It was supposed to rain today starting at noon. Yesterday, I looked at my backyard and realized it was time for a mow, but I didn’t have the time. I thought I‘d have to wait awhile as the forecast called for rain not only today but over the next 2 days. When noon appeared and my neighbor’s mow & blow crew were whizzing and mowing away in her yard, I decided I’d mow after all.
Above: Neighbor’s pristine lawn after the mow & blow folks were gone.
My mower, housed in the shed, hasn’t seen grass or weeds since last September. That’s an entire 6 months of inactivity. I’ve learned that when a mower sits, it can get cranky and may not feel like doing much work. The gas in my gas can had also been sitting just as long. Never-the-less, I decided to give it a go.
I assume you probably mow. How did you learn? Did your daddy or your brother welcome you into the lawn mowing fold? Or were you one of the lucky ones who was just born mowing?—If so, kudos! Or maybe you don’t mow? That’s okay too.
My father left when I was two, and my mother always hired her mowing out. Thus, I learned to mow by necessity, the hard way.
Above: Side yard of the Kolstad Inn Bed & Breakfast (across the street from me) where they do their own mowing, raking, mulching, & edging. Looks good to me!
My very first mow happened using my uncle’s reel mower. I was 14, and had just begun to live with my aunt and uncle in Holland when my uncle asked me to mow. I was willing, and the yard was not large.
I did what I thought was a good job, but apparently, my uncle watched me from an upstairs window, and when the task was complete told me I was slow and did not mow with much enthusiasm. My feelings were hurt, but I didn’t say anything. Maybe he didn’t know this was my first mow, unlike his children who had been mowing since they were toddlers.
If someone said what my uncle said to me now as an adult, I’d ask them, “Just exactly who do you know that mows with a lot of enthusiasm?”
My big-time experience mowing occurred as a single parent when I rented a small house and needed to mow the lawn.
For this, I located a secondhand lawnmower business and purchased a mower. The patient shop owner showed me the various parts of my push mower, how to start the mower, where to put in the gas and the oil and so forth. I was on my way. I was proud. Too bad my uncle couldn’t see me mow now! Later, even big-bellied with my second child, I still mowed. Woo-hoo!
When my husband was living, most of the time he mowed. He had less experience mowing than I did, but lawn-mowing for whatever reason, is usually delegated to the male of the house. (I know one of my female neighbors in Austin wouldn’t know one end of a lawnmower from the other as her husband is the Big Cheese Grand Pooba Mower in their family.)
Above: Bags of grass given to me by the owners of the Kolstad Inn for my compost pile. Life is sweet!
After my husband became terminal, he still tried to mow, but couldn’t. He was left panting for air from the excursion. He told me then I should hire someone to mow and that there was ample money available for this. He never knew the true cost of hiring someone to mow since we’d always done it ourselves.
I didn’t try to hire a lawn mowing service until after my husband passed. We lived on 2/3rds acres and mowing the yard with a push mower sometimes took me all of a weekend in spring and summer. Eventually, I wore out and called a mowing company for a bid. Their proposal came in at $200 for the front yard and $200 for the back. They wanted me to sign a contract to pay $400 a visit to mow every two weeks for the spring and summer.
I was shocked.
Someone suggested I find a local kid to mow and I did, but even his price of $150. (front & back) seemed high, plus it was obvious he didn’t have the maturity necessary to do the job. Thus, I continued to mow myself.
Back to the here & now.
Above: Meet Marilyn Push Mower. She has a Briggs and Stratton engine and is willing to eat tall weeds.
Today, I pulled out my mower, shook the gas can, added gas, checked the oil, pressed the push button starter three times, and pulled the handle attached to the cord. Silence. My lawnmower, indeed, was cranky. I’d neglected her for six months, and she wasn’t talking to me. Relationships require good communication, you know.
I pulled three more times. Silence. I pressed the push button starter again and decided to seduce “her” with a little love and a few incentives.
I waited a bit, then said, “Come on darling!” (Pulled the cord.) “Come on baby!” (Pulled the cord.) “Come on sweetheart, just this one time!” (Pulled the cord.) “Come on cutie pie!” (Pulled the cord and vroooommmmmm, we were off!”
If your mower is female, try a little sweet talk, and she might respond. (Of course, I also had to make all of these promises to her such as buying her a new spark plug, changing her oil, sharpening her blade, and washing her filter. I thought buying her new wheels last year would be enough, but obviously not. You know how women are. Well, I do anyway since I am one.)
I could tell you more about my long and rocky relationship with mechanical garden and lawn tools, but you might not like it.
While I thought my stories were funny, and yes, one was bit sexual (but then again I was newly widowed), Stihl was NOT amused. Murder and weed-eater fantasies aren’t appropriate fare for Stihl’s public image.
I *think* the guy who won found a 40 year old Stihl product in the woods buried under the snow on top of a mountain and after some clean up, it still worked. Show off!