Gibsonimaginary arsonist
P.S. - note to Everett Fire Department: this is just a dream I have - I'm not really gonna do it, unless it's with your permission. Thanks.

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