Saturday, May 23, 2015

Last of the Lawnbenders

Last summer I learned to use my dad's riding lawn mower.  Well, 'learned' might be stretching it a bit.  I became acquainted with Dad's lawn mower.
The first time I used it, I was happily mowing his front yard and was almost done when he flagged me down.
"You know, you're not really cutting the grass - you're just bending it.  You need to raise the rpms."  And he walked away.
Bending?  I looked back, and sure enough, my wake was a little tufty looking.  Downright scruffy in places.
But rpms?  What rpms?  And how do you raise them?
This was like telling a beginning baker that the cake didn't raise because there wasn't enough leavening.  Leavening?  What's that?  And how much is enough?
So, later, after some judicious questioning about rpms, I established that I needed to give it more gas.  Since there's no gas pedal, I have to give it more 'throttle' by raising a lever from down where the turtle is to up more towards the bunny.
Which would sound less crazy if I show you a picture:

That's actually a picture of a newer and fancier throttle lever than we have (there's a knob!), but you get the idea.
So naturally, for the rest of the summer, whenever I was headed for the mower, I would announce that I was off to bend the lawn.  (I've never been one who could resist a chance to be a smartass.  It's probably a character flaw.)
The other lawn I mow is down at The Flat, which is a family property about a quarter mile down the road, that I'm currently using for my sewing room and storage.  It's an interesting lawn, with trees and bushes and deadfall limbs and rope swings and mild inclines and a clothesline, and any number of other traps and pitfalls.  Literally, there's a pitfall.  It's a hole deep enough to get a riding mower stuck in so that you can't go forward or back and have to call your dad for help.  (Ask me how I know.)
This spring was pretty wet, with long soaking rains happening every time the lawn finally dried out enough to mow.  Finally, there was a stretch of a couple of dry days, so I bustled the mower down the road and started mowing, just in the nick of time - another hour and we'd have had to have a haying crew in...
So round and round I went, through grass 12-18" tall, past trees, under clotheslines, halfway over small logs (oops).  I was just congratulating myself on remembering where the hole was and mowing around it instead of through it, and "yay!  I won't have to call Dad to come rescue me", when the mower suddenly made a brrr-slither-chunk! noise, belched some black smoke, and died.
I said words.  Then I climbed down to investigate.
Hidden in the deep dark grass was a really long garden hose, and the mower had tried to inhale it.
Now everything probably would have been fine if it had been a crappy inexpensive garden hose.  The mower would have just turned it into orange confetti and gone merrily on its way.


But no.  This was a tough, top-quality, made to last a lifetime type garden hose, so it just wound around and around and around until it jammed the mower blade and gave the mower a small stroke.

Here's a closer view of the wound-up part.  The pics are taken of the hose after my Dad cut it loose and we threw all the bits into the back of his truck.

Because, yeah, I had to call Dad to come rescue me again.


Wanderingcatstudio said...

That's what Dad's are made for - rescuing!

I've always loved how mowers and small tractors have the turtle/bunny icons.

Judy said...

And when my car wouldn't start I would call Dad. Then I would run out to the car and make sure the top of the battery and posts were clean. Because that was the first thing he would check. ; >)

I wonder if our fathers realized when they first held us as cute little bundles of love, how much sighing was going to be involved as we got older?

kmkat said...

Love it! I have never done anything like that with a mower but have sucked up any number of stringy things with the vacuum that required DH to fix. (Dad is long gone; I have to rely on Smokey.) Eventually I learned how to take the vacuum apart far enough to extract the [insert stringy thing title] by myself. Damned stringy things.

constance blizzard said...

I'm reminded of a possible urban legend about George Jones and Tammy Wynette, or maybe two country music people of equal caliber. Let's assume it's George and Tammy-- George was drinking a lot at the time, and Tammy hid the keys to all his fancy cars and trucks, and flushed all his booze in an effort to dry him out. He, in a drunken fit, slammed the door and went out to the garage to do manly things, or so she thought. A while later, she heard the lawnmower start up, and saw him drive, at full lawnmower speed, down the road, in the general direction of the liquor store.

I don't know if they had to get their dads involved, but I mention in case you need other uses for your new mad skills.