A Mowing Alternative
Jul 06, 2010
You mentioned that you needed to get a larger mower to do more and more mowing to make things look nice. Why not sell that big mower and get some big bluestem and other prairie seeds and plant them and save all of that time, energy and wildlife. Wouldn't you rather see a nest of meadowlarks or field sparrows than short mowed grass? That is, unless you have nothing better to do and enjoy spending that time mowing! I am trying to get some bluestem growing in grass waterways and roadsides on our farm.
Warren County, Illinois, farmer
***Editor's Note: John responded to Ed's suggestion in the Mailbag Segment:
ED, YOU ARE OF COURSE CORRECT. AND WHEN I VISIT FRIENDS IN EUROPE, I ENVY THEIR PICTURESQUE COUNTRYSIDE WITH NARROW FLOWERED ROADSIDES. HOWEVER, I ALSO REMIND MYSELF THAT EUROPEAN FARM EQUIPMENT CAN BE NO WIDER THAN 10 FEET. THERE ARE EFFORTS TO BREAK THIS WASTEFUL HABIT, BUT FRANKLY, IN THE HYPERCOMPETITIVE LAND RENTAL MARKET, IT'S REALLY RISKY TO BE THE ONLY FARMER IN YOUR AREA WHOSE CROP CAN'T BE SEEN UNTIL LATE JULY. THE MASTER GARDENER I LIVE WITH STRUGGLES WITH THE SAME CHOICE BETWEEN ORDER AND NATURAL CHAOS. LIKE ME, SHE HAS DISCOVERED NATURE CAN GET A LITTLE WILDER THAN WE ANTICIPATE. YOU DON'T ALWAYS GET THE PRAIRIE GRASSES AND FLOWERS -- YOU GET CANADIAN THISTLE, FOR EXAMPLE. THERE ARE OTHER ISSUES WITH GRASS FIRES AND INTERSECTION VISIBILITY. BUT ONE ARGUMENT I WOULD DISPUTE IS HOW MUCH FUEL COULD BE SAVED. THE IRS COULD DO MORE BY ALTERING THE INSANE RECORD-KEEPING RULES WHICH NUDGE FARMERS TO BUY OVERSIZED GAS GUZZLERS INSTEAD OF SMALL PICKUPS. PERHAPS TOO MANY OF US LINK FINICKY NEATNESS TO PROFESSIONALISM, BUT WHEN ALL THE OTHER KIDS ARE DOING IT, SOME OF US JUST NEVER GROW UP.