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doodle by andre: that’s some sweet ride!

FEELING DEFEATED BY YOUR LAWN around now, when it seems to grow overnight? Apparently Mr. and Mrs. Andre are, especially since The Guy Next Door upgraded to a riding model, leaving them in the dust at mowing time. (Fortunately, I don’t think he can hear their “greeting” over the dueling engines.) I’m of the split mower personality myself, with half tractor time, half walk-behind. Do you have a sweet ride, or are you still a push-over?

  1. Kathy M says:

    I have a sweet John Deer mower that we share with our neighbors and they have a Kubota tractor they share with us. Doesn’t get much sweeter than that for urban farm vehicles.

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome Kathy M. I live in John Deere country, on a farm road with a couple of dairies, but one non-farmer neighbor and I have Kubota tractors…so the picture here is all about a combination of green and orange, too. :) See you soon.

  2. cara says:

    I’m afraid of power tools of any kind. I just watch the grass grow, make plans for a non-lawn lawn, and occasionally call some dude to come over and mow and weed-whack the hell out of my raggedy half-acre. Gotta get a better plan…

  3. MiSchelle says:

    My reel push mower handles my 10′ x 24′ lawn nicely, thank you. The remainin half acre is chock-full of mixed borders, woodland gardens, veggie gardens, and all the fauna that I enjoy while not mowing.

  4. Abby says:

    I have a walk-behind (Personal Pace Toro) mower and consider mowing part of my exercise routine. Given a large enough lawn, I would either switch to a rider or turn more of it to garden. Probably the latter!

  5. andre says:

    completely true (almost ) doodle. We push and sweat for 2 hours every other weekend whilst next door glides along effortlessly.

    Also next door read this site so I say or they say to me “Ha! you are gonna use this as a garden doodle aren’t you!”

  6. vtgatos says:

    We have several mowers at our disposal. I use an old John Deere riding mower while Manslave pushes one of his collection of Frankenmowers – gas powered push mowers he has jobbed together. When he gets bored with those he’s on his classic 1955 Ford 650 tractor. The man likes to mow in style.

  7. Linda Vater says:

    Here is a little perspective that will put all of our vexing gardening issues in a different light. Everything, and I mean EVERYTHING in our beloved landscapes can be completely wiped out in a thirty minute hail storm or tornado like those we have experienced in our Oklahoma spring. The thousands of hours and dollars we have lavished on our beautiful spaces —– the perennials, blooming shrubs (no hydrangeas this year…..THE HORROR), leafed out trees, lovingly potted herbs, and on and on…………..well, all gone in a matter of minutes. Plants being resilient things will recover with much time and tlc, but battered and bruised psyches, and the loss of an entire gardening season are worth grieving over before the hard cleanup work begins anew.

    So please give a shout out of support to those of us in tornado alley who are so
    horticulturally bereft, and take a moment to REALLY appreciate your garden world………….pesty bugs and all.

  8. Leslie Coons says:

    I’ve always used a person-powered push reel mower, by choice, over the past 20-some years. My previous homes had small-ish yards that I nicely filled with garden space. No need for power mowers. That’s changed since I moved in with my intended last fall. He’s got acres of lawn so far (Note I said: “so far”) and a big old gas-chugging John Deere lawn tractor. This spring I turned 60- by 60-feet of that lawn into gardens. I’m changing it over a little at a time so he won’t notice. :-)

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Leslie. Hilarious that nobody is noticing the 60×60 encroachments into the sward! You keep fighting back. My place was 100 percent grasses (mostly former field crops) when I got here. Little by little…

      @Linda: I expect we are all very sorry to hear of the mess and the damage to gardens and homes and more that happens over your way. I have seen a couple of tornados here in the years I have been around the place, and even our smallish kind are extremely destructive (as some of the now-naked nearby hilltops can attest). But you have it so hard, I admire the courage and forward thinking. See you soon, I hope. We’re here!

  9. Corrina says:

    We have a push behind. I use the term “we” pretty loosely as my husband is the lawn person here. We also have a 10 year old and I am wondering if he could handle a manual push mower. It probably would be good exercise for me too!

  10. martha says:

    The lawn mower musings. We just looked at a riding mower for $250. But we opted for my husband to get a new barbeque and me a firepit for our new patio he built for me. He has wanted the bbq, I wanted the fire pit. But I have wanted a riding lawn mower for 18 years, ever since moving to this acre of land I try to steward. But he’s mowing now (been married 4 years) and he uses the walk behind power mower. I bought a non-power reel mower to tend to the back lawn. But now with so much rain. Wish we had the riding mower.

  11. Linda Vater says:

    Thanks for the kind words. I guess for a while some of us will just have to garden vicariously through your wonderful site and others!. Or as my son told me, just fix a big pitcher of iced tea, sit in the shade, and read a good book. :)

  12. Nancy says:

    When I was a kid in the 50s and 60s, my folks had an old south-western New York farm (zone 4) perched on a series of steep terraces that had to be mown by hand (and dangerously, at that) with a monstrous push machine that spat out blue smoke and was started with curses and repeated yanks of a rope hand-coiled around the starter.

    When my 3 older sisters and (finally) II graduated from high school, my dad got a riding mower. When he retired, he started mowing our lawn and the field behind it. Then he started mowing both sides of our lane and then the berm of the secondary highway accessing it. He loved mowing.

    I now live and garden on a steep slope in rural NW PA and there’s no way I can justify a riding mower for the few relatively-flat spots of my rather small lawn. Last year I graduated from a push powered mower to one that sort of pulls its weight – but not much. It’s a workout for me but I figure that as long as I CAN mow my lawn, I SHOULD. When I can’t, I’ll hire a service – but that’s years from now. My goal – very little lawn – the rest in garden beds. Works for me.

  13. Tedb says:

    We have a pretty good sized lawn out in the country and I love our Neuton battery powered mower. Super quiet, no fumes, no gas to mix and store, starts effortlessly. I’ll never go back to gas .

  14. Johanna says:

    When I lived in an “interim” house with a bit over half an acre, I used a manual reel mower to cut the grass. The older gentlemen who lived on either side of me had riding mowers. They laughed and laughed at me, bravely cutting about 12 inches with each pass while they had 48 inch decks and zoomed up, down and around.

    I, however, lost eight pounds that summer while they kept their paunchy tummies. So who came out smelling like a rose??!!

  15. Todd says:

    This is hilarious Andre, and perfect timing!

    I will forward this post Margaret, to my partner.

    He unfortunately just got a cub cadet???! It is so loud and has been shooting weed seeds, grass clippings, and debris all over my gardens! I can’t stand the sound of it or what it can do.

    I liked him pushing the old mower much more.

    After two weeks of major complaints, He has finally orderd the bag attachment.

    Thank you God….. !

  16. CharityAnn says:

    We have an acre and half, the house sits closer to the road. So we do a combination of a riding mower and a push mower.I would love to convert the front yard into a full garden bed. But compromise makes for a good marriage and my husband loves his grass. So I get to do what I want in the flower beds/garden and he gets to take care of the grass. Currently there is a able bodied teenager that lives here and helps with the yard work. And the other day when reading your blog he looked over my shoulder and told me that the round bolders were cool. (Sorry not sure what they are suppost to be called) So maybe their is another one in training, at least I had his attention for 5min.

  17. Jennifer says:

    Our garden is a small city lot, maybe 30ft wide and 100ft deep, and once you take out house, driveway, garden beds… there’s not that much lawn. We’d never get a riding mower. BUT the husband just upgraded from a plug in electric mower to a cordless electric mower whose power supply detaches and can be brought in the house to recharge. It’s his favorite new toy. And I keep hearing about how much easier it is to mow when one doesn’t have to work the cord around buildings, fences, blah blah blah. :)

  18. Charlotte says:

    So, for your reading enjoyment, here are The 7 Deadly Homemade Weed Killers, guaranteed to help you eradicate the weeds you find in your garden.

    1.Boiling Water – Yep, that’s right. Plain old H2O can be used as an extremely effective weed killer. As a matter of fact, boiling water is more effective than many of your store bought weed killers in wiping out unwanted vegetation. Easy-peasy to do. Put a kettle of tap water on the stove and heat till boiling, then pour on the weeds you wish to kill.You are effectively cooking the plant in the ground. Boiling water is a great way to clear out vegetation on a wholesale basis, like driveways and sidewalks. But be warned, boiling water is not selective. It will cook and instantly kill any plant that it comes in contact with and this includes underground roots of nearby plants.
    2.Bleach – Not only is bleach a spot remover, it is a weed remover as well. Place some bleach in a spray bottle and spray on the weed you wish to remove. The bleach chemicals will evaporate or dissipate in about two days (or less but better safe than sorry), making the area safe for planting. Again, bleach will kill anything but if you do get some on a plant you want to keep, just wash the plant off.
    3.Vinegar – Vinegar is a great organic homemade weed killer. Either white or cider vinegar will work. The acetic acid in the vinegar works to kill the leaves on the plant but not the root. Vinegar will kill back (kill the leaves but not the root) any plant but works best on young plants because they do not have enough energy stored in the roots to regrow their leaves. If vinegar is applied to more established weeds enough times, the plant will eventually deplete its stored energy reserves and die.
    4.Salt – It was once a known war tactic to salt the fields of enemies. Salting the earth was also used as punishment for severe crimes in several countries throughout history. The reason is because salt will kill plants and will make the ground unsuitable for future plant growth. On a small scale, you can drop a small pinch of table salt at the base of the undesirable plants. It will kill the plant but will dilute down to harmless in the next few rainfalls. On a larger scale, you can cover your gravel driveway or your ex’s yard with a good amount of salt and nothing will grow there for months. (FYI, it is illegal to salt another person’s property. It’s called vandalism.)
    5.Rubbing Alcohol – Rubbing alcohol is used around the house because it draws water out and helps to evaporate it quickly. Guess what? If you put it on a plant, it will do the same thing. You will be basically sucking the life blood out of the weed. Makes you want to run right out and try it, huh? But again, rubbing alcohol is non-selective. It will kill any vegetation it comes contact with.
    6.Corn Meal – Corn meal doesn’t really kill weeds, it just stops the weed seeds from ever developing. Corn Gluten is a pre-emergent, which is a fancy way of saying that is it is a seed birth-control. Corn meal scattered around an area will keep any seed in that area from growing into a plant. This means a weed seed or a desirable seed. This method is a good option for areas that you plan on planting grown plants in.
    7.Newspaper – If murdering your weeds with chemicals is not your style, you can always smother them. Laying down a layer of newspaper at least 4 sheets thick (the more the better) will go a long way towards killing the weeds underneath. The weeds that are already there will die from lack of sun and the weed seeds will not be able to sprout because they are not getting any sun to start with

  19. Deb says:

    We have them all — push mower for the herb garden, scrapped together gas mower for the outer edges, riding mower for the lawn, sickle-bar mower on the Cub tractor for the fields, and a brush hog on the Kubota tractor for everything else. I’m eyeing a cordless battery mower to replace the gas, mainly for the noise factor.

  20. Benjamin says:

    I don’t know, I’m pretty tired of hearing the succession of lawnmowers all day long from Friday evening straight through Sunday evening. One nieghbor quits, the other picks up. I let my lawn go. I hate to mow it, hate to hear my mowing, hate to even try to compete with the green dream. I move my perennials around and stay close to the fountain which drowns out most of the mowing.

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Benjamin. When I lived in a more suburban area, I used to really hate it, too. Always something. Here it’s different — there’s always something, but it’s not right in your face, and usually a chain saw or a giant tractor working the cornfields or the alfalfa, somebody on this farm road or in the surrounding parklands tending to something. I always feel like I should avoid mowing on a weekend, too…but farmers can’t go by the calendar so they literally make hay while the sun shines. So I’ve gotten used to a new set of sounds all of which sound a lot better than mowers, I agree.

  21. Marci says:

    Push-over by choice, and not even tempted! (about a half-acre total).
    Curious how some neighbors (customers of $60 per half-hour weekly
    ‘mow & blow’ landscape services) seem personally affronted by my preference.
    Or pathology, as my daughter believes it to be.

    1. Margaret says:

      Welcome, Marci. Ha! Pathology. Mow and blow has never seemed to suit me, either. I actually like to mow. Sounds like you have found your groove, too. :) See you soon again, I hope.

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