Alternatives to mowing
Mowing demands expensive machines, gasoline and time, and emits air pollution and a terrible noise. Poi fai, our water buffalo, do some of the mowing, but being a big animal he likes to use precious saplings to scratch bug bites, and to avoid that you need to supervise him and that demands time. I thought of an army of guinea pigs which we could eat as well, but we may get annoyed by too many holes and the garden may look like a rodent infestation. Goats eat everything and even climb trees, and so they are most unsuitable for a botanical garden. Their introduction would be like inviting Mr Bean and Charlie Chaplin into an antique store. We asked to breed small native deer but the CITES regulations stop us. Sheep like the hairy (i.e. wool-less) breed Santa Inez would be nice, at least in some fenced areas where they can not sabotage the vegetable section. Sheep are symbols of pastoral landscapes, but maybe not in Thailand? Ponies were once the main engines for pulling Thai taxi carts, but my experience from riding is that ponies may eat other plants than grass.
A columbi egg would be not to mow at all, a practice we adopt in the monsoon woodland, soon to be so shady there won’t be any weeds. The problem is that without mowing in sunny areas you get too many prickly South American weeds. Fire is the solution of the locals but that is terribly ugly and bad for the air. Do you have any suggestions?
Eric & Ketsanee
P.S. We have a new litter of wild boar – six healthy piglets, two days old!