On fields

The first mowing happened this weekend. Now, normally, this would take place about 3 weeks ago, when the grass first “needed” it, but life has a way of getting in the way of what will be an 8-hour tractor ride.

I have always thought about taking a horticultural census of our fields. How many things really do grow here? And how many different types of grass are there, especially. I believe Gene Logsdon took a census of his fields in one of his books (and I don’t have any on hand here at work) but the tale told there in his Ohio lands would be similar to what we find here. These are but a few of the “known” things, and what is interesting is none are natives. The pictures are of dandelion, creeping phlox and ajuga. They’re pretty much everywhere on our land.

The first mowing brings quite a great bounty to the cultivated areas here. The clippings are now covering every bed (save the seed beds), and they hug the base of every fruit tree and vine. Clippings are also a great boon to chilly compost heaps as that fast blast of nitrogenous decay really heats things up in them. And clippings are also great as the “lazy woman’s compost,” as I leave some in a heap for the chickens to tear through on one of their parole outings. In two years, it’s as good a compost as my rhythmically turned heaps.

Ah. I am not sure how much mowing we’ll be doing this year. I am convinced, though, that it is for the better: of our pocketbooks, certainly, especially if gasoline does hit $4/gal. as is predicted this summer; of the growing things themselves, and also better for those sheep we are buying.

4 responses to “On fields

  1. Sheep? Awesome! What breed? How many?

    We only mow our fields once a year just to keep the shrubby stuff knocked back. Hopefully next summer will see the landscape dotted with four-legged ruminants. Can’t wait for that!

  2. You know, Liz, I am not sure the type we’ll yet get but we’ll probably get at least 3. We’d go for “wool” and “small-ish” but really how can you go wrong with sheep, they’re so easy. Our county fair is actually a Youth Fair so we will see what we shall see there in July. And the woman who pastures the school’s sheep over the summer is a breeder and the head of animal ag at a local college. SO we just know we want them. We need to build them a home and then run 2+ acres of fencing…any volunteers out there???

    I am so glad you guys are going to make the “big change” from feathered friends only to the more inclusive 4-leggers! You and James must be so psyched.

  3. I’m psyched to have the critters. I think James is just psyched to build a structure. 🙂

    Actually, he stresses about the animals, that it’s going to “tie us to the land” more. Which is true, but it’s not like we GO anywhere anyway! I say, bring on the goats!

  4. I completely understand what James means, Liz, about the can’t-leave-’em responsibilities of farm animals. It’s one of the major reasons I am dissuaded from owning a dairy goat or cow. But I do excuse myself from my friends in Chicago by saying I now have feet of lead (or at least clay mud) and really can’t leave things long at the farm.

    But really: other than to NYC in January, I would rather be noplace else! And isn’t that an enviable situation.

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