Cutting grass, inaka style

Recently, I started hearing the buzz of kusukari-ki, our pared-down country lawnmowers, around the valley. I took it as a clear sign that grass cutting season had arrived.

Last year I made a mistake and started cutting the jungle at 555 in March…several weeks before everyone else. That meant I trimmed back flowers and forage too soon. Oops. I learned my lesson. I will wait until someone else starts.

So I spent part of Thursday with my cutter. I cleared the west side around the circle garden and trimmed the paths around the grounds so I can stroll easily this summer. My controlled jungle plan is underway.

Saturday morning, I lent a hand at Oyama Senmaida. Rice planting starts this week and the edges of the fields need to be trimmed up before that. People in the owners program came to do their own paddies, but many were absent and the staff handled those. I did my best on blocks E6 and E7, but I am such a beginner. Whoever owns E6 and E7 will find them creatively trimmed when they come to plant.

The flat top of the embankment wasn’t too challenging, and I will improve my technique so the grass falls where it’s supposed to. But cutting the upper side slope was difficult. Partly that was my own fault – walking through the mud in boots that are too big was very challenging. I didn’t fall in, but I definitely splashed myself by dipping the spinning blade of the cutter into the water while trying to lift a boot from the mud.

I was only scheduled to work an hour and a half – I had errands to run – but it was more than enough to make me glad to be done.

The experienced farmers make this grass cutting look easy, but it is not. They were still there in the fields when Tod & I drove past coming home from our adventures at 4:30. What a long day. The tanada looks terrific.

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Mediatinker, Kristen McQuillin, is an American-born resident of Japan since 1998. This blog chronicles her life, projects, thoughts, and small adventures.