Mowing for Dummies

I don’t as a rule (read “hardly ever”) perform the necessary chore of mowing our yard. In the summertime, we hire a very reasonably priced yard service to mow and edge the yard once every two weeks. Jay fills in on the off week. Given we own about a 1/4 acre of oddly shaped yard on a corner lot, it is a decent-sized job but I didn’t have quite enough respect for the task until today.

Jay has been very sick for the better part of a week now, so he has not had the energy to attend regular work most days, let alone consider the idea of mowing in this heat. Then our faithful mowing service for whatever reason picked this past Tuesday to not show up, for probably the first time ever. So we’re looking at over two week’s growth of grass in our yard and this morning I decided something had to be done. Since my brother is in town I got him to help me start the ornery mower and then I was on my own.

I learned many things during my two hour job; if you are also new to the world of mowing, maybe some of these lessons will be of help to you:

1. A mower may likely run out of gas during a large job. Repeated sputtering, hesitation to start, and ongoing stalling while moving might all be hints that you need to refill that tank.
2. Oil is a good idea, especially if the mower has not been started in over 6 months.
3. If you are not bagging your clippings, the mower will get bogged down in high grass. Take measures to dump out or shake out excess grass which accumulates under the blades. This can also be accomplished by a reverse motion now and again during the mowing process.
4. Drink lots of water. Don’t underestimate the intensity of the mowing workout and its propensity to deprive you of liquids. I think I sweated off about 10 pounds of my body’s water. I certainly felt drained when I was done.
5. It is HARD to start the mower’s engine while the mower is resting on the grass. Move to the sidewalk or driveway to give yourself a better chance of success.
6. WEAR WORK GLOVES when mowing for any extended period of time. I have blisters all over my poor hands.
7. Don’t try to cut the yard to a drastically low height when dealing with tall grass. You will stall repeatedly and become very frustrated. So will your mower.
8. If your husband or some other beloved individual usually takes care of the time-consuming and exhausting (at least in Texas heat!) task of mowing your yard, don’t forget to hug their neck and tell them how much you appreciate it!! And make sure to fix them a cool, refreshing drink when they are finished!

By way of postscript, the children were so good while I completed the mowing job. They stayed indoors, watched their movie, kept themselves out of trouble (yes, yes, I checked on them regularly) and as a special treat, were rewarded with an afternoon of splashing in our wading pool instead of having to take naps. Two and a half hours of hard playing ensured that they were exhausted by the time 7pm rolled around, so while they sleep, Jay and I are enjoying an in house date night! Later!

4 Comments

  1. angie
    May 29, 2004

    WOW!! Good impressive job, T! I’m actually more impressed that you could stay awake for a date night after all that exhausting, perspiring work!

    One other thing…you are the second person (the first being your sister-in-law) to post a small bit about a wading pool. I think the Lord may be trying to tell me something (i.e., I need one of these). To Walmart!

  2. Chris
    May 29, 2004

    Date? I think I remember those :) My father in law felt sorry for me when he was here two weeks ago, watching me mow over 1/2 acre with a push mower. So, on his way out of town, he stopped at Sears and bought a riding mower and had it delivered after he was safely back in FL where I couldn’t argue with him.

    Not that I would have argued! I actually looked forward to mowing this morning.

  3. Uncle Andrew
    May 30, 2004

    I already told Tricia this, but the reading public deserves to know that for a first-time mowing job, she did an a-MAZ-ing bit of husbandry, especially for that yard. A couple of missed patches showed up the next day, but in my mowing experience that always happens the first few times you work on a new lawn.

  4. Tricia
    Jun 5, 2004

    Angie, you are a dear to send such glowing praise my way. Wading Pools do seem to be the wave of the summer. (heh-heh) Leslie has also posted a bit about theirs.

    Chris, congrats on your new mower. I do feel for you mowing 1/2 acre with a pusher. Have fun riding!!

    Andrew, thanks for helping me get the silly machine started and for your kind words. I agree about the missed patches..could it be that when the lawn is wet, you get more of those by virtue of the grass being smashed down some by moisture? Maybe I need to add that to my “lessons learned”!