When it is Too Wet to Brush Mow

I am not known for being one to give up in a difficult situation. In fact, some might say I try too often to keep going when wisdom would say to find another way. But sometimes even I realize the right course is to back down. This past Saturday was one of those times.

IMG_0207 resizedThe weather on Saturday was great and I started out full of ambition. I was going to take the chain saw and clear some heavy brush, then break out the DR Brush Mower and start clearing the next section of the planned field. Already in my mind I was envisioning getting more work done then I possibly could in one day–and that was before things started going off course.

First I went to survey my work area. The scrub was very thick so I took along two poles to mark the two nearest corner stakes on the property in an attempt to give me some sense of my working parameters. As I said, the scrub was very thick so at first I couldn’t find the marking stakes and I had to do a bit of tromping around until I finally located them. Maybe that was an hour or so of my time. In the process of putting in the marking poles I realized that while this made the property corner marks visible at a greater distance than two feet, at twenty feet or so even the long poles were obscured in scrub. At this point I realized keeping myself oriented on the property within the maze of scrub was going to be harder than I had at first anticipated. I now had the vision of myself wandering off cutting brush on the neighbor’s property for lack of realizing my location.

The original plan had been to remove the worst of the scrub with the chainsaw and finish with the DR Mower, but given the impenetrable nature of the scrub I decided a change in attack was probably a good idea. (I may be stubborn in reaching my goals but I can be flexible in the method of getting there.) My new plan was to bring the DR Brush Mower back to the corner of the property and clear outward along the property line and then after I had created some definition for the space I had to work with I would go back with the chainsaw and thin out the scrub before finishing up with the mower.

It was a grand idea–but it didn’t work out so well. We have a creek that runs through the middle of the property, and many small streams wind their way through the scrub lot feeding into this creek. How wet the area is varies greatly from location to location. An area away from one of the little streams is more dry, but wherever the streams flow through the scrub it is extremely wet–and I misjudged how wet. When I drove the mower across the creek and into the scrub I made it about ten feet before I hit the first stream. The surrounding ground was like pudding and the DR Mower almost immediately sank down to its axles and could not move. Following my own advice on getting a Dr Mower unstuck, I did get the machine free from the mud and moved onward. Maybe ten feet further on, I hit the next soft patch and the Dr Mower sank again. Once again I physically lifted the machine out of the mud and set it on solid ground.

Forward. Stuck again. I wrestled the machine through again, but by this point I had mud plastered up the front of my pants, and I was winded. I push on further, determined, but then I hit the worst patch yet. I did everything I could to muscle the machine through and I almost made it to the other side of the swampy place. By this time I was sweating profusely, and was very winded.

IMG_0208 resizedI shut off the mower and took a break to catch my breath and think the situation over. I really wanted to get great things done that day but at this point it was clear that the amount of energy required from me to get the mower out of the mud every ten feet meant I would be utterly spent before I even made it to the corner post on the property–much less even begin clearing.

Time to face facts. Clearly the ground was still far too wet for bringing the Dr Brush Mower in to work. Stubborn as I may be, the situation on the ground was equal to any amount of strength or determination I might bring to the project. The best course of action was to swallow my pride and admit I was going to have to wait until the middle of the summer when it was dry before I have any chance of mowing the brush.

So I fetched a brother to help me haul the DR Mower back along the muddy trail I had made. Then I stopped for some pictures to commemorate the attempt and put the mower away while trying to not feel too disappointed. Sometimes working on a project requires admitting the need for a tactical retreat and reassessment. I did that. But I’m not defeated. Call me crazy, but I am coming back later.

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