Saturday, April 26, 2008

"Reel" Genius

Mowing with a reel lawnmower is kind of a lesson in resetting expectations. For every good thing about it (and there are plenty), there are adjustments that have to be made...a new level of patience to be attained...and, truthfully, an exercise in problem solving. I think there's a whole metaphor here that I'm not feeling pretentious enough to actually make...a sort of zen and the art of lawn maintenance kind of lesson...but that's all I'll say about that.

The mower is actually pretty great! It's quiet...makes only a satisfying sort of swishing sound as it moves. It's fairly clean...and I don't miss yanking the starter cord of my old gas mower. I'm not paying $3.60 a gallon for gas and I get a nice little workout every time I mow. Also? It's low-tech enough that I didn't mind having the Monkey "help" me mow the other night... He's not quite big enough to manage it on his own yet, but he got a kick out of helping me push...

On the flip side, it quite simply doesn't cut everything. Those long, spindly onions that grow in the yard? They're still there... And those weeds that sprout up so much faster than the grass (and are about to go to seed), untouched by the swishing blades. The dandelions are only mildly phased by it...and it doesn't trim well at all. The yard definitely looks mowed...but imperfectly so, with stray blades defiantly poking their heads up. It's not the instant gratification experience that using a motorized mower is...and my yard does not look nearly as well manicured as my neighbors'.

But here's the cool part: I've kind of made peace with it. My lawn isn't perfect, but it's ok... The reel mower doesn't grab everything if I've let it go too long, but it gets most of it...and I've got an electric trimmer that I can use to swipe at the high spots periodically to get everything back to something like ground zero (that's the problem solving bit). There are trade-offs...but I'm happy enough with the benefits of a truly "green" mowing experience (and the fact that I can do it rather safely with the Monkey around) that I don't mind changing my expectations.

See what I mean? There's a lesson in the weeds of my yard... Go figure.



Sidebar: this is the second blog in a row (though 2 weeks apart) that has referenced Real Genius. I think it must be time for me to see that again...

4 comments:

towwas said...

:) Having grown up with a non-power-mowed lawn, I think it is just fine. My dad every now and then goes out with the clippers (hand clippers, no electricity chez My Parents, thankyouverymuch) and rips at the edges.

I Blog, You Blog said...

Oh, I don't imagine I'll ever attain your parents' level of light-footprint living...though I might get a pair of hand-shears just because it's kind of a pain to have to pull out the weed whacker on the regular.

towwas said...

Yeah, the clippers weigh a lot less. :)

grrrbear said...

I feel your pain, and getting over it. We have a very small "lawn" in the back area of my condo building and because it's sooo small the association bought a reel bower to cut it. It does take a lot more passes to cut everything, but honestly I don't mind all that much.

Of course, my "yard" is about 10' x 25' which is actually smaller than my living room, so it's not *that* much of a sacrifice.