A good day yesterday in the breezy sunshine. Between morning and evening chores I spent seven hours mowing at Betty’s and the farm; I loaded and dumped the manure spreader, I rode the four-wheeler to pick up rocks, I weedwhacked around boulders — and I didn’t break anything. This alone made it a red-letter day.
My north pasture is grazed off and I needed to clip the remnant weeds before I start to dress the field with the twenty tons of last summer’s manure pile. Since my tractor and brush-hog can’t cut low enough between the ledges, I was using my lawn mower.
Somehow the long hours alone on the mower, listening to hymns under my new improved ear-protectors, and watching the crickets and grasshoppers jump out of my way and the bumblebees climbing the clover and the dragonflies zig-zagging in mid-air, laid a quieting hand on my mind. Normally I am so anxiously aware of the long list of chores covering the refrigerator and the undone tasks reproaching me from every corner of the farm that I can hardly see what I’ve already accomplished.
But yesterday as the sweet fresh-cut grass and weeds fell in tidy windrows, I was remembering the years of battling saplings and briars and rocks in this field. It’s come a long way. When I drove the mower out of the pasture to refill the gas, I looked up at the garage apartment. It too represents a lengthy to-do list. Nevertheless I found myself thinking, It’s pretty nice.
I’ve been pleased by the little perennial garden I threw into the ground just before freeze-up last fall. Though (of course) it is overdue for weeding, its small splash of color heartens me every time I walk by — a tiny pocket of domestication on my 22 shaggy acres.
It was a sweet feeling, to shed the demanding taskmaster in my mind for a few hours and appreciate how far the farm has come.