I mowed a swamp

So far so good – my crazy scheme seems to be working – I have been out in the garden so I would have something to write about, but in all honesty I would have been out there anyway.  Wild horses wouldn’t keep me away, especially as it wasn’t raining and it wasn’t all that cold.

Often when I look at my garden and feel overwhelmed by what seems like an insurmountable task to restore order, all that is required is a second glance to realise the apparent chaos is caused by long, unruly grass and getting out the lawnmower and having a whip around is like re-setting some kind of reset button where all looks fresh and manageable again.

So instinctively I dragged the mower out of the shed to do the standard “make everything right” task.  But the thing is – it has been raining here, a lot!  And you may or may not know it but we live in a swamp.  Well not a proper swamp.  It was drained in 1886, although why they would drain a swamp when they had a whole new country to explore, I’ll never understand.  So we are surrounded by a vast network of well regulated and maintained drains to stop it being a swamp.  I like to think of the ones around our property not so much as drains, because that doesn’t have a particularly great ring to it.  I like to think of them as a moat.  We have a moat encircling our little slice of paradise – our kingdom.

'My moat shrouded in mist' - which sounds loads much better than 'my foggy drain!'

‘My moat shrouded in mist’ – which sounds loads much better than ‘my foggy drain!’

The thing is we have swamp soil – which is awesome for growing veggies in, but it tends to get a little damp, which isn’t surprising when it is known as the sponge of the soil world.  And I know you aren’t supposed to walk on a water logged lawn – let alone mow it!  But, well…  a mowed garden does look so much more manageable, and I did set it on the highest setting.

So with water glistening from the surface of the lawn as I swept over it with my trusty mower, order was drawn from the chaos.  Although “sweeping past” conjures up images of some young debutant at a ball with a beautiful dress, daintily passing by.  It wasn’t really like that at all – it was more of a trudge as I shoved a reluctant mower through wet grass leaving muddy footprints in my wake from my gumboots that were lined with plastic bags because I’d left them out in the rain and I didn’t want to get my socks wet!

To make matters worse, as I was mowing close to the perimeter of our kingdom I got a little close to the edge and got an almighty zap from the fence.  I should have realised it would be on and set to ‘cow’, as the farmer next door had moved his herd to graze on the lovely grass – very similar to the stuff I was trying to get rid of.  Sometimes I think our farmer neighbours look at us like we are crazy!

There isn't a lot between us and them except a thin wire that packs an almighty wallop!

There isn’t a lot between us and them except a thin wire that packs an almighty wallop!

So when there are only a few wires between the cows and my garden and there are no cows in my garden, it would seem logical that very possibly there is some kind of electric charge running through those wires.  We hadn’t had cows as neighbours for quite a while so it just didn’t occur to me, despite the constant mooing going on.  I have to say – ‘cow’ setting is very strong.  Yay for rubber gumboots.  I don’t think I let out an expletive but I can’t really say for certain.

Now that looks much better...  there is still loads to do, but at least it has now entered the realms of achievable.

Now that looks much better… there is still loads to do, but at least it has now entered the realms of achievable.

As the tingling subsided I got on with the job of mowing between the raised beds and it occurred to me that it is not unlike pushing a trolley up and down supermarket aisle wondering what you will have for tea.  I have put in place a wee rule in our family that we must have something from the garden with every meal – even if it is just my sweet chilli sauce to go with takeaway fish and chips.  For tea we had carrots and parsnips mashed together with a great dollop of butter to make it taste even better and steamed turnip and kohlrabi drowned in a yummy cheese sauce.  It was all gobbled up by everyone.

Come again soon – I can’t wait to see what I’ll do next!

Sarah the Gardener  : o )

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20 Comments on “I mowed a swamp

  1. Hello! I loved hearing your adventures in the garden as I used to garden a lot and grow veggies myself before moving to an apartment here (miss it loads!). The moat is great, what type of creatures do you get in there? Cath

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    • Hi Lizzie. I would love to say the moat contains the usual moat creatures like crocodiles that will eat unsuspecting trespassers, but no, we don’t have anything that dangerous. It is mostly invasive Koi Carp that are officially recognised as a pest and slimy eels.
      Cheers Sarah : o )

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      • Well at least you could eat the eels! You’ll have to get a trap… I used to have Koi Carp in my pond, lovely to look at – I guess someone released them there at some point in the past. I’ll bet there’s some crayfish in there somewhere, keep you eye out, you could have a seafood supper!

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  2. I liked, “set to cow.” There’s a fence between my garden and the dairy cows next door. They watch me while I garden, and I know that the only thing between those cows and garden oblivion is that thin, wire fence.

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    • Hi There. It always seems disconcerting to have the cows so close. And they always seem so interested in what you are doing. At least I can feel confident that the fence is actually working!
      Cheers Sarah : o )

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  3. Oh, I like the sound of steamed kohl rabi in cheese sauce – mind you I like any vegetable with a cheese sauce 🙂

    My OH, Mud, would love to have a property surrounded by a moat 😉

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    • Hi there, Cheese sauce is a wonderful way to get kids to eat veggies!
      Mind you my kids love kohlrabi and it gets taken to school for lunch, raw and cut into sticks!
      Cheers Sarah : o )

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  4. I remember as a kid I wondered about the electric fence for the animals. One was surrounding the pigs and of course I tried it out! I still remember that feeling. 🙂

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  5. Mmm turnip and kohlrabi!!! I am so glad to hear that I am not the only one who is stressed out by long grass!!! I feel so happy and in control of my life and yard when that is taken care of!! Ouch about the zap!!! Your neighbor should really have told you or put up a sign. Not cool.

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    • Hi there. In the country it is fairly safe to assume if there are cows in the paddock the fence will be live, and I actually saw the farmer and waved hello when he was setting it up! When I mow I sort of go into my own little world and completely forgot about the fence. Opps!
      Cheers Sarah : o )

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  6. Ouch! I got zapped by our horse fence recently, so I can empathize. It was my own fault, I just reached out and grabbed it, forgetting it was on. I like to call it a test. 🙂

    I just realized that we didnt plant kohlrabi this year. Shoot.

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    • HI Heidi. Kohlrabi is my new found favourite veggie. It is so versatile and importantly – the kids love it. Can’t go wrong there.
      The Joeyosaurus (aged 7) touched the fence yesterday and got an almighty shock because he was in bare feet. Poor kid. I bet he won’t forget that experience in a hurry.
      Cheers Sarah : o )

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  7. We haven’t had to mow yet this year thanks to our grass suffering badly at the hands of summer. I dare say our chooks (that we finally gave up and let out) will eat any grass that gets higher than they are and Earl polishes off a fair bit so maybe…just maybe…we won’t have to mow ever again! 😉

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    • Hi Fran – Oh how lovely, the thought of never having to mow again. But it does make such a dramatic difference each time I do it, so maybe I secretly enjoy if for prideful vanity reasons.
      Cheers Sarah : o )

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