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Zen and the art of lawnmower maintenance


Spring grass

That, my friends, is our grass. I didn’t even Photoshop it to knock up the green, I swear to God. After the @#$!!# blizzard in early April, we had a whole bunch of rain. And when the rain stopped and the sun came out, everything in our lawn shot up about two feet overnight. You think I’m exaggerating, but I would go to bed one night and notice the next morning that there was an eight inch bush where only dirt had been the day before. Spring is pretty amazing here in the Northeast. It almost makes up for the miserable 6-month endurance trial that we call winter. Almost.

By Friday, it became evident that the first mow was upon us. With many, many mows to follow of course. But the first – oh, the agony of the first. Because we have an old push mower (no fancy-pants rider for us) and about 1/2 an acre of lawn. And by the time we get around to that first pass, the grass is always 5″ tall and thicker than Jessica Simpson’s hair extensions. No mere push mower should ever be responsible for such a tangled mess.

I hate to admit it, but I can’t even start our mower… it takes a soft touch and one quick pull, and I just can’t get it right. Believe me, I have tried -I feel so girly having to say “Can you start this scary machine for me, sir?” – but it’s no use.

I started with the front lawn, which was easy enough. But as I made my way to the side lawn, where the grass gets thicker, it started stalling out on me. Every few feet I had to “lift and bounce”, knocking the wet clumps of grass off the blade so it would stay running. I was full of dread, knowing that a full stall meant the end of my lawn mowing excursion.

Greenest grass

I powered on, slowly, with the blade set as high as it would go. I held my breath each time it threatened to stall. I fretted over the gas… would one full tank be enough? Running out would be disasterous. But then, as the hours wore on, I started to become one with the mower. I developed a zen-like focus, anticipating what grass clumps would make it shudder, slowing it down and speeding it up as the length and thickness changed. My progess sped up, and my “lift and bounce” maneuver was needed less frequently. I’m sure the neighbors were watching with bated breath to see who would win this battle; the lawn had a good head start, but I was in the zone.

2.5 hours later, the first mow of the season was successfully completed with one tank of gas and zero stalls.

The glory is all mine.

Comments, Thoughts, and Feedback

Patricia in Jackson had this to say on 05.07.07:


Yesterday marked my second mow of the year. The little rubber primer bubble thing on my mower came off long ago leaving me with just a plastic disc with a hole in the middle. In order to get gas through things so that it will start I have to tilt my mower on it’s side and wait for the gas to begin running out. I then tip it back to normal and pull the cord. It’s worked for the past four years!

purejuice had this to say on 05.09.07:

have you ever considered doing meadow grasses instead of lawn? very hip, very eco.

Kristin had this to say on 05.09.07:

Cute post. Your grass is gorgeous! We have some nice St. Augustine, but it’s mostly centipede, which I despise. And by mid-summer it’s pale yellow and crispy.

Jen had this to say on 05.14.07:

Till it up and plant a vegetable garden! Less mowing! :)

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