You know that phrase generally used after eating three pounds of pumpkin ravioli with a handful of buttered rolls and then washing it down with half of an apple pie about your eyes being bigger than your stomach? Clearly I would never do that with carbs and dessert–ahem–but I think the phrase “her eyes were bigger than her lawnmower” might be appropriate here.
That’s picture was taken from the back of my property looking back up towards the house. As you can see, the back field is a little, uh, wild. I have somewhere between six and ten acres of property to maintain (long story) and about two of that is nicely mowed lawn around the house and barns.
Here’s where I have to pause in our regularly scheduled programming and tell you guys my dirty little secret… I have never really mowed a lawn before. Yeah. I mean, don’t get me wrong, my first house had a yard just larger than a postage stamp and I ran my manual reel mower over it like 3 times a year, and at Memorial I made a good show of week whacking occasionally, but “mowing” wasn’t on my list of chores… that’s why I had donkeys, after all. So I’ve never once had to fire up a gas powered mower (rider or otherwise) and spend a significant amount of time maintaining a lawn.
It’s possible I didn’t take all of that into account when I saw the Liberty House and the rolling fields that surround her, but just after I moved in things started greening up and I realized that sooner rather than later, something would have to be done.
So I did what any fully-grown fiercely-independent licensed contractor would do in this situation… I called my grandpa.
It was supposed to be strictly a consultative call. You know, should I buy a new mower or a used one? Does it make sense to hire someone? Do I need a bush hog for the back field or should I do a controlled burn?
As you might imagine, I don’t make these calls often, and perhaps my grandpa sensed a note of panic in my voice because the next the next thing you know I’m surrounded by a whirlwind of grass clippings and dish soap– he and my grandmother came up on a Saturday morning and managed to mow the lawn, do the dishes, unpack most of my kitchen, and in general make more progress on the maintenance of the Liberty House in two hours than I had in two weeks. Let me just take this moment to say how beyond lucky I am, particularly in the grandparent department.
Then, as if just getting the two acres of lawn under control wasn’t enough, I drove up to Liberty House after a couple of long days on the road for work last week, and saw this…
Yes, the very same tractor that was once wedged into the back of my postage-stamp sized lawn for this project.
Even more exciting than reminiscing about that buzz cut I used to have six years ago…
Here’s a little before and after for you:
I might have been a little disappointed that I didn’t get to drive the tractor myself, but I’ve got it stashed in my barn for another week or so and there are still a few acres to the north that I’m going to try to tackle on my own this weekend. That’s right… I’m planning to take my mowing experience level from manual reel mower to tractor in a day. Hey, go big or go play with your barbies, right? I’m also hoping to make a little progress on the rubble pile while I’ve got the big toys to play with.
As far as maintaining the field, the neighbor tipped me off that the previous owner tended to just knock the field down once a year instead of keeping it mowed, which sounds like a good plan to me, at least this year. However I’d love to find a second-hand rototiller somewhere and till up a patch of land out there for a big old garden… I’ve still got a few weeks until planting season, so it’s not outside of the realm of possibility.
Long term, some of the area to the North will be fenced off for donkeys (though I’d need a dozen of them to keep this much acreage clear), I’d like to have that big garden, and a couple of rows of grapes and/or fruit trees somewhere out there. It would be awesome to be able to maintain a wildflower meadow with the rest of the area, but apparently that’s not as easy as it looks.
I figure I’ve got years to plan out how to best use all this land, and in the meantime I just have to make sure it doesn’t turn into a small jungle.
All I have to say is, amen for grandparents and tractors, neither of which I could survive without.