I’ve always wondered who invented the lawn. Regular wide-open areas are covered in woods and underbrush or two-foot-tall prairie grass – or they were (now it’s mainly suburbs).
Then in front of houses, you have two choices: garden or lawn.
I’ve often been in favor of having a massive garden on a city lot (my miniscule green thumb notwithstanding). At least they have pretty flowers. A lawn is just a boring unbroken swath of green.
Yet here I am, the new homeowner with a medium-small city lot and the lawn that goes with it. It even has a devil’s strip.
So I bought a lawnmower. I had thought about getting a gas mower – no cord required (and I get enough of cords vacuuming). There isn’t anywhere to plug an electric mower in on two to three sides of the house, anyway. On the other hand, I’ve rarely had more than a 50% success rate getting my dad’s gas push mower started. Mind you, I’m not talking about starting it on the first try. I’m saying at all. (I usually coaxed my brother into coming out to start it for me.)
And then my cousin talked me into a reel mower (otherwise known as, mower-whose-only-power-is-you-pushing). I had to use a reel mower at least two summers back home, somewhere there in high school/college. I did not like the reel mower. In fact, I hated it. It usually left the grass a bit scraggly , and I had to take extra passes over what I’d already mowed because the grass was so long. (Yes, we kids tended to procrastinate on the mowing.) And that’s not even considering the roughly one-inch width of each pass… Well, anyway, it was so narrow I had to make about twice as many passes with it as with the old gas mower
Not that the gas mower would start. I’m talking about a best-of-all-worlds situation here.
But, my cousin said, the blades on a reel mower are great if they’re sharp! They cut the grass so cleanly! You don’t have to power it with gas or anything and there’s no motor to fiddle with!
So I reconsidered, noted that my lawn is significantly smaller than my folks’, considered the chances that I’d ever get a gas mower started, and decided to give a reel mower another shot.
This is where online shopping websites come in handy. I had no intention of ordering a mower online – I had waited too long to buy one already – but at least I could find out which mowers were rated more highly by both amateurs and professionals.
So I settled on a reel mower available at a local store and bought it Monday. A 20-inch one – just as wide as the gas push mowers I’d originally thought of getting. And far better than a 16-inch average reel mower.
After putting the handle together (piece of cake), I tackled the back yard. The grass was pretty high back there so I had to make a couple of passes in several spots… make that more than half the yard… to get the grass cut. But it did get cut.
I noticed my forehead getting really hot when I was about halfway done with the front yard. And then I realized I’d imbibed exactly 0 cups of water so far that day. That’s when I beelined it to the kitchen for lots of water and a banana.
Properly refreshed, I finished the last of the lawn and headed inside. And it really did look mowed when I checked it through the kitchen window (while drinking yet another glass of water).