Monday, September 1, 2008

Mower Update

My good friend and most loyal blog reader Wayne saw my post about the crummy push mower I gave up on and gave me one of his to try. (Thanks, Wayne!) This is an American (brand name) mower and it seems to work much better than the imported toy I threw away. This one is heavier, wider and has larger diameter wheels. The reel and cutting bar seem much more solid.

I used it for the first time today and, while not as clean-cutting as my power rotary mower, it does a pretty good job. This time of year, when it's warm and dry, the lawn doesn't grow much and tends to get spotty as different weeds respond differently to the weather and the lawn grasses slow in growth. So, even the most effective mower won't make the lawn look great. I'm finding these manual mowers have a tendency to push some grass blades over without cutting them, leaving an unsightly stubble that make the effort feel a little futile. Also, since I'm low on the learning curve, I don't know how sharp or dull this used mower is. A quick search on the web yielded a couple of sites that provide instructions on how to sharpen a manual reel mower. It seems fairly easy to do, so I'll give it a shot, probably before next mowing season.

This exploration of alternative lawn care may be suffering from artificially elevated expectations. Decades of high-input industrial lawn care has altered our view about what a lawn should look like. Thanks to advertising and social pressure, we all have come desire lawns that look like the Fenway Park outfield. Maybe even the best I can hope for with a push mower, no watering and minimal chemical inputs will look a little ragged. Maybe I should just fence in the yard and get a goat.


Larry said...

I was thinking about getting one of those myself.-It's a lot quieter-where do you put the gas?-won't it leak out?

Penelope said...

I love using a push mower, but especially if you don't keep up with the mowing it does indeed have trouble keeping up with the taller grasses and weeds. I find I'm happiest with the results if I mow often (in which case it stays easy and creates small clippings that can be left on the ground) but occasionally use a power mower to even things out again.

Anonymous said...

Glad you're also enjoying your push mower; the light weight makes it easier to keep up with the frequent mowing needed!

I'm sorry you had to give up your Ginge Comfort mower--I have one, and although a screw fell out, it keeps on going. To each his own!