Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Real mowers for reel men

A little over 2 years ago we finally acquired a yard. And with this yard came a house and bunch of green stuff (it's a stretch to call it grass) that got Michael all geeked out about buying something to cut it with. In our previous house I was able to cut the grass (monkey grass, aka lariope) with pruning shears. Granted it took me about 4 hours to get it all cut and a weed-eater would have done it in 0.001 the time, but that would have required owning a weed-eater, which I didn't.

So now we have, well, I'll call it "grass", but know that I use that term with literary license, and it needs to be cut with something other than scissors. Michael is running on and on about how we are going to get a "real" mower. Not a gas powered mower. A REAL mower. That you push. And I'm thinking, WTF? A real mower? As opposed to what? A fake one? But rather than display my lawn maintenance ignorance, I decided to just go along for the ride in the hope that I'll figure it out before I make myself look foolish. Besides, I just figured that my husband was having some sort of grass-fueled REAL man moment.

To fulfill the real mower fantasy, we headed over to our favorite big-box home improvement store and my husband leads me through the labyrinth of yard tools, whereupon I find myself standing in front of a display of grass cutting machinery. Michael bee-lines toward this little mower and stands in front of it salivating. I look at this little grass cutting implement and a lightbulb goes on over my head.

He wants a manual PUSH MOWER!! You know, the kind that has the rotating blades on a little barrel and requires real man (or woman) power to make it go. My dad had one of those. He used to punish my brother by making him mow the lawn with it.

It wasn't until many many conversations later that it was explained to me that it's not a REAL mower, describing the "real" man who powers it. Rather it's a REEL mower, describing the mechanism that makes the blades turn.

Oh. Right.
I knew that.

After being briefed on all the ins and outs of using a reel mower, I was granted the honor of becoming a real woman and cutting the grass. And, let me tell you, after pushing that thing through the weeds in the middle of July, I definitely felt like a real something-or-other!

Flash forward to this past weekend. Michael is away on a business trip and our patch of weeds is out of control.

The 2" of rain that fell on Saturday did nothing to curb the growth of greenery and our yard is beginning to look like an overgrown vacant lot through which you can no longer see that there is actually a house. Despite the spongy ground I decide that the grass is dry enough and I announce to Brenna that I am going to cut the grass.

This plan goes well for the strip of greenery between the street and the sidewalk.

Then I turn my attention to the green right in front of the house. Apparently the area near the curb gets more sun than the rest of the yard.

Pretty much all I succeeded in doing was mangling the weeds. After about 30 passes up and back trying to shorten the grass rather than skid over it or pull it out from the root (which wasnt' necessarily a bad thing for some of the knee high weeds), I called the grass cut and turned to planting flowers.

In the end, Brenna looked at my handiwork and said: Mommy, I thought you were going to cut the grass?
Me: I did.
B: No you didn't. You just flatted it.

At about this time, our friend Dayna comes over. She looks at the "mowed" grass and asks what I used to "flat" it. I told her I used a reel mower (which was now back in it's home under the house).

She looked at me like I'd lost my mind and said, "Real?! As opposed to what? Imaginary?" This led to the two of us rolling around on the grass making lawn mower noises and pretending to "flat the grass". Not sure what the neighbors thought but no one called the cops.

Truthfully, Brenna is right. It does look like I "flatted" the grass rather than mowed it.

But the flowers look nice.

1 comment:

  1. I love a reel style mower for very early morning mowing, when the dew-moistened grass is nigh impossible to cut with a gas mower, or anytime the lack of noise is necessary to allow the sleeping babies to enjoy their pursuit of rest. I've owned a no-name, a Scotts, and now a Fiskars reel style mower. Unfortunately, none of them quite replace a good old Honda for finely mulching grass and keeping a healthy lawn. I think most of the people I know are wholly outsourcing their lawn care these days. It's just something I actually enjoy. I suspect by now you're the proud owner of all sorts of powered lawn tools, but none are quite so elegant as a reel mower.