It itches; it is uncomfortable; it is bumpy and red. Yes, ladies and gentlemen, I am sunburned! It was 80F degrees here yesterday. Unbelieveably warm for March. So I put on summer clothes to work. Only one problem…I forgot the sunscreen until it was too late. DUH! Today, while I shop, I will have to remember to pick some up since Mike’s fair skin burns much quicker than mine. He was smart yesterday, though, he remembered the sun screen.
Mike was not going to put the plastic on the greenhouse yesterday, but still had to prepare it. New lathing strips needed to be put up to hold the plastic, and a general clean up around the building commenced. I am too short to help with the lathing, so I set to work on mowing. It is hard to believe, considering we just came out of winter, but it was greatly needed!
The mower needs a new tire, since after sitting all winter one of them has dry-rotted, but it would hold air for about 45 minutes of mowing. After that, I had to mosey back to the house to repump it with the air compressor. I still succeeded in getting about two acres done of the five or so we currently mow. My body told me about it when I was done. Out of shape (in general), out of my usual out of shape due to winter, and still smarting from my fall reminded me that even mowing with a riding lawn mower can be painful. It was worth it, though. As I look out the window towards the big forsythia bush, now heavy with its lemon-yellow flowers, the grass looks more like a freshly vaccumed carpet. I love my little John Deere lawn tractor! It looks just like this one:
Well…maybe not “just” like this one. Ours has scratches on the bumpers from mowing a little too close to a parked farm truck, a broken grill from Mike pushing a planter with it across the patio (don’t ask), and torn seats from over eight years of use. But the little John Deere just keeps chugging along. I love it so much that I suggested to Mike that one day (when we win the lottery) I would like to buy a small real tractor for me, so I can bush hog the flatter, safer areas of the farm. We’ll see if that ever happens, but it is a nice thought.
I really love mowing. For me, it is as relaxing as lying on a sunny beach and watching the waves. Seriously. If something is troubling me, I can hop on the mower and I no longer have to think about whatever it was. I only need to watch what comes before me and appreciate the light breeze, the blue of the skies, the trees, and even the small animals that occasionally dart out from the high grass to seek better shelter. If I get bored mowing a straight line, I can wait and soon will return from where I was or to begin a new location. I can wiggle the lines the mower leaves, or try to make them ruler-straight. I can patchwork a design in the grass, or stripe it like a baseball field. It is up to me, just me, my bandana’d hair, my big ole bottle of water, and the mower. Yes, I probably am nuts. I live on a farm!
I love the smell of the freshly mowed grass and the pungent aroma of wild garlic chopped down by the blades. I love the changing colors of the land as I mow through a field of hen bit (lamium amplexicaule) made purple by thousands of blooms then green when shorn of their blooms. I could easily stop and gather a mess of the spinach-tasting weed for dinner, if I choose too, but the mesmorizing motor urges me on.
(Since hens bit is the first “weed” to come up in new fields, there is plenty of it on the farm. I am not quite sure that Mike is ready to” graze in the yard,” as my kids used to phrase it to their friends when I gathered hen bit or dandelion blooms for dinner. He is, after all, a farmer and those are “weeds.”)
Riding the mower leaves my hands numb to touch for up to an hour afterwards, and standing and walking is difficult and sometimes even painful after only a few minutes aboard, but I will not give it up. They are the price for the peace I gain with only a few minutes of mindless mowing. There are few chores on the farm which give me so much pleasure that I willingly put up with the discomfort. You will not see me out there using a weed eater, for example…a definite back killer for me. I despise pulling weeds or even chopping them out with a hoe. I am not into the chain saw, the garden tiller, or any number of other gadgets…the John Deere is special. I am sure someone, somewhere, has some sort of Freudian or Jungian explanantion for it…tell me about it after I mow and I won’t care what it is. I mean, I realize I am probably nuts. I live on a farm.
Mike used to pay people to mow around his house and not once, even when we were dating, has he ever offered to pay me. There were times the money would have helped tremendously, but I probably would have refused it anyway. Me and John Deere, you see, were having an affair from the moment we met. JD knows I dislike snakes and he meritoriously removes the threat of them, occasionally jousting with them on the periphery of the yard. They always lose. His chivalry does not stop there, for when I rise to pick up a branch or debris, he habitually cuts off his motor until I return. Should I ride into danger of the tiny wasps that love the heights of Queen Anne’s lace, he speeds me away valiantly. And when I am stressed, depressed, or pressed, he awaits my bidding there, outside my window, enticing me with his green and yellow finery.
Yes, I am nuts. I live on a farm. I would rather be Guinevere to her Lancelot than Don Quixote to the windmill. Then again, maybe I am a bit of both.