Summer weather is hanging on yet, and I'm still mowing the lawn. And I'm delighted to report that, true to hopes expressed back in April, we're still going strong with the old push reel mower. Not only has it done a fine job with the grass all summer, it seems to be doing better and better every time I mow.
I have no real idea why that might be. But I have two theories. First, I do think that the mower sharpens itself—the way the blades scrape against the cutter bar seems to at least wear them into a finer point. Second, I think the grass is growing better this year—more tender and easier to cut—than ever before. Obviously there are a lot of factors in play—the weather surely plays a part—but I'd bet that at least part of the improvement is due to the mower. The way the blades work is a scissor-like action, rather than the high speed sword-like force of a power mower, and each blade of grass gets cut much more cleanly. I'm sure that's healthier for the plants, and lets them start growing again quickly and more evenly.
Or I could just be making it all up. Maybe next year the lawn will prove impossible without a power mower and I'll have to take it all back. But for now, at least, I have some advice for anyone considering a push real mower: keep at it! Don't do what I did, and give up when at first your brand-new mower doesn't work perfectly. It'll get better! Just look at the picture heading this post—have you ever seen more inviting grass? Free of chemical fertilizers and pesticides and, now, free of gasoline residue too. Perfect for lying down on... as long as it stays warm.