Word For The Day: Setback Mowing

Setback Mowing (verb) – The practice of mowing the living shit out of your yard so the grass will be stunted and take an extra long time before it has to be mowed again.

I’ve already discussed triage mowing. That’s when you give up all pretense of mowing your yard in an orderly manner. We’d all love a big green expanse that’s flawlessly and equally trimmed. We’d also like a butler and a Learjet. To keep up with the lawn I’d need a month of vacation. (That’s one thing the French get right!) All bets are off when the grass is going apeshit and everything looks like Kudzu on crack. Triage mowing is your last ditch attempt to hold entropy at bay.

Whenever this happens I find myself wishing I’d gotten off my ass this spring and fenced in everything but a tenth acre around the BBQ. I wish I’d turned loose a herd of sheep, or cattle, or antelope, or Mastodons. Anything that eats enough grass to keep things from going full hayfield sounds like a great plan!

Faced with more lawn than available labor I flit around during meager dribs and drabs of “spare time”; mowing only the portions of the lawn that are growing the fastest. Places that have the deepest grass get mowed. Everywhere else gets ignored. (Here’s a hint: the grass really is greener over the septic tank.)

Recently I turned the corner and hammered everything down to a manageable level. Ideally I’d crack a beer and sit on my porch feeling smug. Triage mowing was no longer necessary! Alas I’ve got a big project coming up. Once it starts I’ll have no time to mow anything for quite a while. The grass will overtake me again! Well played oh verdant nemesis.

So it’s time for strategy two, setback mowing. I dropped the deck as low as I could and mowed the damn grass twice. When I was done it was a battered, dried, beaten, shadow of its former glorious health. It’ll come back but it’s going to be a long struggle. Even if it dies I don’t care. Lawns in the suburbs are pretty and useless. Mine is ugly and useful. It’s a non specific storage and firewood production area mixed with chicken grazing, a shooting range, and open fields of view useful for sniping predators en route to the barn. There’s a reason homesteads don’t coexist with uptight homeowners associations.

Barring a dustbowl event, I’m thinking my gambit will pay off. Wish me luck!

About Adaptive Curmudgeon

I will neither confirm nor deny that I actually exist.
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5 Responses to Word For The Day: Setback Mowing

  1. KA9VSZ says:

    One word: napalm.

  2. Tennessee Budd says:

    I live in the sticks, too–literally: in the woods in TN. I rent, for now. My landlord has goats & sheep, & he is the absolute worst man I’ve ever seen at fence maintenance. I once thought that this meant less work: since his wooly/hairy livestock are in my yard half the time anyhow, I’ll have to mow less. This was, alas, a forlorn hope. The damned potential grill fodder eat grass in way too spotty a manner. At least I had hope for awhile, until reality checked in, as it is wont to do. The only reliable way to attract the damned critters is to plant something I actually want to grow. They can be counted on to eat such plants down to the ground.
    I planted habanero peppers, ’cause I’m part Texan & masochistic about hot food (redundancy there?) I had some nice, screaming-orange peppers going & came home to nubs. I can only hope some goat screamed loudly as it shit little bright-orange pellets, but knowing goats, they probably didn’t even notice.

  3. Mark says:

    Sweet God in heaven! A man that articulates my thought processes!
    Mowing is a loathsome activity, a time suck of epic proportion.

    Setback mowing. A lovely phrase, thanks for coining it!

    And yes I know this is a 2013 post- I’m late to the party.

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