Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Grass Management

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There is an ebb and flow to managing a 20-acre property and animals in a rural setting that on the surface is significantly different from my old life in the suburbs. From my perspective, it’s not as dissimilar as one might think, beyond the obvious increase in scale.

I was thinking about how it feels like I pay more attention to the weather now than I ever had before, but that’s not really the case. I’ve always been fascinated by the weather. I fretted about the dilemma of either too much, or not enough precipitation impacting the growing things on our suburban lot, just not on the same scale as I do now. Back then, it didn’t get the same degree of attention from me, I suppose because there was less at stake.

I’m sure I had the neighbors chuckling over my activities yesterday, as I rode my little lawn tractor to mow part of the big hay-field beside our driveway, racing to beat the rain. The back field looked so darn nice that I overcame my hesitation to look foolish, and cut as much as I could before time ran out. Just like we had done two days before, I started by pulling a rake behind the Grizzly ATV to scar the surface to be seeded, switched to the lawn tractor to pull the seed spreader, then set about mowing as much of the rest of the field as I could.

Most of what I was doing was in sight of the horses, and they seemed to take great interest. This is the field where we let them roam for most of the time since they arrived last fall. I expect they are feeling a bit frustrated to not be given access now that the snow has melted. Our plan is to graze them on other fields and to grow this space for hay.

I only cut about half of the field before the precipitation started. I think it will be a challenge to get the rest done, because what’s left is thicker grass to start with, it will be wetter, and the new moisture will help trigger a growth spurt. I had wanted to get the field cut before spring growth started, which is the reason I was using the lawn tractor in the first place. It is light enough that it can work before the ground is dry and not leave wheel ruts.

If I’m not able to get that second half mowed, it could provide comparison to show the difference mowing made.

Whether our plan to improve the grass in that field works instantly, or not, it sure looks better right away. It is likely the improvement toward getting good quality hay will be incremental over a few years. I’m okay with that. I spent a lot of years slowly transitioning our suburban lot from a lawn to a natural, leaf-carpeted forest floor.

By the way, word has gotten back to us that the folks who bought our old place are changing it back into a lawn.

Such is the ebb and flow of grass management.

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Written by johnwhays

April 24, 2014 at 6:00 am

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