Marlene Ratledge Buchanen

It is that time of the year again. The April, May and June showers have certainly brought spring flowers--- and grass and weeds.

There are not many things I enjoy more than getting all dressed up in my garden finery and going bush hogging. I know you are jealous because you don’t have the best wardrobe like mine or a tractor that is your same age. I have a matching pair of boots at the bottom of the pond that you can have if you will retrieve them.

For you that do not know what bush hogging is, let me try to explain. You ride a tractor, and you pull a wide, flat lawn mower type thingy behind you. If all goes well, it cuts down everything that gets into its path. If things don’t go well, you yell and scream and call Snell to come fix it.



Marlene Buchanan loves to bush hog. Marlene Buchanan loves to bush hog.Telling you about my lovely pair of boots brings me to a different and not truly related tale. Golf carts do not float. No, do not try this at home. I have; they don’t. They do ricochet off walls and can fly about four feet before hitting the water. The fish don’t like it and it ticks off Chi-Chi, the turtle. Then you have to swim out, get chains and the tractor, then swim in again, dive under water to connect the chains, and then drag the cart out. It is not a fun way to spend a couple of hours, and it leaves you with mismatched boots.

My friend Paul Dickson and I were talking online one day about our tractors. His is a relatively new one. Paul asked me if I used a chain saw and did all kinds of yard work. I had to tell him that I could no longer use the gasoline chain saw, but Snell and James gave me an electric limb trimmer and an electric chain saw for my birthday. I am now a woman of mass destruction. I think he thought I was a prissy little thing. I’m not.

Back to my story. I love to bush hog. I like messing in the flowers, but I LOVE to bush hog. There is a sense of accomplishment. You can look back over your shoulder and see this wide swath of weeds that you have mowed down. You can look forward to all your antagonists (goldenrod, poison ivy, trash grass) and know you are about to take them out.

We have lots of those tall dandelions, wild asters, and daisies. I cut around those clusters. The yard looks a little patchy, but that’s okay. The pretty flowers stay, and I get to play in the yard on my toy of choice.

Things I love about bush hogging are simple. Only one person can be on the tractor. You can pretend you don’t hear anyone calling your name. If someone starts trying to find you, you can drive up behind the pine grove and cut your neighbor’s yard. He is appreciative, and you are out of sight for a time.

Not many things can stand in your way when you are bush hogging. Animals and insects scurry away. I have taken out small trees with that thing. I have trained my family that this is my time of meditation. I can work out problems on that tractor. I can pretend I am running over my enemies with it. I can cry, and no one knows it. I can scream as loud as I want and no one hears me. I can laugh, and no one can tell I am hysterical.

We all need mental therapy every once in a while. Mine is cheap. A couple of gallons of gasoline and I am good for hours.

Stop by the house anytime. If I am on the tractor though, you best keep going. I can’t see you or hear you.