Thursday, May 05, 2005

Cutting the Grass

Since we moved into this house over a year ago, we've been using the late previous owner's lawn mower. It's not a bad mower. The little electric unit is certainly adequate for a lawn of this size. We were quite glad to not have to buy a new one when we first moved in too. I knew, however, that the little orange mower wasn't going to last too much longer, though. Its many years of faithful service have left the underside of the deck rusty and ready to fall apart. The rear shroud around the blade is completly rusted through and is held at one end only. It bounces and flaps while being pushed over the uneven yard, and occasionally gets hit by the blade. It's not a good thing.

So I decided that before parts start flying out at high velocity, I should replace the old mower. I considered another electric one. They're cheap, they're light and don't require that I store a supply of gasoline. I never really got comfortable with the idea of dragging an electrical cable around while I cut the grass. I've never hit a cord, but I'm sure it's just a matter of time. Gas mowers, on the other hand, are louder, heavier, more expensive and take more maintenance. Then I realized that there's a third option. The push reel mower. I thought about it and it seemed perfect. Light, no cords, practically no maintenance, few things to in wrong, and as I found out, much less expensive than even the least expensive electric. For a yard the size of mine, a power mower seems like overkill.

So my mind was made up. I generally try to go for simplicity, and the reel mower wins hands-down in that respect. I went out and bought the nicest reel mower I could find. It's a 20" with adjustable cutting height (something most reel mowers lack.) I put it together and took it for a quick spin in the dark outside. My first impression was that it's easier to push than I expected. I guess the extra resistance is offset by the light weight. I'll wait until I've actually done more grass cutting before I decide whether it was a good or bad idea, but I'm guessing it will do the job nicely. Did I mention that its cutting width is 2" wider than the electric?


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