Sunday, August 26, 2007

Mowing the Forest

First, thanks to Laurie for the Thoughtful Blogger award. I absolutely don't deserve it, but I'm pleased nevertheless. It's a wonderful inspiration.

The Jungle in the Back Yard
The rain has finally stopped, and we've had a full day of sun. I mowed the back lawn yesterday, which was a bit more of an adventure than I was expecting.

The grass was about 16 inches long in places and completely covered any toys the kids left in the yard two weeks ago when it started to rain. We have a mulching lawnmower, which shreds the grass into a green paste and deposits it on the lawn as fertilizer. Except when the grass is 16 inches long. Then, the lawnmower just has a hissy fit, chokes, and spits about a bushel of wet blades onto the lawn and gives up.

We have a bag attachment, which would have filled up after every five feet or so, and a side chute for when the grass is too long to mulch. Then it just cuts it and keeps going. Of course, I couldn't find the side chute. Eric asked me where I would put it, I told him, and apparently he didn't like that idea because it wasn't there. And he was out of town, so I couldn't ask where it was.

I decided to just use the mulcher and do the best I could, knowing it would take a while. After the lawnmower choked for about the 15th time, I figured the poor thing was going to die completely. When smoke started rising, I prepared a burial.

I dragged the thing onto the driveway and looked at it the way a perplexed woman looks at things she'd rather have her husband deal with. Don't get me wrong; I can wield a chainsaw with the best of them, and I know a spade bit from, you know, one of those regular thingies that just makes little holes in the drywall. So, it wasn't smoking anymore. I figured I should let it cool off a while, but I also just wanted to get the lawn mowed.

The little push mower was hanging on its hook--maybe that would work. No. Not when the grass is 16 inches long. I had to find the stupid chute attachment. I looked. I finally found it, in the wagon, next to the bagger. Hmm.

Before attaching it, I thought getting some of that accumulated wet gunk off the bottom would be a good idea. Again, cooling off for a while would also be a good idea. But I wanted to get the lawn mowed, remember? So I tipped the mower over, and there was probably about four bushels of grass goop under there.

I whipped out the hose and let fly. Eew. It made a great pile of wet, stinking, seeping, green, globular grass paste. I had to move the lawnmower up the hill a bit because the heap was getting so tall. Well, about this time, it started to smoke again. Too hot. I sat the thing upright and went inside, wandering, wondering what my husband would say to me if he knew what I'd been up to.

Back outside after cleaning grass bits off my hands, I tried to start the mower. Um, the pull cord pulled, but it didn't retract. It made a sad little noise when I pulled, a mechanical whimper. Then it smoked again.

Shit. I've killed it, I thought. Pace around the yard, think. Where's the owner's manual? Maybe it just needs to dry out. I must have sprayed water straight into the engine. There must be an owner's manual online. Maybe I could borrow a neighbor's lawnmower: Say, may I borrow your lawnmower? I've just killed mine, you see. No, I won't damage yours at all. Promise.

Pace some more. Try to prepare Eric for the worst. Remind him it's just a lawnmower, and lawnmowers can be fixed or replaced, but his impatience, anger, or condescension in my moment of vulnerability would be truly damaging. Right, saying it just so would be vital. Pace some more. Think. Wait. It really just needs to dry out.

Have some pop. Yeah, cold and sweet and bubbly. Maybe have a shower. Maybe call a neighbor. Yeah. Yeah. No. Pace.

Well, might as well try again. I put the chute attachment on and hoped for the best. Pull. Ooh, it pulled back a little farther this time! Try again. Hey! It almost turned over. Try again. Smoke. OK, wait. See what fabulous lie I could tell Eric about what happened. I could hear him telling me I can't use the mulcher when the grass is so long and wet; it's bad for the mower. Yeah, I know.

Pace. Think. Try again.

A few more sad whumps, and it worked! Oh, glory. My, it worked so much better with the chute attachment. It just, you know, worked. Push, cut, chute. Ha! I'll have to rake that up, though. If only I'd looked harder for the chute attachment....

Today, I'm mowing the front yard.

Here are some mushrooms that were growing in my front yard when the rain started two weeks ago.


Cait O'Connor said...

Thanks for the blue eyes gene explanation, lots of people have tried to explain it but you are the first to make it clear.

Amy said...

You're welcome! I'm glad it made sense.

Your blog is like an oasis. You've done some neat things on there. I love the music playing. Nice touch.

Eric said...

Sorry that you worried about my reaction so much. I actually chuckled all the way through your entry. It IS just a lawn mower and I think it's great that you went out there and got it done. Now I don't have to!

laurie said...

don't deserve it? don't deserve it?
au contraire. or however that's spelled.

Anonymous said...

The Goddess of all things mechanical, was looking out for you.

The Rotten Correspondent said...

I'm stopping by from laurie's blog. My lawn mower hates me. I know it's personal, but can't do anything about it.If it could run over my foot I'm sure it would. But when my husband mows? Purrs like a cat and works beautifully. Sigh.

Amy said...

Well, Eric--you have been known to invest a little too much emotion into the inanimate. I have been known to be reckless with the inanimate. I get a little nervous when I tread so roughly on your territory.

Anon, thank Goddess. If I'd been a little more patient I wouldn't have needed her, though.

RC, I'm calling you if my lawnmower gets such ideas. Have you ever had someone come through the ER with a lawnmower injury?

Laurie, thanks again.