Relative Something

*this* John W. Hays' take on things and experiences

Posts Tagged ‘reel mower

Cutting Grass

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Sure, I spent most of Friday mowing the hay-field, and then Saturday I mowed the lawn, but those two projects were easy compared to the work involved in cutting the overgrown grass in the labyrinth on Sunday. The growth since Cyndie last mowed was as thick as it was long. Seriously, I wondered if maybe she had skipped parts of it, because it was hard to imagine that much growth in such a short time.DSCN5013e

I paused for a photo when there was just a small strip left, just like we had done out on the hay-field.

Because it was so long, I was using our power trimmer to do the cutting. When possible, we use a reel mower that just fits between the rocks. At the rate things grow around here, I’m thinking we should keep our eyes out for reel mower with an engine to see if we can find one that would still fit the narrow path.

We would like to keep the grass cut putting-green short.

In a surprising shift from my previous mindset of being small-gas-engine-averse, we have had enough luck with the power equipment we have acquired thus far, that I am much more willing to consider the idea now.

There are just too many acres to manage and too many tasks that need to get done, to rely too heavily on human-power (even if it’s still my preference).

It helps that I have grown accustomed to wearing hearing protection, which takes the edge off.

That said, I still refuse to use a blower to clear leaves or clean sidewalks and driveways. Ain’t gonna happen.

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Written by johnwhays

August 9, 2016 at 6:00 am

Comes Around

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Last year, when I was home full-time, I often looked forward to the moment when Cyndie would arrive home from work and cruise up the driveway where she could see the results of my day’s effort on some project or another. Of course, this only worked if she made it home before dark, which is a tough thing to do during the period when the sun sets before 5:00 in the afternoon.

Sadly, more often than not, I would need to prompt for some feedback, and the response tended to reveal that she hadn’t noticed a thing. After the long commute, just reaching the driveway safely becomes the primary milestone of note, which tends to swamp the senses and blur specific details that may have been noteworthy.

Yesterday, after I pulled up the driveway, I did see the horses grazing in the hay-field nearby, but after that, pretty much a blur. I found Delilah waiting on the other side of the door, as I walked into the house, but no Cyndie. After a wonderfully happy greeting from our dog, I watched her move to the doors beside the fireplace which provide a view beyond our deck to the back yard hill that slopes down to the labyrinth garden.

With no leaves on the trees, it was easy to spot Cyndie pushing the reel mower on the path of the labyrinth. Delilah anxiously followed her master’s every move in the distance. That dog really bonds with the person who is home with her all day.

When Cyndie eventually made her way back up to the house, she promptly asked me how the place looked when I pulled in.

Busted.

I hadn’t noticed all the work she had labored to accomplish on her own while I was away. I felt awful to have missed it, and I gained a new appreciation for what it was like for her last year, before our roles became reversed.

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Written by johnwhays

November 3, 2015 at 7:00 am

Oil Averse

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reel-mower-1Those of you who know me are likely aware of my past aversions to gas-powered engines. My favorite tool of all time has been my trusty Scotts 20-inch reel mower. I couldn’t part with it when we moved, and now we have found it to be the perfect tool for mowing the path of our labyrinth. But, alas, a 20 acre ranch with horses, that has a quarter-mile-long driveway, in a region that gets significant snow accumulations, calls for the power of an engine.

We do have some engines here. We bought the New Holland diesel tractor with a front loader and a back blade, plus the brush cutter. Then we have a Craftsman riding lawn mower tractor. We even added a back up generator that has a motor that requires periodic oil changes. It came with a spare filter, thank you very much. The classic reminder that I have another device that will require occasional oil changes.

Long, long ago, I gave up changing the oil in my cars. I pay someone else to do that for me, and I find it worth every penny, …oops, make that dollar. But how do you get someone to change the oil/fluids in your tractor? Drive it to a Jiffy Lube? That might be possible for the diesel. It’s got a gear for driving on the highway. But the lawn mower? I think not. And our generator is a permanent installation here, so that’s not going anywhere. I’m going to have to start servicing my own engines.

So, as long as I’ve got to start servicing fuel-burning engines, what’s one more?

That Craftsman lawn mower is the machine Cyndie has taken to for all manner of bushwhacking our fields, doing heavy mowing, and hauling with our pull-behind trailer. It has performed admirably, but she is frequently trying to coerce it to do things beyond the scope of its intended use. If she hadn’t gotten that pickup, I think she would be driving the lawn mower to Fleet Farm to fill the trailer with merchandise.

YamahaGrizzlyWell, now she won’t have a reason to get that tractor stuck in our fields anymore. Last night we made a deal on a used ATV with a plow blade. It will become the primary workhorse for navigating the far reaches of our woods and fields, hauling firewood, raking the paddocks, dragging the round pen, and even plowing snow in winter.

Now the poor old Craftsman can go back to just being a lawn mower for our yard.

Luckily, our new ATV came with an aftermarket service manual, so I can learn how to do all of the maintenance myself. Is changing oil anything like doing a software update? The time is coming for me to make peace with getting my hands dirty with oil.

Written by johnwhays

November 5, 2013 at 7:00 am