It’s The Season of The Grass

by admin | May 9, 2024 5:30 pm

Yes, I love Vermont, but it’s the season of the sticks

— Noah Kahan, “Stick Season’


Stick season in Vermont is the period between fall and winter, when the leaves have tumbled to the ground, but the snow has not started falling — a time of transition. Kahan is a young singer-songwriter who is heavy on my playlist in East Texas’ current season – mowing time.

I have been mowing around the margins since the grass began coming back, mainly the fenced backyard and close to the house, while leaving much of the acreage alone until the wildflowers went to seed.

Thus, on May 3, after getting off work at the library, I commenced to mowing the roughly 3 acres of untouched Bahia grass in front. I had marked off with utility line flags a rectangle about 40 x 50 feet that remains untouched, just in front of the flagpole. That is where I planted $150 worth of wildflower seed last fall, the fruits of which are slowly popping up. I will leave this plot untouched until the heat has burned up this rather expensive piece of pasture. The rest of the lan[1]d awaits me, grass growing seemingly before my eyes with all the rain we have received.

I was in full mower mode, wearing long-sleeve pants and shirt, sunblock, a wide-brimmed hat, boots and my Bose earbuds, which block out the mower noise and allow me to listen to music on Spotify while perched on the 54-inch zero-turn mower. Given the thickness and length of much of the grass, it takes two-to-three passes to get it properly mowed, during which I managed to stick the Bad Boy in the mud three times.

It is still wet around the ditch that runs along the driveway. As always, I pushed my luck and got too close to the non-mowable parts. The rear wheels quickly sunk into mud concealed by the tall grass. Once the rear wheels are stuck, there is no spinning one’s way out of this morass. I have to get the tractor and chain with hooks on each end and pull the mower to dry land.

A flock of red-winged blackbirds followed in my mowing wake, relishing the opportunity to find bugs in the sheared grass. Grasshoppers bounced around, occasionally caroming off my sunglasses. One learns to keep your mouth closed while mowing tall grass.

I mowed down below the house, where the farm implements sit, including the bushhog, whose gearbox fell apart during my last time to use it. I finally found a new gearbox and have persuaded little brother Gregg to show up in the next few days to help reassemble that cutter. The grass beyond the barbed wire fence is growing rapidly. I need to get the tractor back working soon to get it down to a manageable level. It is always something at Three Geese Farm.

As I mowed in back, I saw a red-tailed hawk land in the dead top of a tree in the pasture that contains Pancho’s Pond, no doubt looking for a snack. There was a stiff breeze, and the weather was chamber-of-commerce perfect. It was a great day to be on the mower, listening to Kacey Musgraves on Spotify, relishing the smell of fresh lawn clippings. That feeling of euphoria will dissipate as the dog days approach, and mowing becomes a sweaty chore. But for now, I am savoring my time cleaning up this place on a pleasant spring afternoon.


The bushhog’s gearbox came loose during the final round of mowing out in the woods last October, making an unholy racket. Little brother Gregg came over from Garland promptly to try to fix it. We couldn’t get the old gearbox off and [2]had to persuade a former childhood neighbor — now long grown — who is a professional welder to come cut it loose a few weeks later. He did so in about 30 seconds, refused any pay, and left us to figure out next steps. I finally found a new replacement gearbox on eBay.

Gregg showed up the other day, impact wrench in hand. He was a diesel mechanic in the Marines and still enjoys the work, just not having to do it for a living. (He is a database engineer.) Working methodically while I handed him tools, we put the bushhog, which has forlornly sat in back, nearly covered in weeds all winter, back together. I made myself useful by getting a hand grinder and sharpening the blades .

Finally, it was time to test out the bushhog. Gregg took the honors, while I remained a healthy distance away. It worked fine, humming along smoothly as he cut some grass behind the shop. We are back in the bushhog business.

At least we are until something else breaks on the tractor. Such is life on Three Geese Farm.

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