The Lawnmower Chronicles – Episode 7

The house lawn has been mowed one-and-a-half times, and the land lawn once since the last episode. In the meantime we went to Chicago to visit our son, the semester started up, and all shows for the season have been cast. Today will combine some relaxation with some yard pick-up, but no mowing.

The reason that I mowed 1.5 times is because, before leaving for Chicago, I only mowed the front yard. I left the back yard for the next time, mowing the front to keep up appearances. The front yard is actually coming along nicely in terms of some of the repairs made earlier in the spring. I filled in and re-seeded the area where the manlift came in to replace the tinning on the soffets, as well as making the whole area even from when the water line was replaced a few years ago. The grass there is newer and grows more rapidly, but at the very least I can now move the lawnmower evenly across that area. It makes mowing much simpler. The back yard got a bit long and deep, and two summer rainstorms made the lower area on the lawn’s east side a bit damp, but eventually, and with patience, we are now on the same schedule for front and back.

The land presented a different challenge. The Snapper rider up there became somewhat finicky for reasons I could not fathom. It would start out well, but after running a bit would cut out and die. After experiencing this three or four times, I decided to replace the spark plug, hoping that this simple fix would help. I am not 100% sure that it did, since after replacing the plug the same thing happened a few times. But then after a few more stalls and re-starts, the mower began to run without stopping, and I had no further incidents. Perhaps the last ounce of old gas had run through (although I had emptied the tank and put in fresh gas earlier this summer), or maybe the gods of lawnmowing had mercy on me, but once it kicked in I was able to get the front section mowed completely. I left the section behind the tree line alone, as I chose instead to tempt fate and mow a path south to my second undeveloped location.

Admittedly I abuse this lawnmower, which says something about my relationship with machines. I wanted to open up a section of the property that was completely overgrown and should really be handled with a brush hog. I had a hand weed whacker to get started, but the area was too large, so I whacked open a small passage and began slowly to cut into the high weeds, with the mower at the highest level. I was lucky enough to get a small section fairly cleared out and open up some small paths. I had a gravel pad built in that area right by the tree line, and the RV is currently sitting on that pad, but the surrounding area is really not  cleared and set up for any type of camping. The underbrush is too deep, and there are far too many brambles and stickerbushes up in there. But to the west of that area is a very beautiful woods, the best woods on the property, and I would love to be able to enjoy that section of the land. Hence the attempt to open up this area a bit. I know I won’t be completely successful this fall, but perhaps getting a start will help move things along easier come next spring.

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The lawns grow more slowly now. With the opening of the academic year I announced to the department at its opening meeting that this will be my final year as chair of the department, so I am now “on the clock.” Everything I do now as chair until June 30 will be “the last time” I do it. I have begun to feel an affinity with the slowly growing grass as fall approaches. The grass grows, but more slowly. I get my job done, but I move more slowly through it. There will be plenty of nice warm autumn days ahead, but there will be less light. I still have a good deal of energy to get my job done, but I get tired more quickly. Autumn, my lawns, and I have much in common as the mowing season comes to a close.

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