Tony Grist (poliphilo) wrote,
Tony Grist

Interesting, But Not Something I Ever Meant To Do.

If you want a lovely meadow with feathery grasses and wildflowers you don't put horses on your land because they'll graze the vegetation down to its roots. All except for the bloody ragwort.

On the other hand if you just leave your land to do its own thing you'll find the feathery grasses and wildflowers soon give way to brambles and saplings- and unless you intervene- by introducing horses, for instance- your meadow will quickly turn into a thicket.

I wonder if my parents knew all this when they bought the farm? My father probably did because he started his working life by selling farm machinery. He liked tractors and huge mowing machines and once rolled one of them into the stream on the lower field- which is the kind of accident which costs agricultural workers their lives and limbs. He, however, walked away unscathed. The fields were his playground, the realisation of a boyhood dream. I'm told I said I wanted to be a farmer when I was four- but that was because I thought it meant living with a bunch of adorable animals like Dr Doolittle. It wasn't a dream I held onto.

I go into the fields less than I did when we first came down here. The ground is nubbly at present- the result of the horses churning it up when it was damp and eating all the grass and then the sun baking it to the consistency of week-old artisan bread. Owning land has taught me a whole lot of things I would never have learned otherwise, but it's not an experience I want to prolong indefinitely.
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