Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Living Lawnmowers

As I sit here waiting out yet another thunderstorm which has curtailed my lawn mowing for the day, I would like to pay tribute to our living lawnmowers: the water buffalo. While I was primarily interested in getting them so we could have our own source of raw milk, Jim saw an opportunity to keep the encroaching vegetation at bay. He never could convince me that goats were worth the trouble, but when buffalo captured my heart, he nudged, encouraged, and prodded me to get us some buffs.

He was right to do so. Within a few days of their arrival, we noted a very happy thing. The water buffalo seemed more interested in eating the weeds than the grass. They eat grass, and plenty of it, but we were completely thrilled to find them absolutely devouring the honeysuckle vines that have become our sworn enemies. This time of year, it's tempting to let honeysuckle be and to enjoy its sweet smell, but it makes us pay later. The vines grow rapidly and can quickly take over trees and, worse for us, fences.

When Gary, our fantastic fence man, put up our new barbed wire fence around what would become home base for the buffalo, he admonished us to be vigilant about keeping the vines off the fence. We have seen plenty of evidence around here of how quickly honeysuckle can collapse even a very sturdy fence. I had visions of spending my summer patrolling the fence line with my weedwhacker and pruning shears. Happily, the buffs are saving me from that hideous fate by nibbling down the vines along with a host of other, less fragrant weeds and seedling trees of undesirable provenance. Good buffalo. Just for that, we're going to fence off the big hill behind the barns and let you have a crack at that next.


  1. Very thoughtful of you guys to extend the Buffs salad bar