Winter held on doggedly and springtime was as cold and unforgiving as an accountant’s frown. Farmers whined about unplowable fields, the woodpile ran out, and the dirt road turned into a quagmire. (Global warming my ass: this is all because nobody sank a truck through the ice.)
Finally, when all hope seemed lost, the sun came out and everything started growing; fast. Fifteen hour days on saturated soil turned the barren northland into a twitterpated orgy of frenzied growth. The aspen buds didn’t break…they exploded. Brushing against a spruce causes a pollen attack. And the grass is a bamboo/kudzu hybrid threatening to take over the homestead.
As required by economic law and Country music, the tractor wasn’t running. I used my favorite method of mechanical repair; swearing. The poor tractor coughed to life in terror when I waved wrenches at it. Then I made the initial strike in the summer long battle of the grass. A half hour of pleasant mowing.
Nature doesn’t give in easily and soon it started raining. Defeated, I parked the decrepit tractor. It kept raining all week. By day two I was depressed. I’ve done my time in the Pacific Northwest and that’s enough rain for one lifetime. Besides, I paid my weather dues on -30 degree January nights. Raining on my summertime bliss is just plain mean! I grumbled. Nature rained. The grass kept growing. At least there was beer.
Meanwhile my calendar filled up and I’m scheduled to travel hither and yon. If I leave with unmowed grass I’ll return to a rain forest. I began to fret. Sunday the skies cleared briefly and I set out to rectify the situation.
Which brings me to the “word of the day”; Triage Mowing.
“Triage mowing is when you give up all pretense of a finely manicured lawn; usually due to time constraints. ‘Triage mow’ is an attempt to flatten the maximum acreage of grass in the shortest time. It is a ‘holding pattern’ action intended to buy time.”
I triage mowed like a madman. Trim was ignored. Areas that require delicate maneuvering were ignored. Any branches too small to damage the mower deck were run over like a tourist at Pamplona. I swerved around larger obstacles; leaving miniature grassy wilderness areas for the chickens to explore. My kid left a plastic toy out on the grass…crunch. The only reason the cats are alive is because they know how to run.
It was ugly. It was brutal. It was necessary. Hopefully next time around I’ll have a chance to do better. Homesteading homeownership Life is all about compromise between the ideal and the attainable. That, folks, is the heart of triage mowing.