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

Posts Tagged ‘Queen Anne’s lace

Main Weed

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It appears that we are in the peak year for the biennial Queen Anne’s Lace that thrives in our hayfield. Last year had me thinking we had almost eradicated it with frequent mowing. I guess that was just the off-year.

It’s an edible wild food belonging to the carrot family and is second only to beets among root vegetables for sugar content. I think I’ve said this before, that maybe we should be harvesting it as a crop to sell.

The plants are interesting to look at, except when you’ve seen too much of them and would rather not have it growing in your fields.

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Messy round bales of old hay can be interesting to look at, too, unless you’d rather they be stored somewhere else to allow the grass underneath to grow for a second cutting this summer. The fields have been rented out, so I guess they can do what they want.

I’ve got a forest of toppling trees to focus on instead this year. The difference is, I don’t drive through the forest every day, so it is a bit more “out of sight, out of mind” than the fields.

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Written by johnwhays

August 6, 2019 at 6:00 am

Weeds Begone

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It took twice as long as I expected to finish cutting down the 4 acres we call our hay-field yesterday, but I was trying to do a very thorough job of removing the primary invader, Queen Anne’s Lace from sight. The biennial crop is the most visible evidence that we aren’t growing high quality grass hay out there yet.IMG_iP1562e

There is some grass there, and it has become obvious to us from the regular mowing we have done around the labyrinth and along the fence lines, that doing so will help the grasses and hurt the weeds.

Right now, we are thinking about just keeping this mowed short for a full year. We may have some additives applied to the soil, and add desireable grass seed over the top, before getting back to baling it again the year after.

The project was almost over before I had even completed the first pass along the fence line. For no apparent reason the shear bolt suddenly gave out and the blades stopped cutting.

We had waited the entire summer to have this field cut, and when it didn’t happen any other way, we decided to finally just chop it down ourselves. This interruption had me wondering if maybe we were making the wrong decision, but I had a replacement bolt and it was an easy fix, so I didn’t let that problem stop me for long.

When it became clear that it was going to take all afternoon to complete the task, Cyndie was kind enough to bring me lunch in the field. It felt just like farming!

When I got to the last little strip to be mowed, I wanted to include Cyndie in the moment of achievement. She was serving the horses their evening feed at the barn, so I whistled to get her attention as I was lining the tractor up for the final cut.

IMG_iP1565eCHShe heard the second of my shrill chirrups, and was looking to ascertain whether I was in need of her assistance while I was backing into position. I was intending to point out that it would be the last pass and I just wanted her to share in the joy of accomplishment, when the blades of the mower started clattering on a rock I hadn’t noticed.

The sound of mower blades hitting obstacles always tends to create a panic response. I stomped on the clutch and lifted the mower. My big moment of victory was dashed by a dose of humble pie. In a comical turn, now she did think something was wrong.

She hollered something to me, but I couldn’t hear her words over the rat-tat-tat of the diesel engine idling. After several fruitless tries, we walked toward each other until I heard she was asking if I had my camera with me so she could capture the moment.

We laughed over the fact I hadn’t hit a single thing all day, but just as I was hoping to get her attention, …clank. I had already mowed over that rock without incident in the other direction. Backing across it on the slope was a different story.

She took the pictures of my final successful pass.

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Did you see that bird she captured in the last shot? It looks as happy as me over having our field freshly cut.

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Written by johnwhays

August 6, 2016 at 9:13 am

Lacy Image

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Cyndie captured this great photo of Queen Anne’s lace that grows on our property. Like all plants, some people consider it a weed, while others find it beneficial. Unfortunately, it is considered a pest in pastures, and it is sprouting all over part of the field we want to cut for hay and graze our horses.

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Written by johnwhays

August 12, 2013 at 8:08 am