I find it funny, and a sign of my age, that so many daily tasks are accompanied by a memory of a person I have little or no contact with; sometimes they're dead and sometimes they're just lost to time. Still, it's funny.
For example, I spend MANY hours mowing; I use a tractor, a lawn tractor and a push mower. I am mowing my yard and I am mowing behind the cow and I am mowing to control seed heads in the pasture. As I mow- every single time- I think of the grouchy neighbor who lived across the street when I was growing up and I think of the boy I liked in junior high. They both said that if my family would just mow the yard, it would get denser and we would have a lawn. No one had the emotional space to do that when I was young, but now, I keep hoping they were right. I keep hoping that if I mow that pasture, it will get denser.
I have thought of these two people so many times since I started trying to be a grass farmer that I keep thinking, "I should write about that." Then, yesterday, another ghost of memory haunted me.
I was spraying diluted milk on the back pasture. I did it in May when the grass was just coming on; that's supposed to be the best time, but I don't figure it'll do any harm now and we're awash in milk. It's a slow process, but kind of pleasant. I have a borrowed pump style sprayer. So I put the diluted milk in the sprayer, then I pump it, then I spray and walk a little, then I pump it, then I spray and walk. It's quiet, it's nice to focus so much attention on the pasture to see what's actually happening, it's nice to be outside. And, it looks like it has indeed increased the density, but I'm sure it hasn't hurt anything.
There I was, lugging that two gallon sprayer, moving slowly down the hill, and I paused at the fruit trees. I thought, "What the hell- TK said his grandmother put milk on the leaves of her plants," and I sprayed the trees. Then, I could see Mrs. Bullard, my 9th grade English teacher, with her stillness and her bustle and her metal sign she shook for the thunder in MacBeth. I could see her frustration with TK, who always had something to add and whose essays were always too long. The happy memory accompanied me for the rest of my work.