Mowing

August 21, 2021

Since it was a relatively cool morning, I decided to tackle one of the items on my to-do list, mowing the lawn.  Like most simple chores, mowing the lawn requires more than just mowing the lawn.  I generally feel obligated to do at least some preliminary weeding.  I have found if I weed a bed or two before mowing, I can convince myself I have gotten something done without feeling obligated to take on the entire yard.  The same is true for weed eating.  I always start with the intention of going all the way around the house, then hitting the sidewalks, drains, and curbs.  Even on a cooler (heat index 96F) day like today I seem to get distracted about halfway through the job.  If I come back to the weed eater and it does not start, I assume it is telling me it has had enough for the day and dutifully put it in the garage.  Somehow, I always manage to get the front, street, and north side of the house finished.  Since this is the only lawn others can see, it is a nice place to call it good.

When I looked online, I found the Middle English word “launde” originally referred to a glade or opening in the woods, but later designated artificial stretches of land that resembled such glades.  The earliest lawns were the grasslands around medieval castles in France and Britain which were kept clear of trees, so guards had an unobstructed view of approaching (hostile) visitors.  The term also referred to the village “commons” where villagers could graze their sheep and cattle.  Closely mowing grass lawns first emerged in 17th century England at the homes of wealthy landowners.  While sheep often still did the mowing, landowners increasingly depended on human labor to tend the grass closest to their homes.  Before lawnmowers, only the rich could afford to hire the hands needed to scythe and weed the grass.  A lawn was a mark of wealth and status.  Now my zero-turn riding mower provides the same status.

As I was working on weed eating the back of the house it began to sprinkle.  I had waited until late morning to allow the grass to dry from last night’s light rain.  With the high humidity I was already damp, so I figured it would not hurt to ride the mower in the drizzle.  I put up the weed eater and moved to the mower.  It only takes 20 minutes of mowing to finish the job with my riding lawn mower.  I had set the deck on a high setting since I figured I would need to weed the beds early next week and would again be mowing.  As the drizzle continued the grass began to get wet and clumped on my lawn rather than mulching.  While I hate the “mowed hay” look, I figured it would not be long before I did it again.  While the rain did make me damp, I was not sure it was any worse than the humidity.   

Thoughts:  I have mentioned that I like the calm provided while mowing on a riding mower.  I usually put in my music headphones and don the noise dampening headphones I received with my chain saw.  It creates a pleasant oasis in the chaos of the day while I ride around mowing.  Melissa mentioned that since our neighbor retired, he has replaced his steering-wheel mower with a new zero-turn unit to do the mowing for the three yards he has in our cul-de-sac.  Once you buy a zero-turn you will never go back to mowing the old way.  During the pandemic we have found that even as things reopen, we are not able to go back to the old way of doing things.  It is predicted that will not change until at least 2022.  Others ask why we want to go back to the old way.  Wearing masks resulted in fewer cases of colds and flu.  Follow the science.  Change is coming and it starts with you.

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