Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Hitched a ride on a monkey's back

Source
I realized last night that I'm actually walking The Walk except I'm doing it behind the push mower. With incremental changes, I'm becoming the conservationist I mean to be. The most recent change came when our fifteen year old mower gave out. We replaced it with a reel push mower.

Because our house sits on a lot that is big and hilly, I hated mowing with the heavy, loud power push mower. To cover its roar, I'd crank up my iPod so loud that my ears would ring for hours after. When the mower finally quit for good, I did not mourn it. I thanked it for its service and started looking for reel mowers on the internet.

One of the benefits of the reel mower is the dandy little sound it makes. I doesn't rattle my teeth or make my hands go numb from vibration. It's tinny, almost musical. Old School. Sometimes I pretend it's a lovely day in 1952 and I've got nothing else to worry about but the wild prosperity that's ahead for the American middle class.

Last night my mind was on magpie overdrive calculating the number of calories I was burning and trying to figure out if it was 462 or 642 degrees so I used my iPod for distraction while I mowed. The little shuffle is a mashup of songs ranging from screamo to Smetana. At one point, a raft of 90s music came on and I lost myself in the music as I pushed the mower in a square that grew smaller and smaller.

Dada's Dizz Knee Land came on and I was transported to 1992.

A neighbor drove by and honked his horn and gave me a thumbs up, tugging me back from my reverie. I gave him two thumbs up back and he stopped. "Now that's something you don't see every day," he said through his open window.

"This mower? Yeah, we just got it when our old power mower finally gave out. I'll never run out of gas with this thing."

He looked down at the mower. "Oh. Well, that's okay I guess, but I was talking about your air guitar solo."

24 comments:

  1. Not really any wit, but I laud your use of human powered lawn care. I've been using a "push" mower for some years.

    (Shift Lock) I REALLY HATE THE SOUND OF GASOLINE POWERED LAWN MOWERS.

    Everybody else-It's really not that hard and saves you from having to go to the Gym.

    Think about how much more fun it is to put fuel into a human powered lawn mowing system than it is to put fuel into a gasoline powered system.

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  2. Well that's better than the comment I got from my elderly neighbor one time when I was using our reel mower: "What are ya -- trying to lose weight?"

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  3. Rock and Roll! I love push mowers. The whirring sound they make as they do their job. Okay...you're doing most of the work which is probably why they're so happily whirring but still...it beats the horrible sound and the smell of a power mower.

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  4. You are so cool. My air guitar is not awesome. I am a little jealous of your push mower and would love to know which one you chose.

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  5. Hah! I'll take my 16hp riding mower which cuts a 42" wide cut any day over a push mower. Obviously those liking the manual ones don't have big yards, tall grass or don't live on hillsides.

    Besides, my tractor/mower has a cup holder.

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  6. Sweet air guitar - awesome. My dad had one of those mowers when we lived in an old farmhouse in Blue Earth, MN

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  7. I always hated the gas powered mowers. We have an electric one at home but up at our cabin we have a push mower. We used it all last summer when the grass that the contractor had planted after they drilled the well came up like gangbusters. This year, unfortunately, the whole area is now home to what I am euphemistically calling a "meadow" - lots of tall flowering weeds - and the push mower would be no match for it. So we're going back to nature up there, which is fine with me! But I did like that push mower - great exercise, with or without music and air guitar!

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  8. Wish I was physically capable of using a reel mower, but I'm nearly 60 and opted from a battery-operated mower (Neuton). I was able to mow last summer, but the heat got to me this year, been 100 too often! Got neighbor guy to do my mowing with my mower, which means it is cheap due to him using my equipment. The Neuton is quiet compared to gas-powered push mowers -- and don't have to bother/buy gas.

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  9. Ahhh, the quiet of that push mower. And the calories to be burned! You get the Smart Sister award, Lisa.

    Play that air guitar the way it was meant to be played!

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  10. I challenge you to an air guitar duel.

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  11. Congratulations and smart move on the mower. Much easier on the ears. Perhaps you will start a trend, air guitar or not.

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  12. If we had less than an acre to mow, I might consider such a contraption. As it is, while I know it isn't green, our Husqvarna ride mower does what needs to be done over our expansive property.

    I envy you, though.

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  13. Don't you know real Amerkans ride their mowers? I think it must be a North American thing because it appears a lot of Canadians do so too. It's weird to see guys with beer bellies and big behinds riding around the parks while the all girl crews (lithe, slim and healthy) who do the actual planting, weeding and trimming work. Lawn mowers, leaf blowers, power hedge trimmers, and in the winter, snow blowers make for a cacophony unimagined in the quiet 1950's. No wonder we'd prefer to go back now and then. Then you could air guitar Elvis.

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  14. My favorite in this post: "screamo to Smetana." I think that goes a long way.

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  15. I love this scene. I usually garden in my bikini but not if the neighbour's tractor is within coo-ee.

    I will have to investigate your chic and vintage form of lawn care. I detest mowing and I think my own machine is about to kick the bucket.

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  16. Our house in Omaha had a fairly small yard, so we bought a reel type push mower. Turned out the grass did not like being cut by a reel mower. Would have to go over some areas several times and it still didn't cut right. Was given a gas powered push mower and the reel mower gathered dust in the garage until being sold at the moving yard sale.

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  17. Ha! Thanks for the smile. It was so needed right about now.

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  18. lately I've been launching my canoe at an RV campgrounds(it's known as the party campgrounds, mostly people in their thirties) along the Maumee River. a brisk walk would traverse the whole thing in ten minutes. parked on three-fourths or more of the campsites, a golf cart.

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  19. I live in Western Oregon. It's pretty & green, but that is because we get an average rainfall of about 52 inches. During half the year it is a real crap shoot about finding a break in the rain & a window when the grass is not too sopping wet to mow... that means the grass can get ahead of us & grow taller. Some kind of power mower is needed to tackle this corner lot.
    Honestly-- we dream of a place w natural landscapes, and rock gardens when we retire.
    No mowing & no #$%#$% hedges.
    We have a solid wall of Laurel hedge in the back yard. We do not water or fertilize it or in any way encourage it to grow.... yet is has a secret plan to take over the world!
    It yields about 22 yard bags of clippings every year. Requires a ladder to trim the top.
    Major pain in the ass. My son dubbed it "the f@#king hedge", he suggested we use a blow torch to trim it!

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  20. Rock on, sister. (No, really. In the desert we have rocks instead of grass. Not easy on the air guitarist.)

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  21. we had a mower similar to th eone in the picture when I was small.

    The choice on your ipod looks as varied as mine. Giggled at the thought of you getting caught playing air guitar.

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  22. hahahaha! That's my kind of mowing. (And I'm talking about the guitar solo).

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  23. I must find a "push" mower like yours. I'm so afraid of petrol powered lawn mowers. Hate them.

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