Show the Lawn Who’s Boss: Mow it!

The lawn. Photo by Cecilia Kennedy

Tall, dry spindly things are poking up out of the lawn and I’m seriously concerned about them. I swear they’re talking smack every time I walk by—saying things like, “You think you can take us down? Really?” And that’s when I just go crazy and start training at water aerobics for 50 minutes a day, twice a week—making fists with my hands in the water—just picturing how I’ll run over their faces. In fact, they’re hanging with an even rougher crowd of dry blades of grass, and if I’m not careful, I believe they could spark a pesky infestation of “city nuisance” signs. In other words, our lawn looks ever so slightly atrocious and it’s time to cut those taunting spindly things down—along with the overgrown blades of grass. Thank goodness we have a lawn mower.

Mowing the lawn is usually Nate’s job, but I’m dangerously low on DIY blog ideas, so I decide I’ll cut the grass this week and perhaps offer a few useful tips. Then, it occurs to me that I’ve never mowed the lawn before—except for the time when I was about eight years old and I rode with my dad on his “tractor”-sized lawnmower, which had two speeds: bunny and turtle. Oh, the thrill when I realized that “bunny” speed was not that much faster than “turtle” speed! That’s probably why it took my dad an entire afternoon and several beers to complete the job, but he never looked upset. It’s like he actually looked forward to riding around all day and drinking beer. Unfortunately, our yard—front and back—is not large enough to warrant the use of a riding mower or several trips to the fridge for beer. Instead, Nate typically uses an electric mower and a weed “wacker” and he’s going to show me how to use them—for the front lawn only. Baby steps. We must take baby turtle steps—we’re not ready to go hopping around with the lithe speed of bunnies just yet.

Mowing Tips:

1) Wear sturdy shoes that cover your toes. I learned this tip as part of a 4-H safety- speaking contest. When I was twelve years old, I gave expert advice on how to safely mow the lawn, EVEN THOUGH I HAD NEVER MOWED A LAWN. When giving safety speeches for 4-H, the rules always state that contestants must use a “local statistic,” which could consist of a cautionary tale about someone in the contestant’s family. I chose my dad, who mixed a bunch of chemicals together and put them into his lawnmower when he was a child. He was trying to make it go faster. (Back then, they didn’t have “bunny” speed. The choices were: dinosaur or fern.) In any case, it went faster for a little while and then I think it exploded, but I don’t remember the speech very well. I won the contest and went to districts, but I blew it when I got the giggles for no reason at all and started laughing, right during a part of my speech that was not supposed to be funny. I learned my lesson: Exploding lawn mowers are not funny. That’s why you should wear sturdy shoes—so you can run fast in case of an explosion—and so that the blades of the mower don’t cut your toes off.

2) Check the area for twigs and branches and stones. Branches, logs, stones, bicycles, toys, and inflatable pools wreak havoc on a lawnmower. Remove all of these things from the yard before mowing.

3) Get to know your lawnmower. I tried to convince Nate that maybe I could ride the electric mower and place a cup holder in it for beer, but an electric mower is not a riding mower. Safety first—always. The kind of mower we have requires a battery that has to be charged and then I just push a button, lift a lever and start mowing in a kind of circular fashion around the yard. It’s actually sort of fun, but I look like a novice for sure. Cars from the neighborhood slow down to see what I’m doing. I think they’re taking pictures for the neighborhood Facebook page. The caption probably says, “The most unprofessional grass cutter I’ve ever seen. It’s like it’s her first day on the job. Do NOT hire her.”

4) Make sure people are not standing in the yard while you are mowing. For some reason, Nate kept bending over in front of me to pull extra weeds that the lawnmower and weed “wacker” won’t reach, but he has no idea how tempted I was to harass him with the lawnmower.

When I finish, I’m so proud of myself, I suggest we do the back yard, which has a super steep hill.

“Come on—it’s not that bad,” I say as I walk up and down the hill.

“You really want to try it?” Nate asks.

“Sure—why not?”

Nate has me turn off the lawnmower and walk with it to the highest point of the incline and mimic mowing the lawn.

“Yeah—this isn’t happening,” I say. “It’s like the mower wants to pull me sideways down the hill and the neighbor’s house is like right there. I’ll end up on the Facebook page for sure.”

I hand the mower back over to my local statistic expert.

As I cross back over to the front yard, I see a stray spindly thing that I truly believe is mocking me, so I grab it by the neck, lean down and whisper menacingly in its ear, saying,

“I’ll be back and if you think the little electric lime green mower isn’t good enough for you, just wait until I trick it out with racing stripes, ergonomic seats, cup holders, and two speeds: bunny and lightning bunny.”

Your Turn: What’s a chore you normally don’t do? (Either you hire someone to do it or you have someone else in your house do it.)

23 thoughts on “Show the Lawn Who’s Boss: Mow it!

  1. We’re not allowed to use any lawn chemicals up here, which I don’t have a problem with, but we have neighbours who refuse to weed their gardens, so no one really has any grass anymore. It’s just a collection of different varieties of weeds. Looks OK from a distance but you can’t walk on it with bare feet. I’d like to rip the whole thing out and replace it with creeping thyme but we have almost an acre. Sigh.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s a good point about lawn chemicals–I’m not sure if we’re allowed to use them here. There are so many kids and pets in the area, I’d be sure to ask first before I did anything. Thanks for stopping by!


  2. We hire someone to mow our lawn. My husband can’t anymore with his health and heart issues and he doesn’t want me to do it so we found someone very reasonable and in the winter he does it every other week and in the summer every week. Maybe your son can help you as he gets older with the lawn.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I am alone so everything that needs doing here, I do it… 🙂 1. everything in my little part of the universe is a part of my life as I have chosen, so I do not consider it a chore… 2. I never turn down a challenge that life has put in front of me, it helps me stay on top of my game and makes life interesting… 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I hate bathrooms too, but it feels so good when the house is all clean. I once lived in a condo and I have to admit, I really liked having “maintenance free” living–Thanks for stopping by!

      Liked by 1 person

  4. Lawn mowing veteran, but no more since we have meadow instead of lawn here on the mountain. I don’t chop wood or use the chainsaw either. My husband keeps us stocked with firewood – and makes the coffee. Watch out for me with the leaf blower strapped to my back, pressure washer wand in hand, or gas-powered weed whacker! Serious power tools;-)

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Dinosaur and fern – great line! You have a humorous writing talent, and that is rare. Actually writing humorous stories is difficult and a challenge for me.
    I have been cutting grass since I was old enough to walk it seems. When I had a dog, tiger, he loved to pick up rocks and put them in front of the lawn mower. When I stopped Mowing and threw the rock over the fence he thought it was a game and would go get the Rock and drop it in front of the lawn mower again. True story

    Liked by 1 person

  6. We have an acre which my husband always mowed using the riding mower until he had a major stroke last year. That riding mower terrifies me, as our property slopes downward in both the front and the back. So our oldest daughter and her husband bought us a new, electric-start, gasoline-powered, self-propelled, walk-behind mower which I have been using. However, I am horribly allergic to both tree and grass pollen, so much so that it may be the reason I ended up in the hospital under observation a couple of weeks ago. That convinced me to hire a lawn service. No more mowing for me!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I live in Arizona so you really have to work to keep a lawn going. Mine was an oval patch surrounded by crushed rock, but it’s Bermuda grass, so it’s nasty and tough, like mini rope, and I hated it. And it grew up under to oval and out into the rocks (somehow defeating the plastic) and then started attacking desert plants in other isolated spots. Been trying to kill it for years (it’s mostly gone now), but still makes a comeback now and then.

    Liked by 1 person

  8. I still do all my yardwork, including taking the chainsaw to fallen limbs. But I can no longer stand to climb a ladder and clean the gutters. Looks like I’ve inherited my father’s fear of heights.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Both my husband and I have a fear of heights, so we’ll be hiring that one out. I asked Nate about Alex, our son who is 15 and he said that his fear of heights is worse than his–yikes!


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