Wednesday, April 14, 2010

around the homestead-lawn maintenance

Although we have near 15 acres here  we don't have much lawn area. A small patch out front that the dogs are intent upon digging holes all over in and a couple  small areas down near the greenhouse and chickens but even those areas are between beds and around things. The rest of our non wooded land is either garden beds, goat pasture, extreme hill or the sides of the driveway. The driveway and extreme hill areas only get taken care of about three times a year while the other small areas need tending every week or two depending on weather conditions.

While we do have a ragtag, old, no frills, push mower a few years ago we gave up using it because our flattest areas were no longer wide enough to get a mower through.  For the remainder of it, push mowing was more trouble than it was worth so we began using the weed eater for all our lawn maintenance needs.

I actually prefer the weed eater for a couple reasons.  It gets good gas mileage,  is much easier to control on  our terrain  and it has  a blade attachment that makes cutting  back the woods and briers much easier. 2 cups of gas or so will cut  the regular maintained parts of the land here, 3 cups will do all of it. Getting a mower into most of our mowed area is difficult if not down right dangerous or altogether impossible. A weed wacker allows us the ability to move about and pretend we are mountain goats with a bit more safety. It is much easier to run with a weed eater away from a yellow jacket nest than it is to run up hill pulling a mower.

The best reason for using the weed eater though is that it leaves the grasses in larger pieces. It makes raking it up and feeding it to the bunnies, chickens or goats much easier than trying to rake up the mulch like goo that comes from a lawn mower. All but the chickens seem to like the larger cuts better and for them  I tend to hand pick the greens so that I can make them smaller.  Over the course of the summer months when we have extras grasses, I have been known to rake it all up and  treat  it like a hay field, dry it and pack it away for the winter months for nest boxes or for the bunnies  to nibble on.

Of course when gas goes  to four bucks a gallon we will  cut back on the weed whacking and only use it for the worst places and only when it absolutely needs it. The rest will be allowed to grow and be cut with the sling blade or  be allowed to be wild and we will simply have paths  through out the property. One day that is  actually a goal of mine anyway is no upkeep. Care taking this property in my 70s is not  something  I exactly look forward too. It has enough obstacles for me in my 30s so  self maintaining is something we  do slowly work toward each year, it is just a long process


  1. I love to use my old-fashioned push mower for my small lawn. But, unless the grass is really short to begin with, it will kill me to have to run and shove; run and shove; etc.
    DH uses the weed wacker and loves it! No more bunnies to care for, so we just compost the cuttings.
    PS If you have apple trees, you can feed the fresh branches to the bunnies. Ours used to love the new leaves and flowers! Apples are about the only fruit tree it is safe to feed bunnies without drying it first.


  2. no apples here, we live in apple alley(apple capital of GA) so because of commercial growers untreated apples are difficult to keep going.