A month away from the mountain is a long time. The bush itself requires no attention from me, but my domesticated area does, and the 350mm of rain in February has effected a great deal of green growth. Not all is welcome.
I continually apologise to the environment for my ignorant crime of introducing kikuyu grass here thirty years ago. As punishment, its runners are the scourge of my garden, but until lately the horses kept its main expanse munched very short, its patches the first thing they headed for whenever I let them into the house yard.
With the horses gone, that munching is much missed now after my month’s absence. Mowing is the only answer, and with these dewy autumn mornings that has to wait until the sun is hotter than I like for outdoor work.
Thick and tall kikuyu is a hard task for a mower and when wet it is an impossible one, a sudden choked capital green full stop.
It seems dreadful to have no animals to give it to, especially after my trip to Thailand, where nothing is wasted. As the train home passed though the Hunter Valley’s currently green and seemingly endless slopes and flats of nothing but grass for beef cattle, all I could think of was ‘How wasteful’!
In Thailand the few cattle eat crop residues like rice stubble, while the majority of meat production comes from small animals like pigs and especially chickens. Long-legged and very handsome bantams scratch about everywhere, in quiet temple gardens, country villages or bustling city lanes.
I have never wanted a ‘lawn’ here, but whatever grows in the yard between trees and gardens needs to be short for me to see snakes and to keep the bush rats from moving in again en masse. Clearly mowing will become a chore for which I have no time; I need to rethink the yard and come up with a compromise solution.
If it were all native grass there’d be no problem, since it is only the kikuyu that overdoes it and reaches for the fence tops. The few surviving bits of kikuyu outside the yard get eaten right down and kept in check by the native animals.
Sorry, sorry, sorry, I repeat, but it is only me that’s suffering now. Ignorance is no excuse, says the law, and I guess a life sentence of mowing is a fitting punishment for this crime. Yet I intend to appeal if I can find a way.