Sunday, April 11, 2010

Spring Time at StarHop

In the past week, while our dog Hank and I have had our morning ritual of "throw the ball and I'll bring it back" in our front (summer) pasture, I've observed our grass grow almost 6 inches in less days.

Spring time has arrived at StarHop, our little ranch nestled on the west side of the Cascade foothills.  Although we had a 24 degree night a few days ago, everything here is blooming and growing. 

This includes the grass in our unused pastures, rich and high this time of year.  Word up here is to avoid turning your horses out on this beautiful, shiny, lush green grass due to its high sugar content and the risk of foundering.

So yesterday morning my husband and I had our annual conversation about whether it's time to prepare to move our horses to the summer pasture. 

Our preparation for this event starts about 6-8 weeks before they're relocated with brush hogging the summer pasture.  We cut and let the field dry, allowing the cut grass to settle back into the soil.  When the weather warms up around mid-June and the current cut grass starts to dry we'll move the horses to their summer pasture.

Waiting to cut it will mean another week's time before my husband and his tractor can get out in the field.  Another week's time will mean another 6 or so inches growth, equaling the grass almost being a foot tall.  We've found the higher the cut grass, the longer it takes to decay or not decay at all into the soil, leaving it cut and rotten on top of the newer growth.

So today, as I write this, I look out the window at my husband on his tractor, brush hog behind him, cutting the summer field.  I can smell the sweet grass through the open windows.  I can hear my wind chimes lazily ringing in the breeze and sometimes catch the sound of my husband singing his heart out to his IPod.   Periodically I also hear the pop/crunch/bang of rocks as they get caught up in the blade of the brush hog.

He drives our little tractor, or what I refer to as "The Little Tractor That Could".  Not very big, this tractor represents my husband and I, doing the best we can with what we have.  I like to think it signifies the support and love we have for each other.

This tractor represents the new washer, dryer, range, dishwasher, carpet and flooring I was supposed to get when we moved into this house.  But on one of our morning weekend, "State of The Union" coffee discussions, the need for this tool became a higher priority.  Although five years later, my new appliances and flooring are just now starting to come on the front burner again, I don't begrudge this purchase.

The tractor makes my husband as happy as horses in the pasture do me.  And as I see him out there right now, closer to the house, still singing away at the top of his voice, I have to smile.  That is one happy man and his happiness makes me happy.

The only down side was when the roll bar of the tractor caught on a tree branch while he was going underneath.  I watched as the limb snapped off, hitting him in the back of the head.  As he sat there motionless, I ran out, cell phone in hand in case I needed to get help, to find all was well, (heavy sigh of relief)!

After a break for lunch, he bravely returned to finishing up the job before the day was over.  The pasture now looks smooth and clean as my husband finishes the last few passes before he calls it a day.

Another spring of preparing to move the horses onto the summer pasture started today.  There's something special about this right of passage into spring - the tractor running, my husband singing at the top of his lungs, the open windows and sound of wind chimes in the breeze.  It's like hay in the barn for winter, that contentment and warm feeling that all is well with the world.


  1. Great post! I'm loving the warm temps and all the green, but at the same time my allergies are awful!!

  2. That grass looks beautiful. Green is my favorite color. I keep my horses off the new grass too. And your "little tractor that could" is wonderful. It's better than the one we've got. Oh yeah...we don't have a tractor. Wish we did though.