posts tagged with 'lawn care'

our kind of mower

the mower in the lawn

effective technology

It's hard to believe, given that it feels like it was just winter the other day, but I thought it necessary to give the lawn its first trim of the season yesterday. Continuing my practice from the end of last year, I brought out the push reel mower. The six-year-old from next door was interested. "That's a weird mower!" she said. "We have... a different one."

We do too; two in fact. The one I bought all those years ago and one I got for free from a friend. Right now they're both broken—I got the second one in hopes of fixing the first. And I will, someday: there are good uses for power mowers. Composting leaves, for example. But for mowing our lawn, which really isn't that big now that we've reclaimed so much of it for garden and muddy play space, so much internal combustion isn't really necessary.

I used to think it was, because for ten years I didn't think the push reel mower worked. It turns out I just needed to use it for a little while and it would sharpen itself. Now it works like a charm, at least on the tender spring grass. And worrying about clippings laying on the lawn? I haven't bagged the clippings for years. So few downsides, and a couple nice advantages—mainly that the sound is a pleasant whir rather than a deafening mechanical whine. With the beautiful spring weather we've had to endure two straight days of mowing and blowing from the neighbors' yards, and it is horrible. Down with gas power! Up with human power! Push reel mowers for all!

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my meadow lark

a view of the lawn showing mown and unmown portions

a study in contrasts

As the summer shifted slowly, fitfully into gear, I started to become aware of the necessity of mowing the lawn. In a moment of enthusiasm I brought out the push reel mower and took care of maybe a quarter of the grassy area before other necessities intervened; then between the painting and the rain it was over a week before I thought about the matter again. By that point the grass had gotten pretty tall—too tall for the reel mower to handle effectively. No problem: I do own a power mower. Only when I brought it out, it wouldn't start.

So I gave it an oil change and a new air filter (which of course took a couple days, as I had to get around to procuring said oil and filter). Still nothing. (As an aside, if Alan is reading this I'd be delighted to trade something—jam? eggs? tomato futures?—for some small-engine repair classes.) While my various failures continued the grass reached knee height.

Yesterday I did what I should have done right away, which is to ask a neighbor to borrow a working mower; and today hacked my way through the tangled thickets to restore a useable lawn. It's not that what we had before the mowening was unattractive, to us at least: the tall seed stalks were quite pretty waving in the breeze or jeweled with morning dew. But it wasn't really functional as a play space, and the neighbors were starting to wonder about us. Wonder about us even more, that is. Now, in the area of lawn care at least, we're once again safely within the bounds of suburban normalcy.

Well, almost. I did leave a little patch of tall grass as a nod to prairie restoration.

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