Relative Something

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

Archive for November 6th, 2021

Midday Sprint

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I did recently swear off mowing grass in November but this is different. This isn’t lawn grass I was mowing yesterday with the garden tractor. On an uncharacteristically warm November day, I brought out the big diesel and pulled the brush cutter across the back pasture to cut down a problematic invasion of Canadian thistle.

We were aware of the toxicity risks for horses, yet it was Cyndie’s recent Master Gardener classes that pointed out how the thistle will spread and degrade the quality of grazing pastures if left unchecked.

But, honestly, it still felt a little too much like mowing grass.

My presence on the big machine riled the horses into a bit of sprinting that Cyndie captured on video.

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I had closed gates to isolate the pasture I was going to mow and that was the first step in raising the curiosity of the horses. When I showed up on the big tractor and started cutting, it was unclear if they were upset to see their grazing options disappearing before their eyes or just worked up over the strange-looking noisy contraption rolling along.

They started racing in and out of the paddocks from the front hayfield.

It is beautiful to watch them sprint in the manner they were bred and raised to do, knowing it is their choice to run and they are free to stop whenever they wish.

Soon after their little spurt of racing, they wandered out into the hayfield and stood for a little nap while the tractor droned on. When I finished in the back pasture, Cyndie opened the gate to the hayfield and I rolled out there to mow the strip along the paddock fences where we had planted acorns. The horses didn’t move a muscle at that point.

They quickly get over the initial alarm about me showing up on machines with engines.

Using the knowledge Cyndie is gaining from her Master Gardener classes, we have a new plan to transplant some yearling oaks next spring and protect them from animals and crowding from surrounding growth for the first few years. Yesterday, she scouted and marked the candidates we hope to use when the winter snow disappears from the ground.

I mowed the grass short and Cyndie dug holes in advance to mark the spots. That alleyway will end up getting a more permanent barrier to keep horses away while future paddock shade is being developed.

Beware the work deemed necessary when you start learning the wealth of valuable details included in Master Gardener lessons.

It will be much more marathon than occasional sprints.

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