This time of year it’s just not possible to do everything that needs doing here. The gardens and animals have to take top priority and keeping up with the summer harvesting while preparing the fall gardens and tending the animals is usually just about all there is time for. The days are getting shorter, which is a harbinger of rest. But as nature shaves off a little more daylight with each passing day, keeping up becomes just a little harder every day.
We have lots of grass to mow on this farm and lots of pastures to clip. I used to really fret when everything wasn’t neatly cut and pretty. Now I go about the important work knowing the grass will get cut eventually and in the meantime it doesn’t hurt anything to let it grow.
A couple of years ago I realized that clipping and mowing our unused fields was eliminating lots of wildflowers which were sources of honey for our bees just as the weeds were trap crops for things like Japanese bettles. When all the fields were mowed the bugs naturally flocked to the tallest, best-looking plants, which happened to be our gardens.
But I’ve also realized that I’ve fallen for the idea that a mowed lawn or field is prettier than a lawn or field left unmowed. Lawnmowers and power-driven bushhogs have only been around for a generation or two. So this idea that we have to constantly cut our grass is a very recent one.
My mother commented recently that there aren’t nearly as many dogwoods and redbuds in the Spring as when she was growing up. They like to grow on the edges of woods along fields and roadsides. These days, thanks to bushhogs and power mowers, those areas are usually kept cut. So goodbye dogwoods and redbuds.
A few days ago I was doing chores and I noticed that the grass at our old farmhouse needed cutting. It’s by the road and I’m sure some of the neighbors are starting to wonder why I haven’t cut it lately. For a moment or two I felt a little tense, wondering where to squeeze that job into my list of things to do.
Then these flowers caught my attention.
I don’t know what they are, but they’re growing in the yard at the old house. They are beautiful and the only reason they were there for me to see is because I haven’t cut the grass lately.
That made me smile.