There is a scourge growing up and down Vancouver Island called Scotch Broom.  It is an invasive species of plant that grows wild and in control in Scotland, but when introduced onto our Island years ago found the perfect conditions to spread like a plague.  For a couple of weeks a year it blooms in yellow flowers and looks pretty but the rest of the year it is an ugly spiny evergreen.  The biggest problem is that every time it blooms every plant sends out 10,000 seeds that root and spread.  They choke out trees and all native plants and grow everywhere.

Think of the worst SF movie about pods landing on earth and wiping out humans.  This is the future threat for all plants on Vancouver Island.  The Broom is immune to any herbicide short of napalm and grows a metre a year with thick hard stalks.

It has become much worse even since we moved here.  Ryan road which runs from Courtenay to the airport used to be clear cut along the road.  Now it is thick with broom on each side.  Every property that is not regularly gardened is being covered with them.

Like the aliens in Mars Attacks, they do have a single small weakness.  When they are in bloom if you cut the stock at the base and drag the bush off to be burnt, the plant dies.  Cut it at the base any other time it immediately twins and grows back.  Apparently when they are in bloom the strength goes to the flowers so if you cut it at the base the plant dies.  (it would be much easier if we could only play yodel music to kill it)

So every year in May there is a huge volunteer effort on Vancouver Island to cut down and clear Broom.  Seems like a hopeless cause but a popular volunteer effort.

This morning I joined a group clearing a 2 acre park in town.  I cannot believe how exhausting it was.  Using lopers to cut the plants at ground level (the plants range from 1 to 3 cm in diameter at the base of the stalk)  and dragging them to a spot where they could be picked up and destroyed.  I spend 3 days a week at a fitness club but 2 hours cutting broom today exceeded any workout I would normally do.  I am stiff and sore  tonight, but strangely content since we did free one park from the scourge today.  I did this last year as well but forgot what a workout it can be.

Reminded me of a time when I went to help fill sandbags to curb the flooding of Lumsden.  Granted I was 18 at that time and I did not hurt as much as I do tonight.

But I will go back to this for the next week because the self satisfaction of doing something for the environment does offset the aches (and it helps that I have had a couple of rums tonight)