Monday, May 31, 2010

The Green

Well, I just gave the lawn mower a tune up, which in my case means a quick coat of WD-40 and a gentle torque of the cutting adjustment screws. That's right, even without a picture you guessed that I'm mowing with an old fashioned reel mower.

This, however, is not your grandad's push mower. While that old hunk you may have pushed around as a kid was made of cast iron and maple, the new breed is exceedingly light and when sharp does one heck of a job on your lawn. I find that I can mow my whole lawn faster than with a self propelled gas model because I'm not limited to one speed, and it also seems easier to push and has the added benefit of being nearly silent. (With a not-so-quiet roll of the eyeballs toward all my neighbors that seem to want to rev their tiny engines during naptime on the weekends.)

My current method takes four days to cut the grass, but less than an hour each day. I divided the lawn into four sections. Each one takes about half an hour to mow and another half hour to rake. The clippings go in the chicken pens or on the garden. And while it may seem dreadfully archaic to rake one's lawn in the age of mulching mowers, don't forget that for my efforts I also remove nearly all sharp objects like nut shells and such from the path of tiny feet.

The real benefit though is that I'm getting a full body cardio workout four days a week. And it spreads out an odious chore so that I don't wind up huffing and puffing after a long slog behind the Toro feeling like I just wasted two and a half hours of my life. AND... in addition to whipping myself back into shape, I'm saving about $25 per mow (that would be $20 to hire a neighborhood kid and $5 in fuel) by doing it myself the old fashioned way. That's about $400 over the course of the summer.

For people with small yards it's almost a no-brainer to get one of these things. Picture ditching that roaring monster and all the gas, oil, smog and repair bills that go along with it. Greens tenders will tell you that a reel mower is better for your lawn too, it actually cuts the blades as opposed to just basically bashing the tops off. Anyway, that's enough plugging for the Crunchy Granola life style. Just felt like puttin that out there.

I have received no compensation from the reel mower industry for my writing.

I would also like to point out that unlike internal combustion powered mowers, my manual model starts on the first pull (er... push) every time.



Irish Gumbo said...

I went halfway there, bought an electric rechargeable version. Toyed with a reel push mower for all the same reasons, I like them, but my yard is big for one person, slopes and has some bumpy spots. I may still get one, though, for the small areas. Definitely worth it for not having gas and oil and noise and fumes!

Coelecanth said...

It's also worth noting that gas mowers have no emission controls on them. They produce more pollution per run time than a full sized car.

A lot of your reasoning here is exactly why I commute on a bicycle. The main factor being that I don't have to make time to exercise, it's built right into my daily life. Or, as I'm fond of saying to those who think I'm a hopeless greenie: I ride because I like cake.

Pamela said...

I totally should ride my bike, because I like cake, too.