Relative Something

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

Posts Tagged ‘mowing

Gettin’ Green

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With a little rearranging in the garage, I moved the ATV and snowplow to the back and brought the lawn tractor to the front. It’s a definitive sign of the change of season. I also got the back yard mowed, which brought out a whole lot of green in our landscape.

Probably in large part, because it chewed up the leaves from last fall that were still covering the bulk of the back hill, because we never got around to raking them before the snow arrived.

From there, we headed down to the labyrinth, where Cyndie pulled weeds and I reassembled the fallen blocks around our compost and wood chip locations.

Now, we need to replenish the wood chips, and there are plenty of branches waiting to be chipped. A short distance to the right from the view in that photo, there was a collection of branches from two years ago, when we hired professionals to trim dead wood from our trees.

It was a big reward to finally start pulling the debris out, because every time I have passed those trees since the day it was cut, I’ve wanted to have the job done.

I probably got through about half of what needs to be pulled out and stacked for processing, but it’s a good start.

I look forward to transforming that pile of branches into a filled wood chip station, which Cyndie can then use to dress up the landscape around her labyrinth plants.

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Written by johnwhays

May 6, 2019 at 6:00 am

Downright Summery

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Warm, sunny days have been few and far between this spring, which makes yesterday special, relative to the competition. It was almost hot, at times, and there was enough sunshine to get burned, which I did a little bit, after sitting on the deck with our visiting friends, Jeff and Renee. We celebrated Jeff’s birthday with some berries over Cyndie’s homemade pound cake slices, and a lesson in the cribbage board-game, “CrossCrib®.”

Out of respect for those who were on the wrong end of an overwhelming scoring feat of 31-0, I’ll let the losers remain anonymous, but Jeff got a sweet birthday present in the win and I enjoyed the perk of being his partner.

Seeing our guests roll down the driveway on their motorcycles was inspiration for Cyndie to pull her convertible out for a thorough polishing, while I assembled and installed the pump and filter in our landscape pond.

I found Cyndie very agreeable when I suggested we celebrate my waterfall accomplishment with a convertible ride to the nearest Dairy Queen for a treat.

The buds on trees are hinting that leaves aren’t far off now, and we drove past several lawns being mowed for the first time, marking visible milestones in this year’s hesitant transition out of winter. Walking Delilah across the hill of our back yard, I quickly discovered our grass is definitely in need of a trim, too.

After a melty ice cream treat, Cyndie got us home just in time to turn on the 145th Kentucky Derby horse race and see a historic ending. In a first for the Derby, the first horse to cross the line in the muddy slop was not the official winner.

After race stewards reviewed the running, they disqualified Maximum Security for interference, bestowing the victory on 65-1 long shot runner-up, Country House.

The first leg of the Triple Crown is in the books. Can summer be far behind?

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Written by johnwhays

May 5, 2019 at 8:40 am

Autumn Mowing

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I don’t have any recollection of the lawn ever being so “June-like” this late in October. It felt totally strange yesterday to be cutting such long, thick, green grass with the air chilly and the sun at this uncharacteristic low angle.

In addition to the summery grass blades, the standing puddles of water left over from the recent rains were downright spring-like.

When I got done, the fresh-mowed lawn contrasted strangely against the golden hue of fall that the trees now provide for a backdrop.

It also seemed odd to be mowing the grass a few days after we had just received snow.

On my walk back to the house after I was done with chores for the evening, I stopped to take some pictures of the low sun beaming through the golden trees.

That carpet of leaves is a favorite of mine. I wish we could have layers of leaves that look like that as a ground cover, in place of lawn grass around our land.

Guess that means we would need to get busy transplanting more trees.

Spread the wealth!

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Written by johnwhays

October 18, 2018 at 6:00 am

Inspiring Start

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Cyndie snapped a shot of the morning sky yesterday, shortly after the sun broke the horizon. It provided inspiration for our continued efforts to accomplish the most possible while weather was favorable and our energy held out.

With the temperature climbing as fast as the sun, I hopped on the diesel tractor to mow with the brush cutter. Knocking down the tall grass along the hay-field and back pasture fence lines was a minor goal that made it convenient to achieve a major goal.

I haven’t cut the drainage ditch along our southern border all summer, so it was seriously overgrown. It’s a chore that requires enough days without rain for the ditch to completely dry out. Yesterday was perfect.

It is late enough in the summer that I’m hoping I won’t need to bother with it again before winter. It’s a great feeling to have the ditch looking ready for whatever nature dishes out, be it heavy rain this fall or spring runoff next year.

While I was out there, I also mowed around the gazebo and along the alleyway between the paddocks and the arena. I parked the tractor and got back inside half way through the first quarter of the Vikings/Packers football game. Too bad those few hours ended without a victory, despite the last chance to kick for a win.

Cyndie came in a short time later, after using the power trimmer to cut the grass beneath the fence.

Little did we know what inspiration yet lie ahead for us.

With Jackie registering her intent to move out, Cyndie opened up interviews for new candidates to do some house & animal sitting for times we would like to get away. Two appointments were scheduled for the afternoon.

In a blink, it seems we are back to having options for coverage that will allow us occasional weekends away from our paradise. Good thing we are refining our landscape management skills to get a month’s worth of work done in one weekend.

That’s what it will take if we continue to be away as many times as Cyndie shows planned in her calendar.

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Written by johnwhays

September 17, 2018 at 6:00 am

A Narration

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One of our trails that DOESN’T need mowing.

While Cyndie was in the cities providing training for others this week, I was occupied with my usual duties at the day-job. Yesterday’s commute home was smoother than usual for me, probably related to the fact I’d left an hour early to get home and mow the lawn.

We are headed out-of-town again this weekend, only this time we will be visiting George and Anneliese in Princeton on the occasion of their matrimony. Have guitar, will travel.

That means I need to get the weekend projects done in advance.

The lawn was an interesting combination of shriveled brown remnants of grass and a thick green carpet of maturing crabgrass. More often that desirable, it was also a wicked source of dusty dirt sent airborne in an exploding cloud by the three spinning mower blades.

The weed growth sprouting from cracks in the old asphalt of the driveway had started to get annoyingly tall, so I even made a few passes down the middle of the pavement with the deck set as low as it would go.

At the same time, I had an insight that the miniature berms we built up around the uphill portions of the paddock fence line, do not need to be completely ignored by the tractor. With the deck lifted to the highest setting, I steered one wheel up on the high point of the ridge and rode along the length of it.

Whaalaa. It no longer looks entirely neglected. We usually use the power trimmer to cut those ridges, but over a long enough interval that the grass gets outrageously tall and looks absolutely neglected. Why didn’t I think of this before?

When all of our grass had been cut, I parked the tractor outside to be cleaned. A little compressed air did wonders on the layer of dusty dirt that was clinging to every surface. I blew it all airborne, one last time, where most of it had a final chance to end up clinging to my clothes and skin.

When I came in the house, Pequenita was so happy to see me, I thought she might give me a tongue bath.

It took a shower to scrub off the grimy silt that had coated my pores.

Cyndie arrived home with another glowing report of amazing experiences from her day. She was so amped up, especially for someone as fatigued as she was, her narration was delivered at top speed. It was cute.

Today, only two sessions to go for her, then we hit the road.

We are really looking forward to seeing George and Anneliese again, and we are excited to see their newly built home.

Walker Farms, here we come!

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Written by johnwhays

August 24, 2018 at 6:00 am

Posted in Chronicle

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Now Ten

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I didn’t hear anything from Cyndie yesterday, before she headed to the lake with Melissa and her girls, so I’m guessing there was no sign of what happened to our two missing chickens. Now there are ten.

Before Cyndie left, she was very industrious and constructed quite a netted courtyard around the coop for the chickens, so they weren’t confined to quarters all day after all.

The second I got home from work yesterday, I hopped on the lawn tractor to mow all our grass, so I didn’t even chat with Jackie for more than a brief moment to make a plan for Delilah. From the looks of things, I’m guessing she probably assisted in the installation of the coop fencing.

While I was mowing, she headed off to her night job at a local pub/eatery until closing time, so it was just me tending to all the animals, getting them tucked in for the night.

It was a gorgeous August night. It feels a little like nature is at a plateau lately. Even while putting conscious effort into focusing on the immediate moment, there is an unmistakable hint of summer’s end teasing of what comes next.

While walking one of our trails through the woods, I noticed the view through the trees is already opening up beneath the canopy. The late summer shade of our forest has brought an end to many of the lower plants that had started out strong in the early season sun.

That shade provides valuable air conditioning which takes the edge off days like yesterday, when the heat index was climbing into the 90s. It felt a lot hotter while I was commuting through the cities on the steamy pavement than it did when I finally arrived home.

Ahhhh. Living in the country. Huzzah!

It’s a real blessing. But you do have to keep an eye on your chickens.

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Written by johnwhays

August 9, 2018 at 6:00 am

Another Cut

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I’ve written about our frustration over waiting for our hay-field to get cut before the weeds had a chance to go to seed. Now that those fields have been cropped clean, my attention turned to knocking down the weeds and troublesome invasive plants growing rampant on the other side of our driveway.

When I finished mowing, I took a picture.

A day later, Cyndie showed me a photo album our friend Melissa shared with pictures from her visit, days earlier. I couldn’t resist grabbing Mel’s gorgeous image from a similar vantage point, taken before I had mowed.

It causes me a little regret, because the visual of the before/after doesn’t necessarily look like an improvement. There are a few butterflies that aren’t very happy with me, as well. I’m hoping they will find their way over to Cyndie’s other gardens where she has offerings that are desirable to both us and them.

As much as we love the natural look of our uncut field on the north side of our driveway, it contains problem plants that we don’t want migrating across to the hay-field we have been working to improve for years.

One future possibility we are considering is doing a prairie restoration. That process starts with a prescribed burn, which makes it a production that we can’t accomplish all on our own and will need a fair amount of planning and follow through to bring to fruition.

It doesn’t mean it can’t be done, but it is involved enough that it won’t just occur on a whim.

Until then, we will continue to periodically cut down the growth as a way of controlling the weeds from completely taking over.

Sorry, butterflies.

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Written by johnwhays

July 29, 2018 at 10:02 am