Monday, 17 September 2012

Dejected in the Meadow

Monday 17th September 2012
More fine weather
Well, I like to think of it as a meadow, but its really just ungrazed grassland and this year it's been taken over by sow thistles. Initially growing in clear lines, which I've since learned are a sign of ancient ridges, it has slowly spread, encouraged by this year's mega conditions for weeds.

One day it will be a meadow, but at the moment it's the last part of my 5 acre plot which remains slightly untamed.
Last year Don cut back the long grass for me early in the year and it was alive with bees and butterflies during the summer. So my plan was to get it cut and under control, then to keep it short, cutting a few times during the year, for the next year or two to get rid of the taller weeds and encourage a thicker sward.

So it was with some excitement and a great sense of anticipation that I climbed up into the tractor this fine Monday morning and went for a spin around the tracks in the meadow. The Fod, as my tractor is known, is very heavy on the steering but I basically had this great, chugging machine under control most of the time!

This was the first time I'd driven the tractor on my own.

Buoyed up by this, I continued with my plan and, with a lot of help from Don, hitched up his cutter to the tractor and began to scythe my way through the jungle of overgrown grass and thistles. In a few hours time it would all be chopped down and a big job would be out of the way. I had a real sense of achievement. My fear of machinery would be one step closer to being overcome and I would be confident and independent enough to manage my meadow on my own.


Until...


As I looked at the machinery behind me, I noticed smoke! Quite a bit of it.
Basically the sow thistle stems had jammed up in the machinery. Don came over to extricate them and I carried on, in slightly wiggledy lines but still crudely getting the job done. A couple of times I had to stop and pull out more sow thistle stems, but if I could just get it done the once and keep on top of it then things could only get easier in the future.

But then, while cutting a fairly straightforward strip of grass, more smoke. This didn't seem quite right and when I lifted the cutter, there, hanging out, was a broken rubber belt.

One broken piece of machinery.
 
My heart sank there and then. Not only would I not get the job done now, but I had broken Don's machinery and I felt awful about it. I sheepishly towed the rig back and knocked on Don's door, broken belt in hand. He could not have been nicer about it, but I still felt totally dejected.

Just as I was really starting to feel like I was getting on top of everything for the first time, this goes and happens.
Just two more hours and the job would have been done. Now I would be faced with a whole autumn and winter of pulling oversized weeds before I could have another bash at the grass in the spring.

Meanwhile, over the weekend, Don had had his meadow
cut and baled by a local farmer.
This is what mine should be looking like.

I'm normally pretty optimistic about things and don't shirk a job, however big. But right now was one of those moments when I felt totally deflated. There's been a good few of them in our couple of years here, but they've been more than compensated for by other things and I'm stoical enough to remember this when things go wrong.

Anyway, thank you for indulging me this one miserable post. Tomorrow I'll bounce back. I always do.

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