Finally we agreed something had to be done. But what? If you drive a mower along the side the tires will crush the wildflowers. Weed-whacking a quarter of a mile makes my husband’s arms ache, just thinking about it. So we devised a new plan: put a portable generator in the trailer behind the old golf cart, attach a hedge trimmer to the power and drive by slowly. Only one problem: the trimmer needed to be no more than a foot off the ground. So I drove while Fritz, kneeling held the clipper off the side of the floorboard. We stopped often to relieve his aching biceps and knees and my driving foot, suspended in the air because his feet were in the way. Do you get the picture? The long drive, which always brings me so much pleasure on my walks to the mailbox, suddenly felt like the enemy. Fortunately the cloudy sky mercifully kept us somewhat shaded.
We tried a similar method to rake the long cut grasses but finally reverted to the old fashioned method—raking by hand. While he retraced our path to tidy up the job with the weed-whacker, I dragged the “thatch” into big piles for later pick up. But after four hours we were too exhausted to pick up the piles and dispose of them, so we decided that manana was good enough for us.
It was hotter the next day as we filled trailer after trailer full to overflowing with the now dried grass. I’m sure there were enough long stems to thatch several roofs—if only such roofs were common here. Talk about abundance—just one foot on either side of drive way yielded all that straw--perhaps only one-one-thousandth of the growth on the whole 17 acres. I think ahead to April when all those stalks, matted to the ground from snow cover, will disappear in the annual burn to make natural fertilizer for the next abundant August on this tall grass prairie.