Lawnmower musings


The best thing I can say about mowing when it is sunny and 97 degrees is that at least it wasn’t windy enough to blow the grass back on my hot, sweaty body. The other good thing is that I was riding, not walking and pushing a lawnmower.

That’s not how it was when I first took charge of a lawnmower when I was maybe 10- years-old and I was one of three lawn mower operators living in my house. During the summer, it took the three of us an entire day to mow the farmstead as we took turns mowing each section of the place, front and back yards, around the outbuildings, and the center of the circle driveway. Some plots were easier and more desirable than others, so there was always a discussion about that.

I believe that the cut on one of those old push mowers was 24 inches, so it’s pretty daunting to start out working on a lawn that covers a couple of acres. And most of the push mowers I used weren’t self-propelled.

But then it is daunting to look out over a three-acre yard in desperate need of mowing and trimming when I’m on a rider mower that cuts 50 inches in one swath.

When there are three youngsters operating a lawn mower with low motivation for the task, just keeping it running was a job all by itself, I’m sure. The mowers got a workout on rough terrain with handlers that didn’t always use the most care. There were regular incidents like running over something that wasn’t meant to be chewed up by a mower, like a clothespin. I wasn’t fond of stopping to pick up the ones that had fallen off the clothes line and went through the mower quite easily.

Sometimes the mower was just plain persnickety and stopped for no reason. Of course, it always ran out of gas in the farthest corner of the yard, and do you remember fighting with the pull rope to start the thing?

Naturally, my parents got their first riding lawn mower soon after the last of their live-in mowing crew went off to college. My children always used a riding mower, which became bigger and more dependable after they left home, as I recall.

My live-in mowing crew has long since moved out, too. I really don’t mind mowing now when it’s a reasonably nice day. It’s always pleasant to be outdoors, and on a mower it’s hard to be interrupted by some electronic device. I let my thoughts wander to musings like: Just why isn’t there a variety of grass that only grows to a nice, trim height and then just sits there looking green and pretty for a month of so until it needs trimmed?

I wish I could figure that out. Maybe more time on the mower will help.