Adventures in Country Mowing

by admin | July 30, 2021 6:35 am

Our move into the country was completed last Friday. Unpacking and arranging will take a while, likely weeks, to get everything in its proper place, pictures hung, etc. The first order of business on Saturday was mowing the approximately five acres of Bahia grass that surrounds our house and back toward the woods. A zero-turn mower was delivered on Friday, a 54-inch Bad Boy. Yup, that’s the name of it. It fits.

A zero-turn mower, often used by yard-maintenance crews, doesn’t have a steering wheel. Instead it has two levers to operate with your hands to go forward, backward and turn. It takes a little getting used to but quickly becomes instinctive. The fellow who sold me the mower, purchased new, gave a great piece of advice, both for mowing and life. “Don’t look down,” he said. “Look toward where you’re going.” The mower can cut a tight circle around a tree in the pasture, which is what this massive front yard will become once it is completely fenced. That Bad Boy reverses course on a dime. But until we can acquire grass-eating critters, mowing awaits us weekly until late fall.

Luckily, both my Beautiful Mystery Companion and I like to mow, especially on a contraption with such a[1] cool name. I took the first shift, chugging through nearly thigh-high grass, thanks to rare July rains, and the seller wisely deciding a few weeks ago that mowing was now my problem. This was almost certainly the toughest mowing we’ll do. I plowed forth, sending gales of shorn grass out the chute.

I wasn’t sure where the boundary between our property and our neighbors was since there is no fence at present. I recalled a power pole as a marker on the survey and decided that would suffice. After a half-dozen swaths, I noticed an orange ribbon tied to the cross fence and realized I had mowed about 20 yards of their land. I’m sure they appreciated our neighborliness. It isn’t likely someone is going to complain about me mowing their grass for free.

As I made my way around the perimeter, I was cautious to avoid the bar ditch filled with water after a hard rain the afternoon before. I figured that one more pass along its edge would suffice. I was wrong and stuck that Bad Boy ankle deep in mud. Total mowing time at this point: about 20 minutes. A crew was finishing up installing a black chain-link fence on a small portion of our backyard to keep our ankle-biting dogs safe from coyotes and other critters. As they finished, one of the guys said, “I noticed your mower is stuck. We can pull you out.”

This is the best part of living in the country, as I noticed years before while living outside the city limits. It truly is a different mindset. Folks are friendlier, less officious, more willing to help. We almost certainly have different politics and beliefs than most of the folks we encounter, but those issues don’t come into play. It is a more pleasant way to live, in my view. The fence guys pulled me out with a canvas strap tied to a truck bumper, and I resumed mowing.

My BMC came back from town and took over mowing duties. I gave her a quick lesson, and she was off and running. She caught on far more quickly than I did, and soon was flying around the acreage, mowing down the Bahia grass. Alas, like me, she got a bit too ambitious and stuck the mower in the wet portion. I went to town and bought a come-along winch. Our daughter’s boyfriend and I pulled it out with the come-along and a canvas strap attached to our ancient Ford Escape hybrid.

Meanwhile, I began trimming with a freshly purchased weed whacker, having realized my old in-town trimmer was inadequate for the job. The lawn and garden store folks down the road really like me these days. Back home, I looked down at my legs and realized that wearing shorts and no sunscreen on my legs was a serious error. The tops of my knees down to my ankle were beet-red. My BMC took a break from mowing, saw my plight, and ordered me to cut a blade of aloe vera from the plants plopped down under some trees, awaiting proper placement.

I came back with a piece of cactus that was not aloe vera, prompting a reprimand. Heck, cactus all looks the same to me. I returned to the site, found the aloe vera and slathered it on my legs. It is a miracle worker, instantly relieving my pain. I had to do this for several days but am largely healed.

Meanwhile, my BMC stuck the mower again, outpacing me in the hobby farmer mishap department. I plan to catch up soon, not that we’re keeping score.

  1. [Image]:

Source URL: