Flailing Around in Oysterville

Sep 20, 2011 | 0 comments

Fall Mowing Project

     As of yesterday, our view of the bay is back after its summer absence!  Between the bay and the houses on the east side of Territory Road here in Oysterville are ‘the meadows.’  They have been deemed “wetlands” by the Army Corps and other People-Who-Know, so they are unbuildable.  Thank goodness!
     In the spring, the meadow grasses begin to grow and, by summer, they are in all their red-topped glory.  They are the source of the Chinookan name for this area, TSAKO-TE-HAHSH-EETL – “Place of the Red-Topped Grass.”  By August the meadows are lush and beautiful and tall – close to five feet high!  It becomes difficult to see the bay when you are sitting in the garden.
     Most of us in Oysterville don’t mind that.  We are willing to sacrifice a few months of view for the nesting birds who take shelter there.  But, as autumn approaches and the birds have flown, it’s time to get our view back and to make way for ponds that come with the rains.  That’s when the ducks and brant and geese and Great Blues take their turn in the erstwhile meadows.
     Of course, not all of us agree about mowing or even about when to mow.  Our neighbor to the south has her meadow mowed in late spring.  I’m not sure why.
     Our neighbor to the north has decided not to mow at all because “of evidence that the deer sleep there.”  We didn’t bother to explain that even if the deer do take cover there occasionally, it will all end in the first good autumn storm when the grass gets plummeted down for the season.  The other non-mower this year is on the southeast corner of Territory and Oysterville Roads.  No reason given.
     Besides restoring our view, the annual mowing keeps down the Scotch broom and gorse and other noxious weeds.  My  Great Uncle Cecil used to burn his meadow each fall until the Fire Department told him he couldn’t.  He hmpfed quite a bit at that and told those “young whippersnappers” that the meadow had been burned most autumns since he was a boy back in the 1880s.   But after that he agreed to have it mowed.
     Nyel says that. technically, the meadows aren’t being mowed; they are being flailed.  He tried to explain to me that it isn’t blades that are cutting but chains that are flailing.  Whatever.  I’m just feeling like Oysterville got a new haircut – neat and tidy and a pleasure to look at!  


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