Outdoors Column: Lawn Mowing

It seems most outdoors activity at this time of year revolves around lawn and garden maintenance. A person can spend most of a day mowing the lawn and two days later, it looks like it needs it again. This is not all bad. I do rather enjoy mowing and when a person gets done, there is a feeling of satisfaction as it looks so nice, for a day or two. Mowing also allows the time to think and enjoy nature in the area.

While mowing along the yard fence past the bird houses, I suddenly found myself surrounded by bluebirds. It was as if they were all sleeping in their houses and nearby trees. The sound from the mower got their day going. For several rounds, bluebirds would land in the mowed grass and eat bugs. The next time I came around, they would fly ahead and circle back to the short grass. The adults were teaching the young how to catch their own food. The adults, being much more proficient at it, caught more insects. The fledglings would see this and come begging to their parents. Most of the time, the parent ignored them, but would occasionally relent to persistent pleading from a baby that was almost as big as the parent. The adult would stuff a grasshopper in the gaping mouth of the pleading offspring and hop off to catch another one.

My wife likes to go for walks across the dam. It is a smooth level surface and a cooling breeze usually blows off the water. I mow this also so she has a nice place to walk. I was enjoying watching the swallows as they swooped down and caught the flying insects kicked up by the mower. Their aerobatic skills are quite impressive as they caught bugs out of the air while avoiding mid-air collisions with each other as well as not running into me. Motion from the side of the dam caught my attention. A fawn, hidden in the tall grass on the face of the dam jumped up and ran up the hill toward the timber. It still had its spots but was big enough to quickly cover the ground to safety. On the return trip mowing the next strip, I saw a doe hiding down by the water’s edge on the other side of the dam. I assume it is the mother to the fawn I had scared off. As soon as I leave, I am sure she will track down her baby and put it back in the hiding spot she had picked out.

That evening while cooling off on the porch enjoying the freshly groomed view, I saw the doe and he fawn, together on top of the dam, enjoying the short grass. The doe grazed while the fawn bounced around playing. Swallows were still swooping down, catching supper and an occasional bluebird flew past the porch. Mowing the lawn seems to make everything happy, including me, especially when it is done.