Unfortunate Encounters as You Mow (Part two)

mole hills and stick
Another quite frequent and irritating encounter that occurs when you mow are those little piles of dirt rising from the ground not far from each other. Their size varies from a few inches tall and wide to about a foot in diameter. I am talking about molehills.

Moles are small mammals that live underground. Their diet is basically worms and they travel through an intricate network of channels that they dig, similar to our underground metro system in some cities. The metro has entrances, tunnels and stations. The moles’ system has entrances (or exits) tunnels and chambers (equivalent to our stations), and those hills are the deposits of extra dirt that they push up from those tunnelsmole entrance

When the grass is short, those piles are relatively easy to spot, especially in the areas or fields where the infestation is severe. They really slow down the mowing progress and process since we have to negotiate around them to avoid any contact between blade and dirt. But when the grass is tall and dense, you don’t see them until the blade has already gone through the whole pile. At this point, the bevel became dull and doesn’t cut well at all. Usually the whole length of the edge is affected. The good news is that since those piles are made of loose dirt (no stones in them), the damage to the edge should not be serious. Molehill encounters generally don’t produce cracks, dents or burrs on the edge, nor do they bend the bevel, which would require a hammer and anvil to fix. A good honing with a coarse stone will do the trick to make it sharp again.

The exact same thing happens when we have ant mounds in the field, which also are made of dirt, sand and other solid fine materials.

We also have to keep in mind that under and near trees we should expect broken brunches that can be quite a hindrance too.

Other non-pleasant and frequent encounters are skeletons of snakes and other animals, (which I like to investigate).

To end on a positive note, I should say that there are pleasant encounters too: birds, nests, eggs, rabbits and, maybe in our last swath we can find some wild and tasty strawberries.

IMG_20140409_063754Once we experience all that—the good, the bad and the ugly—we can say that the scythe is also a discovery tool!