First pass...

It's a day I look forward to each spring. The day the John Deere comes out of the equipment shed and starts through the front pasture. In the days when I had horses, we never needed to mow. The tractor whacked down blackberries when needed, but mostly we used it for digging holes for fence posts, and hauling branches from the orchard to the burn pile.

But once the last horse went, mowing became a necessity, sometimes twice a year. We just have to be careful to mow before the quail start nesting, and to always leave a couple of patches of tall grass to give birds lots of cover.

It takes hours to mow. The front pasture slopes down a hill to a pond, and is dotted with cottonwood, maple, birch, and fir trees. DW knows where the permanent targets lie hidden: the tops of glacial erratics too big to dig out. But there are other hazards, like tree branches that fall and like hidden beneath grass that's sometimes over my head. I always listen with half an ear while he mows, and cringe when I hear the blades hit a hidden branch.

It's part of the ritual to climb the stairs to the upstairs office, with the best view of the pasture, and see the result of all that work. A beautiful mown pasture, all the bones revealed.

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