Monday, September 13, 2010

Is something wrong with your lawnmower?

If my neighbor had asked my wife that question today, I think her response would have been: No.  He's a little lazy sometimes but he still works.  (For those not catching the joke, it would be Karen calling ME her "lawnmower.")

But she didn't ask Karen, she asked me ... after seeing me struggle to push it back and forth again and again, stopping and starting the engine multiple times, while cutting the grass in the front yard.  She misunderstood what was happening, but I thought it was very nice of her to be concerned.  So I stopped and did my best to explain the situation she was seeing.  But first, a little background ...

There are many different arguments about what to do with your lawn once the fall season is upon us.  Some swear you have to water it until the first snowfall, others say the watering never stops.  Some say you need to fertilize every holiday, others believe fertilizer is a scam and does nothing for the hardy grasses most of us have nowadays.  Some say you should leave the grass at a reasonable length, while others argue that it should be cut very short a few weeks before the end of the growing season so it can begin to hibernate for the winter.  It can be very confusing and even so-called "experts" differ in opinions widely.

I am a believer in watering until the first snow falls (or if the grass is as yellow as the leaves of trees in the neighborhood).  I am a believer in fertilizing every holiday during the summer and haven't bothered in years with winter or spring fertilizer.  How different can the compositions of these chemicals really be?  Does the grass really know the difference?  Hey Blade, you're not gonna eat that "summer weed and feed" are ya?  It ain't no good for you after Labor day ya know.   Or perhaps it would be a married couple and the wife says "The Lawn Doctor said too much of this stuff will kill you!  Don't you care about our little sprouts?!"  I am also a believer in leaving the grass longer during the growing season (3-4 inches still looks very nice) but chopping it very short just before the real end of summer.  Then watering the heck out of it for a few weeks (optimally) until the first snow begins to fall.

So back to my inquisitive neighbor: Amanda is her name.  Her husband is a really nice guy named Chad and they have a 3-year old boy named Ian whom Catalina just adores (she had to hug him goodbye when she walked to preschool today and then gave him a kiss on his cheek.  He wiped it off as soon as she turned around.  Adorable!)

I explained to her that I was cutting the grass very short and probably should have cut it to a medium height and then down again afterward, but I was feeling lazy.  Thus every 4 to 10 steps I had to stop and empty the bag and I also walked the lawnmower forward and then backed it up just slightly before pushing forward again with every new section of grass I mowed.  I have to say that after shaving it down, it looked really good!
Not our house ...
but the lawn looks similar.
I was so impressed that I ran over it a second time in the opposite diagonal direction so it looked like a baseball outfield.  I drenched it immediately after mowing (and then later again this evening at dusk after giving the same haircut to the backyard).  I am proud of my lawn and it was a huge pleasure for me to just enjoy the way it looked as the sun set over the front range.  If I had been smarter (or more boastful) I would have taken pictures, but just picture a beautifully manicured lawn and dial it down a few notches and you'll have an idea of how mediocre (but nice for me) it looked.

Hopefully this will be my last lawn-mowing of 2010.  Next year I plan to service my lawnmower before the start of the season (sharpen the blades, replace the oil and spark plug(s), etc.) and I hope we will enjoy each other's company for years to come.  But I wouldn't cry if someone replaced her with a self-propelled drive train ... mechanical or in the form of one of my sons ... I'm not picky !

1 comment:

  1. You made some very good points about lawn mowing in the fall, which got me thinking about if I still want to mow our lawn on Thursday...I'm thinking, nope!