The sheep have grazed their way through ready pasture. Yesterday Susie wondered where to put them. I pointed to the front yard. Our shady lawn was looking shaggy and the weeds are up under the cherry and the apple trees. Today the view from the kitchen is of sheep grazing on the lawn and dozing in the shade and there isn't a weed to be seen under the cherry tree. One of our regular customers came to get a box of farm produce with her daughter. She laughed when she noticed the sheep were mowing the lawn. I said, "The John Deere runs 'till it's empty. The sheep run 'till they're full."
I started cutting hay yesterday. I have a formerly broken but newly reformed cutter bar mower, older than I am, to do the work. It won't do on a modern farm. To small, too slow, too fussy about ground speed and the angle of the bar. Unlike today's machines this one is full of secrets and peculiarities a man has to know if he wants hay in the barn. But it's nimble in small plots of grass and clover, compact enough to get down an over-grown lane and forgiving when a turn at the end of a row doesn't go just right. I hooked the end of the bar on a thick stand of weeds and the built-in mechanical precaution of a friction bar released, a design included to prevent damage when striking an obstacle in the field. Push as I might It would not go back into place. I drove home with the mower on the tractor, reversed into the Maritime Electric pole in the yard and heard a satisfying "click". It's taken me 4 years to learn how to cut hay with a mower everybody used to know.
I'll finish cutting hay tomorrow. Then I'll use an old hay rake to turn the hay to finish drying and set it into windrows for baling. That's when my cantankerous old baler "Senora" enters the scene. Dowager that she is, one never knows exactly what she will do so I'll save the rest of this story for a full report on her behavior and let you get some rest.