Welcome to Antler Valley Farm

To mow or not to mow?

Just a quick recap:  We had grass and I was so excited!!!  I won’t bore you with more pictures of grass yet, but I was over the moon excited to have grass.

The grass grew BEAUTIFULLY in the spring for the most part.  However, around the beginning of May we realized we needed to do something with the grass.  We had let the grass grow to reseed itself.  And it had.  All the grass had seeds at the top and I felt like the grass needed to be mowed so those seeds could replant themselves with the spring rains and make the grass thicker for next year.  Jim was unsure about doing that though.  He thought we should leave it for another month and let the grass underneath be shaded from the sun so it would grow thicker.  I disagreed actually, but I am not a grass expert.  However, the grass was so lovely when it rippled in the wind!  So, how could I argue!

We left the grass tall and let it look beautiful for another month.  By the beginning of June, we felt like we really needed to cut the grass since the tops had mostly turned brown.

By June, the grass really needed to be mowed!  What a nice problem to have, right?!?!

It still looked so beautiful when it rippled in the wind.  Ahh, I love the country life.  Have I mentioned that already?

We didn’t have a tractor, so we decided to use our Swisher pull behind mower to cut the grass.  The Swisher mower is a type of independent mower that is usually pulled by a 4-Wheeler.  However, our 4-wheeler wasn’t quite strong enough to pull the mower behind it without slipping the chain.  Since I’m not a mechanic, I don’t have a clue how to fix that.  I just know that I used to get frustrated when the chain slipped and I had to get off and put it back on every few minutes.  So the new plan was to use our old Chevy truck to pull the mower.

In the past, we would put that baby in 1st gear and it crept around the pastures like a champ.  Plus, it had air-conditioning and a radio so the kiddos didn’t start complaining for quite a while.  Last year, we were mowing weeds out at the farm with it and it worked great.  So why mess with a plan that has worked for us in the past, right??  If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!

Our handy-dandy Swisher mower!  I call it the baby bush hog.  Maybe one day it will grow up and be a bigtime bush hog attached to a tractor.  Ahh, it’s good to have dreams, isn’t it?  

I was hoping the mower would still start this year or we would be weed eating a whole lot of grass!  And it did start on the first try!  Whoo-hoo!  So, off to mowing we went.  After about an hour, I hit a branch that was hidden in the tall grass.  There was a horrible screeching and by the time I put the truck in park and jumped out, there was smoke and a burning smell.  Not good…. I shut everything off and went to find my mechanic.  Ok, Jim may not be a mechanic, but he knows a lot more about that stuff than I do, so to me, he is a mechanic.  Good ole Jim came and diagnosed that I had hit a large branch and jammed one of the blades and that had snapped the belt.  In my defense, the belts were old and starting to dry rot in places so it hadn’t taken much to break the belt.  That’s my story and I’m sticking to it!

I didn’t get the entire field mowed before that trouble making stick broke the tired, weak old belt.  It’s half done though, right?  Kinda like a glass half full scenario?  Field half mowed?  Yeah, same thing…  

Now, here’s the funny part.  Jim was ready to go buy another mower!  Well, that seemed completely unreasonable to me when we could replace the belt.  So, we wrote down all the numbers we thought we would need to get a new belt from the Hardware store.  Unfortunately, that piece of paper never made it to the store.  Jim went to the store the next day to get the belt and couldn’t find the paper with the number on it!  Not a big deal.  Except that we were both busy and couldn’t get back out to the farm to get the numbers again for several days.  So that weekend we went out and got the numbers, but by the time we got back to town the store had already closed.  Ok, no problem.  Except when that silly piece of paper disappeared again!  It was starting to go beyond comical to frustrating at that point!

Once again, we went out and got the numbers.  This time I put the paper in my wallet until we made it to the store.  But we never made it to the store!  It was so crazy busy that we had to keep putting it off.

Finally, Jim did a job in Asheville right down the road from Northern Tool.  He stopped in to buy the belt and they were completely out of the size we needed.  What????  How does that happen?  It’s summer….mowing season….people need mowing belts…and the store is all OUT????  Oh, apparently there are a lot of people like me out there that are breaking mowing belts a lot.  They just beat us to the store.  Yeah, that’s what it was.

Thankfully, they were super nice and able to order the belt from the Swisher company and have it shipped directly to our house.   It ended up being the beginning of July before we got that silly belt.  Sadly, that belt didn’t get put on until the middle of July.  Who knew the smallest belt on a mower could take 2 months to get replaced?  I should have known!   Anyway, now I must go…I have a few months of mowing to catch up on!

It will all look so pretty once all the mowing is done though!

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