On The Mow Again

After a long winter's rest, spring farm work is beckoning.

by Rachael Dupree
PHOTO: Rachael Dupree

Spring is in full swing here, which means flowers are blooming, trees are budding … and grass is growing. Our winter rest has finally come to a close, and it’s time to get outside, enjoy the fresh air and sunshine, and get to work.

There’s a learning curve that comes with moving from a quarter-acre in the city to 50 acres in the country. Your time looks different and your priorities in how to spend it shift. Even though over half of our farm is woodlands, one of our major chores is mowing, and I hopped on the seat of our lawn tractor for the first time this week.

The upkeep of any farm comes with its own set of eccentricities and challenges. The land we live on can be particularly brutal for people like us who haven’t been sensitized to its unique ways. We live about a half hour or so outside of a major Kentucky town and dedicated horse country, in an area where the land quickly turns from rolling green pastures to steep hills and hollers. The soil here is dense and rocky, great for holding in moisture but making it tough to work. And there’s about a week and a half of a lag time in the onset of spring activity, which means while the cherry blossoms were flowering in town, we were still waiting for the last dreary days of winter to come to a close.

hilly terrain
Rachael Dupree

Many of the people around here keep cattle, which helps them keep the terrain from the overgrowth of cedar trees and wild brambles, and a few have gardens, though I wouldn’t say that’s a signature feature of life here. Before this area was settled, it was full of cane (a bamboo native to Kentucky) and maintained by the wild buffalo that considered this area their stamping ground.

We don’t have cattle to help do the mowing for us, so we have to rely on our John Deere. At best, Mr. B and I will probably have to dedicate at least four hours to the chore each week. While I find it a rather relaxing and enjoyable task, it’s not as simple as cutting clean lines into a vast open field. We have to carefully navigate hills, pay attention to the condition of our soggy valleyland and watch out for small boulders sticking out of the ground that could easily ruin a mower blade. Your mind definitely has to be engaged if you want to avoid a snafu—or potentially something worse. All the while, we’re getting our garden ready for transplants, setting up effective fencing and considering what to do about some of the invasive growth we have around the property—not to mention our full-time jobs and long commutes.

spring redbud
Rachael Dupree

Days are going to get longer, the bugs are going to get buggier and the air is going to get muggier, but for now, we’re enjoying the seasonal revival of color and using this time to ease back into the work and way of life that brought us here in the first place.

Subscribe now

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *