Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Cut The Grass

We scatter it. Feed it. Water it. Curse it. Some even lay it. Dogs use it. Kids use it. Adults mostly just look at it. The preferred colour is green, though it comes in blue and sometimes red.

It’s the pride of suburbia - personal landscaping - the yard, the lawn, the grass! some of you thought I'd been “smoking the grass” when I said it comes in the colours "blue" and "red" besides contraire! Kentucky is quite famous for it's "Bluegrass" and out here in the arid west "Red Fescue" is a preferred grass to add to the seed mixture because of its great drought resistance.

As a young boy I had an intimate relationship with a lot of grass...I started mowing my family's lawn when I was eight. The next year I was able to snag a couple of the neighbor's lawns and started my own lawn-service. The next summer and on for the next 4 to 5 years I was mowing 6-10 lawns a week. Our yard was about two acres, middle of the pack for our neighborhood which ran from 1 to 5 acres, and the extra lawns earned this kid a more than tidy sum over the summer. I started with a big cumbersome Sears self-propelled gas mower. On the lower half of the hillside the homes were in a swath of Aspen groves which had to be mowed through and around the trees. The big old Sears self-propelled mower did pull itself across the open part of yards, but was heavy and difficult to maneuver in the trees, so I got a light-weight Toro gas mower, no self-propel, and with a narrower cutting path, I think it weighed half that of old Sears. Even though I had to do all the pushing the new Toro turned out to be much faster for cutting all the lawns.

When I bought my own home, I had a much smaller yard, only about a quarter acre of grass. I chose for my mower one of the new modern "reel" type manual push mowers. Very light weight, blades are semi-self-sharpening, no gas needed, and very quiet...just a swoosh of the spinning blades as they neatly "cut" the grass. The "reel" type of mower is the only one that actually "cuts" the grass, the typical mower whips, shreds, and bruises your grass causing it brown on the tips. These modern reel mowers are very easy to push, just walk with arms out-stretched and it glides over the grass, sort of like pushing a shopping cart down the aisle. Without the noise and fumes of the gas mower, I found mowing the grass with the reel mower to be a time of almost silent contemplation or meditation, and didn’t bother the neighbors if I mowed at dawn to beat the heat.

So how do you take care of your patch of grass?

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