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LAWN MOWING

Posted by Tim Bryce on October 31, 2014

BRYCE ON LIFE

– The joys of mowing your lawn yourself.

(Click for AUDIO VERSION)
To use this segment in a Radio broadcast or Podcast, send TIM a request.

I have now been mowing lawns for half of a century. When I was a kid in Connecticut, my family had a reel mower; you know, one of those plain push mowers where the blades twirl faster as you push the mower. When we moved to Chicago in the mid-60’s my father bought our first power mower at Montgomery Ward. The engine only turned the blade; you still had to push it as there was no self-propulsion. Over the years I’ve had a variety of lawn mowers, both push and riders. The fact remains though, year after year I’ve been mowing my lawn.

In my neighborhood, I’m one of the few guys remaining who mows his own lawn, if not the only one. People stare at me as they drive by my house while I’m mowing. I guess they think I’m either eccentric, too poor to hire a lawn service, or maybe I’m a lawn service worker myself. Actually, I don’t mind doing the lawn as it is an excellent way for me to get some exercise, and I take great pride in my work if I can get the lawn to look the way I want it to.

Most of the people in my neighborhood use a lawn service. I don’t think I have ever seen a youth in our subdivision push a lawnmower either. As for my family, both my son and daughter have taken their turn with the lawn mower over the years, but mostly the burden fell to the boy. I’ve always looked upon such work as a great way to teach responsibility and pride in workmanship. Over the years, my son has learned to use all of my power tools and is now pretty handy with them. He also understands safety issues as well. I’ve asked some of my friends why they don’t have their children mow their lawn and they look at me incredulously like I’ve taken leave of my senses. I guess they’re afraid their kids might learn Spanish and become professional landscapers. As for me, I’ve always seen it as a way to teach children how to carry their weight in the household. Then again, I guess I’m old fashioned.

Down here in Florida, the main type of grass we have is Floratam St. Augustine, or just plain “Floratam,” which was developed to resist all the little bugs and critters we have in our soil down here. It’s not quite the same type of grass as you find up north which looks thin and puny by comparison. Actually, I think down here they’ve got us all conned into believing that Floratam is something special when, in reality, it is nothing but an expensive form of crab grass.

It’s interesting the ensemble of lawn tools you collect and use over the years. In addition to the lawn mower, I have a fertilizer spreader, an edger, a weed whacker, a hedger, a chain saw, different pruning clippers, saws, rakes, etc. It can become quite an investment in equipment if you want to do the lawn yourself. No wonder I get Christmas cards from Home Depot and Lowes.

The only thing I dislike about mowing is when the mower breaks down, which happened to me recently. I have a riding mower and a bolt popped out causing the undercarriage to fall off and snapped a belt. It wouldn’t be a big deal if was a push mower, but because it is a rider, I had to schedule an appointment for it to be fixed and call on a friend with a truck to help me move it which, frankly, is a pain in the neck. Otherwise, when the mower is working properly I can get the lawn done in a couple of hours.

While the lawn mower was in the shop for repair, which was for a few weeks, I arranged to have a service come in to take care of the lawn, and I admit they did a remarkable job. However, it seemed very strange to me not to mow the lawn and I started to go through withdrawal symptoms. I know I won’t be able to take care of the lawn forever and at some point I’ll have to acquiesce the responsibility to someone else. I suppose it’s been a matter of pride and determination for me (or just plain stubbornness). I guess I fear someone saying, “What? You’re getting too old to do the lawn?” Maybe I’m just confused; that mowing lawns for over 50 years is not so much considered a feat of strength, but an act of stupidity. I’m not sure which.

Originally Published: October 15, 2009 (updated)

Keep the Faith!

Note: All trademarks both marked and unmarked belong to their respective companies.

Tim Bryce is a writer and the Managing Director of M&JB Investment Company (M&JB) of Palm Harbor, Florida and has over 30 years of experience in the management consulting field. He can be reached at timb001@phmainstreet.com

For Tim’s columns, see:
timbryce.com

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Copyright © 2014 by Tim Bryce. All rights reserved.

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7 Responses to “LAWN MOWING”

  1. Kevin Schachter said

    Lawn Mowing? Must be a slow week Tim. You do know there’s an election next week right?

    Like

  2. Tim Bryce said

    An R.Z. of Winter Haven, Florida wrote…

    ” I never had a problem mowing my yard per se and didn’t mind the exercise. What I hate about it in Florida is, well, in the summer it is so hot and annoying dealing with the rain! I had a very large yard (a little smaller now that I put in a pool). My biggest gripe was always stressing about mowing the yard. It rains almost everyday in summer. It’s too wet to mow early in the morning and you can almost bet it’ll rain in the afternoon. I had my only two days off to totally stress about it. I will say, the first few years I did the lawn I had both my teenage sons helping me, and I believe that was good for them, and they took pride in it. I’d say about 2/3 of the homes in my neighborhood today have a lawn service. Well, after a few years stressing about it I finally got a lawn service, and I will say it is the very best thing I have ever done. It is really inexpensive in my neighborhood and well worth it due to not having to worry about it all weekend.”

    An N.K. of Palm Harbor, Florida wrote…

    “Good for you! I still wash my own car and get the same looks from neighbors. Haha!”

    Like

  3. Bill said

    Never did like lawn mowing. Lived in Florida for over 30 years and used a lawn service the entire time. Not so much as the chore itself, but the problems with keeping all of that equipment running smoothly.

    Moved to the Georgia mountains last year. Have a small patch of grass on the hill outside the home. Hit it with the weed whacker 3-4 times turning the summer. Life is great!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. janismith said

    LOL! I love this: “I guess they’re afraid their kids might learn Spanish and become professional landscapers.”

    We have noticed fewer young people doing their own work, too. Young couples who moved into our old neighborhood hired everything done, from lawn mowing to painting. One couple actually hired a service crew to put up their Christmas decorations. We did see their parents cutting their lawns, weeding the flowerbeds, painting, repairing and babysitting. Why did these parents not teach their kids to be self-sufficient?? Who will take care of the parents when they can’t maintain their own homes? Oh, yes, lawn services, maid service, etc., They can’t ask their kids, because they don’t know how! It’s just crazy!

    Um, that said, we did hire a guy to cut our lawn this summer. Our kids each live 150+ miles from us. Both of us have health problems that make uphill mowing an unwise challenge and, unlike our former suburban neighborhood, there is a huge supply of unemployed people willing to work to make ends meet in this area. We figured we’re helping the local economy and will be spending less money on ER visits, Ben Gay ointment, Advil, etc., so it’s a sensible choice. The hill going up from the lake is hard enough to walk up without pushing a mower.

    Along those lines, I have been pondering the wisdom of continuing to do certain tasks. We are learning to ask ourselves whether or not we can still do those tasks and even if the answer is yes, we have to consider whether we should do them and risk injury. Since my brain surgeries, I have some balance issues that can cause unwelcome excitement. For example, any work involving a tall ladder is probably not a prudent choice and is worth hiring someone. Who will do the work if I’m in a body cast for months? It’s no longer all about ability, but knowing and accepting our limits. It’s quite a process to learn this.

    We’ve just finished building what I hope may be our last DIY home improvement project – a sunroom facing the lake. Yes, that did include some ladder work putting up the ceiling and insulation and I learned some new limits. We hired a company to run the heat into the room (this is Michigan), but aside from that, we did the rest all by ourselves. It’s not our first rodeo, by any means. We’ve been adding, renovating, decorating and such to four houses for over 30 years, but it might be nice to lay down the tools and ladders and let someone else do some of the work.

    Jan

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  5. […] LAWN MOWING […]

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