Summer arrived with a vengeance.  It is hot and humid, reminds me of when we lived in Virginia Beach.  It is cooling at night, fortunately and our log home heats slowly during the day and cools well at night, so we haven’t had to turn on the A/C, but it is near 90 today and the air is so thick you drink it instead of breathing it.
     Two days ago, the tractor and brush hog were brought out for the first time since they were haying and a little mow was done.  We have the area that we consider the lawn that covers maybe a couple of acres and it gets mowed fairly regularly.  A medium mow includes the area from the “lawn” to the barn and west beyond a row of pines we planted to the edge of the woods, maybe another couple of acres.  That gets mowed 4 or 5 times a summer.  The big mow are the hayfields that get hayed by neighbors in the spring and mowed by us in the fall.  Our farm is 30 acres and only about 5 are woods or too rocky to mow.
     When we moved from Virginia Beach, we brought with us a riding mower that was going to be used around the house.  It was stored in the barn until the house was complete and the grass and clover planted around the house had come up.  Unfortunately, by then, the mice had found it a good place to nest and it wouldn’t run.  At that time, I was still working at the high school and the school had a small engines repair class, so I took it to them to try to get it functional again.  It had some funky kind of carburetor that the instructor had never seen before, but he didn’t realize it until he had allowed some students to start working on it and they managed to get rodent nest and other unmentionables into the carburetor and fuel lines.  The mower ended up at the local fix it shop, twice, many dollars later, it still would not run.  We also had a push mower, but it was a flatland version with little tires and a chore to push up and down the irregular yard and then it too quit working.
     About this time, eldest son and I made a trip to the local small equipment store and bought this monster…

a commercial grade Stihl edger with harness and he used it to keep enough yard mowed for us to get in an out and around the house.  That led to the purchase of the John Deere and brush hog, but it just doesn’t get close enough safely to the house to really do the job.  When eldest was here in May, he weedwacked a 5 to 6′ path around the house out to where I could mow with the tractor and after I weedwacked around the outside of the orchard, he took over and did around the garden, the coop and the trees.  Since then, I have done the path around the house, the entire orchard, garden area and it nearly wore me out.  That was about 2 weeks ago and with the rain, the orchard was again nearly a foot tall.  We started discussing what to do, hubby still can’t do that type of work, his knee hasn’t healed enough and then he broke a toe on the same side, so he is still hobbling.  I didn’t think I could manage the Stihl again for that much, and though the chickens in the chicken tractor do this to a patch in about 2 days

the area is too big for the 4 X 8′ chicken tractor to be moved enough to keep it mowed for us.
     The solution we decided was not another riding mower, but a push mower with larger tires.

Though the task is still not easy, set on the tallest mow setting and working back and forth across the slope, the job is done.  The area the tractor won’t mow and the orchard are now about 4″ instead of a foot tall.  Perhaps I have a couple of weeks before it must be done again. 

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