At some point, it’s going to sink in to this guy that what he has here is not a lawn but a wet meadow. Hopefully before his tractor sinks in first.

Here at Kestrel Hill we’ve taken on a long-term lawn reduction program. It’s simple, really — whatever sprouts up, mow around. In 20 years or so that cone planted by a squirrel will be a 15′ pine. Birds will merrily poop seeds everywhere. Before you know it, you’ve got a young jungle of honeysuckle, autumn olive, brambles, and multiflora rose. Oh, and poison ivy. Did you know it has delicious berries? As far as birds are concerned it does, and they’re happy to spread it all around. And when that happens —

I’ve been called a chainsaw gardener. That’s not quite accurate. I don’t own a chainsaw. But I do have a collection of clippers loppers and saws sized from snipping individual leaves, to ‘OK, sucker, you’re goin’ down!’ Everything gets hauled off to our brush row, currently over 4 feet tall and some 30 feet long, edging the squidgy border of the swamp. That’s where I saw a mink one spring day, catching  and cacheing frogs.

We leave enough and more for catbirds to build their untidy nests, for rabbits and woodchucks to hide in, for snakes and mice and stray cats. I harvest a handful of raspberries and leave the rest for the critters. I should probably cut away the vines helping to pull down the old shed, but then I’d be depriving the hummingbirds of their trumpet vines, and waxwings, robins, and turkeys of their wild grapes. Yes, I mow around milkweed. (Not thistles, though. Those suckers goin’ down).

Who needs a lawn, anyway? As long as it’s green and painless to walk across, that’s good enough for me.

This mild-mannered rant inspired by this post at 10000 Birds and my friends’ adoption of new lawnmowers.

Categories: Mammals too, scenery, Why? | Tags: , , , , | 5 Comments

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5 thoughts on “Lawn-B-Gone

  1. Snicker is the dark one 🙂 and Doodle is the lighter one, so yes, you got it right 🙂 🙂 !!

  2. Gas costs a lot of money. Big tractors cost money and need their own barn.

    Animals are Human-Therapy. They need a barn too, but, unlike tractors, they’re *funny*, and they work for food!

    I’m going to build a garden fence with gates, and have a mini-pool (tiny!) in it for ducks (who will eat bugs and slugs), and my power-mower is for going around flowerbeds and catching the cuttings for compost…for the garden….

    Tractors: large investment with little payoff. Goats: small investment with many payoffs (chemical-free poison-ivy clean-up!)

    • How are goat droppings as compost? I know llama pellets are supposed to be super.

      My neighbor has a defective rooster. He perches on the paddock fence, puffs up his plumage, and squawks out ‘Bawk…bawk…BERK!’

  3. I like your approach to lawn maintenance.

    • Good thing we don’t live in an area with one of those intrusive home-owners associations. I doubt they’d appreciate our aesthetic!

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