The Zen of Mowing

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It has been raining a ton the last couple years during the summer in Kansas.  That isn’t usual. Normally, the grass goes dormant for a month or so, thus it turns brown-ish, then starts greening back up in September or so.  That is unless you run automatic sprinklers, even when it is raining, all summer and your yard stays perty green.

This year is another big rain year.  So, the grass has been growing throughout the summer. Hardly anyone in my neighborhood mows their own grass.  One guy from North Topeka has a corner on that market.  He is in the neighborhood from 8 am to sunset everyday, including holidays.  He is a little automated, like he uses self-propelled Honda push mowers, but he isn’t riding around on a zero turn radius riding mower.

I’ve been mowing lawns since I was small.  I probably started mowing when I was around 7 or so.  This was mainly mowing our yard.  As I got older, I used to mow a lot of the neighbors yards.  I used to walk down to the gas station, which was 2 blocks away and buy 2 gallons of gas in the morning, then start out mowing.  I think the most yards I mowed was around 10.  I could do them all in one day if I was quick.   But, the problem was, everyone didn’t always want their yards mowed on the same day, the day that was convenient for me.

When I’m gone, my brother mows.  He does it on Sunday’s I think.  But now since he is hurt, he isn’t going to be mowing for a while.  I don’t like mowing as much as I used to.  Mainly because of the dust and it seems like I am more allergic to the dry grass than I used to be when I was younger.

That being said, I still like mowing.  I just don’t love it.  There is a certain satisfaction mowing. You can watch as your work is progressing.   It is sort of like shovelling snow or roof.  You can actively see how much you’ve completed and how much you have left to do.

I used to mow artistically.  I’d try to mow and make the yard look like a golf course.  I’d mow diagonal in one direction and then the opposite.  I don’t do that so much nowadays.  That is mainly because most of the places I mow the grass is so pitiful that it doesn’t look that great.

But after you start mowing, you can get into nearly a zen-like state.  After I start, it is like a craving, it is hard to stop.  It is sort of like cycling, my mind wanders as I go through the motions.

I really should get a good mower.  All the mowers we’ve had recently have been junky, garbage picked mowers.  There is a certain advantage of a junky mower.  Mainly,  they are light, so it doesn’t take much to load them into the van over and over again.  But, they are underpowered and generally shitty. The mower I’m using now is a brand new mower my brother got from Walmar,t I think.  It had been used once and was broken.  He paid $30 for it.  It took him about 4 minutes to fix it.  From my experience with mowers, a Honda mower is impossible to beat.

Anyway, I think more people should mow their own yards.  I think it connects you to your property and exposes you to the neighborhood.  When no one is doing any yard work anymore, it is really hard knowing where anyone lives.   Garage door openers are the #1 reason that neighbors are strangers.  #2 is not doing yard work.

Anyway, I have a bunch of mowing to do, but it is going to rain most of the day.  I think I’m going to head out and start.  There is way less dust when it is a tad wet.  Too wet is a disaster, but just a little wet is good. I hope today doesn’t turn out to be a mowing bust.

Hope this stays North as predicted.

Hope this stays North as predicted.

Rain gauge from last night.

Rain gauge from last night.

Tucker likes to go just about anywhere the van goes.

Tucker likes to go just about anywhere the van goes.



12 thoughts on “The Zen of Mowing

  1. Bill K

    #3 is people not working on their own cars anymore. In some ways, I can’t blame them anymore. Modern cars are pretty hard to work on. I think that I would need a lift to change my own oil on my new one. I’d have to remove a huge aerodynamic panel covering the bottom of the engine bay. Tough when the car is a foot over your head.

    1. Christian Davenport

      Yes and no. Brakes on modern cars are still relatively easy. Oil changes can be a bit of a challenge. My car also has the smooth panel under the engine bay but luckily there is an easily removable door allowing access to the drain plug and filter. What’s interesting is the language in your owners manual regarding changing the oil yourself (or other maintenance). It can vary but I have seen some manufacturers all but forbid the owner from changing the oil/filter at risk of voiding the powertrain warranty. Only the manufacturers authorized dealer can do the work. Not once but twice have I experienced a dealer screwing up an oil change (wrong size filter). That’s why I do it myself now.

    2. william stevenson

      That “aerodynamic panel” is primarily there to protect on your vehicle to protect against dirt, dust and other objects that might wreak havoc on the expensive components and parts.

      Kinda like aero wheels on a bike: they do offer some aero benefits but are primarily installed to foster an image for the rider of being fast and bad-ass.

  2. David

    I take PED’s and do lawn boy intervals. I have set several Strava segment records. I have been a competitive mower since a young age. After returning from the European tour this year I am taking a break, only mowing about 6 hours a day. Once out mowed Lance.

    Have a great weekend.

  3. Kentucky Blue Grass

    2 of my neighbors have electric lawn mowers and 2 have the human powered reel cutting Fiskars. I use a Sears Craftsman and after the bending the blade ion a root the replacement blade is same shape but a bigger and heavier. I keep it sharp with a bench grinder and it works well. At our farm I have an old, old White riding lawn mower that I keep going and an 1950’s Allis narrow front tractor that pulls a brush hog type mower. There is a feeling of satisfaction after mowing and maybe weed whacking. Environmentally probably our lawns should be prairie grass because I think I read 2 cycle and small engines contribute dis-proportionally to pollution and climate change? A buddy has a part time gig mowing at a local golf course – it is his zen time and why he does it.

    Healthcare system is complex and difficult to understand in usa and members of congress don’t get there by being particularly smart, let alone moral or ethical. Their constituents really are sheep for the most part kept uninterested by TV and now inner webs, crazy short news cycle, sports, and Poke du jour.

  4. Mike

    A perfect Saturday for me is a 4-5 hour bike ride, then mowing the lawn, then grilling and enjoying a great day spent outside. Thanks for the post


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