Scenes while Mowing

Our old mower is so loud and so old and so wonky that it is a wrestling match to get mowing done.

But I cleaned up the pathways between the asparagus beds. (There is a little asparagus coming up but still not much – too cold yet).

Brown ducks lying in the long green grass.
Brown ducks walking out into the green wheat

The ducks are curiously unfazed by the mower.

I got tired of waiting for the soil to warm up so I cleaned out the glass house beds and planted some tomatoes, zucchini and capsicum in the glasshouse.

I grew these in double inflated plastic houses, up north in NZ, back in the day. All summer long. So I am hoping this will extend our fresh food period. The courgette will need to be hand pollinated with a brush.

In the winter the little glass house becomes a heat sink and I leave the door to the house open to absorb the warmth. In the summer that inside door is closed to keep the heat out of the house. So even with windows open it is going to get pretty hot in there. However, as long as I water daily, keep the windows open and have a fan going (to keep the air moving) I have high hopes.

You will remember that tomatoes are pollinated by breeze – so the fan will do double duty.

I saw this nest up in the flowering cherry while I was mowing. By standing up on tip toe I was able to reach my phone above the nest for a shot.

Nest with Robin chicks. Shot taken from above.

And look what my phone camera eye’s saw. A Robins nest with teensy baby naked Robins. Though low to the ground and right outside my window it looks like prime bird real estate. Let’s hope the bad cats don’t find it.

This beautiful ground cover interspersed with violets is in fact a weed. It is one of the round up resistant weeds and is giving conventional farmers (who use roundup to control weeds) a lot of grief because of its ability to grow back after being sprayed. .

Dog standing on a bugweed lawn interspersed with violets.

I think it is called henbit. I will ask my farmer. (I asked and he said Henbit) Of course the native bees love it. And interspersed with violets it is quite lovely under the trees.

A while back the GMO farmers were given permission to increase the strength of their spray to try and knock back the new wave of weeds that, through the power of natural selection, have become resistant. All that poison being sprayed on this deep rich soil. So sad!

Henbit is very pretty and smells divine when mowed but is incredibly invasive. It likes shade though so is growing under the North trees. It will eventually take over that whole area but ah well. The violets seem to like growing with it.

There must be someone spraying a residual glysophate on the fields at the moment because the air stinks like old wet ashes. They plough then till then spray then plant. Then spray again later when the crop is not too high.

Weather Sat April 29. Central Illinois

Anyway – we do not dwell on chemically managed fields when we have our lovely organic fields right out the window.

We are preparing the barn for our new calves coming tomorrow. And John was here for a few hours this morning so I got him to help. Still lots to do but he is better at manoeuvring the tractor in the barn.

Now I will go out and do a few hours clearing out the old dusty straw then lay the fresh clean straw then we are good to go. The calves come tomorrow afternoon.


33 Comments on “Scenes while Mowing

  1. Such a strange spring here too. Hot HOT hot in March and early April. Now cold COLD cold. We even have 60 mm of rain forecasted for Sunday. The ducks are loving it. They are out giggling with each other in the puddles on the rocky hillside. All the rest of the critters have decided to be layabouts for the week. I prefer cool rainy weather over warm. Don’t like to wear my rain gear when it’s warm. Inevitably it leads to a hot flash. Then I’m wet from the inside out! Ha!

  2. Look at all that beautiful green growing of things..and those baby birds! Don’t you just love spring and all it’s new life? There is a movement in the world called No Mow May..perhaps you’ve heard of it..They encourage people not to mow during the month of May to provide pollinators some early food from plants that will flower in most lawns, fields, etc. 🙂
    I thought John had retired a couple years back? Did he get bored and to back to work? LOL. Have a lovely day getting ready for your new calves. They will absolutely love their new home..

  3. Strange weather everywhere…..we must all take note! Love the pictures of your beautiful pigs:). farming is a full time – 24/7 job. Enjoy. x

  4. Good morning C! Lovely to say good day to Jude, Freebie and Boo as well. We have sun, although it will hide out for the next few days but I am not dwelling on that. Do you remember I commented about inheriting some old bird seed as my daughter clears out the house for moving? I mentioned I sprinkled some (okay a lot) in my dead beds. The birds have gotten quite a bit but both sides are showing sprouts of green. I tossed some oldish pansy seeds in as well- no signs of those though. I will let grow whatever is springing up though and turn it back into the soil at some point. I have also noticed that the large groups of finches that eat at my feeders like to toss seed around so they are adding to the supply in the dirt as well. I like that they want to work for their food 😉

    • It is going to be so much fun to see what comes up in your wild flower bed! Do you think there were sunflowers? I keep forgetting to find some sweetpea seeds – I used to never have to buy them with letting them go to seed every year.

      • There were definitely some sunflower seeds but the squirrels are experts at finding them even with some topsoil covering. It was mostly millet seed I believe.

  5. It’s so comforting to know you are out there preparing to care for new calves. Yesterday there was a news story of some impish boys who snatched a heifer and pig from a farm and brought them to school in the city. A prank, but the poor heifer got loose and went running through the neighborhood. Police were able to round her up and brought her to the Animal Hoof Society. The woman there said the cow was scared, but resting now. I just hate to hear about mischievous boys. Don’t they see the fear in a creature’s eyes??

  6. I think you’ve got ground ivy (creeping Charie, gill-over-the-ground) which is related to henbit. It’s edible, in moderation.
    It was in every lawn of places I’ve lived. I had reached a point at the last house I lived in (Chicago) where I just encouraged it in the parkway as ground cover and didn’t have to mow anything. TAfter it was well established I had neighbors sneaking cuttings for their parkways too. Sure was better than grass

  7. I love the Farmy pictures!!! Hope Mama Robin keeps those babies warm!! You really need to come over to Pontiac John and see if John Kelly can get a good used tractor for you ~ newer ones are so much convertible and easier to operate ~ believe me!!!

  8. I think if I had to have a ground cover and didn’t want grass I’d go for chamomile, which smells wonderful when you walk on it, makes a good tea and gives the bees plenty to work with. I looked up Henbit on the Edible Wild Foods website, and it has the following to say:
    “Henbit can be consumed fresh or cooked as an edible herb, and it can be used in teas. The stem, flowers, and leaves are edible, and although this is in the mint family, many people say it tastes slightly like raw kale, not like mint. It is very nutritious, high in iron, vitamins and fibre. You can add it raw to salads, soups, wraps, or green smoothies. According to Natural Medicinal Herbs this edible plant is anti-rheumatic, diaphoretic, an excitant, febrifuge, a laxative and a stimulant.” It may well be a pest, but perhaps it has some uses too?

    • Thank you – and yes – there are a number of edible weeds here – though I have not gathered henbit yet. This one is very low to the ground. Roman chamomile makes a wonderful lawn. I did one once and it was lovely though not soft for bare feet!

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