You know it's past time to mow for the first time if ...
- Your neighbors ask if your lawn mower is in the shop.
- Lawn services leave business cards in your mailbox.
- Your dogs can’t find their toys.
- You can’t find your dogs' toys.
- You can’t find your dogs when they lie down.
- The weeds have gone to seed.
- Rabbits have invaded your yard dispute three hooligan Border collies.
- You can’t find your flower beds.
- You can’t tell the difference between flower beds and yard. Well, actually you can see a few azaleas and iris blooming, and get an idea where they are.
- The hooligans are walking on top of the retaining walls of your shrub beds trying to keep their feet dry.
- You can’t find your front door.
- You need a machete to get to your outbuildings and garden.
- The hooligans have already killed two snakes.
- Your Mom, next door, complains she can’t see your house.
I normally have a good reason why I’m the last one among my neighbors to mow grass. I like to conserve gas or diesel whenever possible. Usually I have the tiller on my tractor, and on my old tractor, it was extremely hard to get off and on, so I kept it on as long as possible before pulling it off and putting the mower on. Now that I have a John Deere with a quik connect, it’s no longer that much of a problem, except trying to get something on the PTO.
This year, I’ve spent several weeks replacing an underground fence around the whole three and half acres. The old wire corroded, and as a result my hooligans escaped and were chased around in the field across the dry creek. Two of them were shot with a shotgun, so this project was more important than mowing.
Finally, last Saturday, with several days of rain forecasted, I decided I needed to mow at least the yard around the house. I walked around picking up the hooligans' toys. The clover was almost a foot tall and would be difficult bagging. The lower forty could wait. I pulled out my 25 hp Husqvarna and started mowing with the deck set to its highest setting. I slowly made half of a round around the house when the chute clogged up. I stopped, cleaned it out, and went a few feet, and again a clog. After several of these stops and clean outs, and hearing thunder, I finally pulled the chute off.
After a few rounds, something went flying. So much for that nylon chew bone. A few rounds later, I spied another toy, stopped and moved it out of the way, got back on, then back off to move a solar spot light. I started the mower again and went a few feet, and another pow, pieces flying everywhere. Darn it, I thought, I missed another toy, but parts of the debris looked familiar. I got back off and started picking up pieces and parts of my cell phone. Well, I’ve needed a new phone anyway, but I lost all of my phone numbers in the process. When I went by the ATT store with my bag of parts, she took one look and said "lawn mower?" Apparently I’m not the first person who’s done this.
After mowing, I turned my attention back to cover over the underground fence wire. Directly, I heard the hooligans having a hissy fit under a large hackberry tree close to the creek. As I walked down the hill to see what they had, I saw a snake flying through the air. Blackie grabbed it behind the head, and Patches had the other end. Levi grabbed something and ran off toward the front yard. I managed to pick up the snake; Blackie grabbed it by the tail, and we had a tug of war until she listened to my yelling to drop it. The snake looked dead, but I took it down to the dry creek to the safety of the other side of the underground fence. I checked the next day, and it was gone. Now, what did Levi run off with? It was a squirrel that apparently was caught by the snake. The hooligans had interrupted the snake’s nice meal.
There’s never a dull moment around my place. But it is nice to have the hooligans back to normal after the shooting.