Every year I look for new experiences, both in my personal life and at work. This year I got a chance to work on annual cuts for the first time. This involves line-trimming meadow like fields and buffer zones using heavy-duty line. It can take days, and it will not be done for another year. Large areas are covered by Deere ride-on mowers.

Sometimes it feels like harvest time and the view can be great depending on your exact location. If you are working close to people, stop and let them pass.

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Annual cut detail shot

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Not a bad place to spend a day….

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Stop to let people and pets go by…..

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Heavy duty line

​If time permits, harvest ripe blackberries (Rubus discolor) before pushing back the thorny invasive canes. There are other hazards! The tall growth can hide all sorts of objects and small animals. I recommend using a full face shield but they are awkward and expensive. Goggles, ear protection and pants are mandatory. Use a hat, sun screen and bring water.

Best Advice: if you are not using a full face shield, CLOSE YOUR MOUTH! Little voles usually run away from the noise but I did not expect to decapitate two garter snakes in the space of three minutes. And I hate snakes. Harsh previous experience has thought me to look out for improperly discarded doggy bags; the contents defy description after six months of sitting in a meadow. Then there is garbage and rocks which can become nasty projectiles.
It feels great once the work is safely completed.

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