Today was the second consecutive day with no rain and bright sun, which meant things had finally dried out sufficiently for us to get some serious mowing done. Lisa had me get the big John Deere commercial mower out yesterday evening and mow parts of one of the fields for about an hour just to get me re-familiarized with driving it, but today, she was feeling (barely) well enough to run the riding mower while she put me to work with the small push mower on the sections where the big mower cannot go.
Before getting to work on the lawn, however, Lisa decided that we should do something about the path that tends to get gloppy and muddy when it rains. We got one of the small hand-carts and took it over to Mehama True Value, where we bought six 16 x 16 x 4 inch concrete blocks. One of Lisa's cousins was behind the counter. (She's related to a lot of people around here; it's a consequence of being a member of the family that homesteaded the town site back in the Oregon Trail days.) I asked Lisa, "Do I pay for this, or put it on your father's account?"
She said, "On account of it's his property, it goes on his account."
We hauled the blocks over to the old house, got out the rake and shovel, and cleared a level space for the blocks.
Lisa had me place the first five in a staggered pattern near the front porch, that being where the worst gloppy spot has been.
There was one more block left after we placed the first five, so Lisa had me carry it over to the space between our trailer and the old house, which has also proven to be a bit muddy at times. Ideally, she'd like to pave the whole path, but that's a future project.
After placing the blocks, it was my job to jump up and down on them to make sure they'd settled into place properly and weren't rocking. We then pushed dirt and gravel back up around on them so they aren't a particular tripping hazard.
As I've written in the past, Lisa's father's lawn is not some postage-stamp suburban piece of greenery. It is the remnant of a field where Lisa's ancestors raised crops that supported them. It's large. Imagine a couple of football fields. That large. This is why we have that commercial lawn mower; it's the sort of thing that can mow a hectare or two of open field.
However, there is also a lot of stuff around Lisa's father's house and around buildings on the property where the John Deere cannot go. For the small front and side lawns and the places the big mower cannot go, it was my job to use the push mower.
If I look a bit sullen, it's because I realized before starting the mower here that I'd left my ear protection and face mask (to avoid inhaling too much grass pollen and other debris) over in the garage on the other side of the property and that I needed to trudge back over there and get them. Also, Lisa took this photo after we'd been at it for several hours and I was getting pretty worn out.
We spent nearly six hours cutting lawns, mowing the field, and doing the work with the concrete blocks. And while we got a lot finished, we only got about half the field mowed -- the near half, plus the area around the house. The remainder of the field awaits our attention, maybe tomorrow, as the weather forecast is for only partly cloudy skies. I have some hope tomorrow will be easier work than today, however, because while the outer field is actually larger than the inner field we cut today, it doesn't have as many fiddly bits as mowing around the house and out-buildings.
(Lisa, who is watching me write this, said: "Sort of. You're forgetting the grove of trees over by the highway. We don't cut around them as much anymore, as they've grown so large that we can't get the big mower in there anymore.")
After finishing the yard work, blowing the grass clippings out of the mowers, doing maintenance like refilling the oil, and stowing the equipment, Lisa had us run in to Stayton for some groceries. We also looked for some sort of cough-and-cold remedy that might help her sleep better. Unfortunately, it seems that everything has something that Lisa didn't like the looks of. Either they have yellow dye, or aspartame, or polysorbate 60, or some form of glycolate, or some combination of these things.