Thursday, June 19, 2014
Tackling yard work
I’ve heard it more than once the past couple of years – “you’ve definitely got your money’s worth out of that one.”
Last summer I told myself – let me just get one more summer out of this riding mower. This summer, I said the same thing. It may not make it.
That mower I bought about 11 years ago, from good friend C.B. McClatchy when he owned the True Value Hardware Store across the street from The South Reporter, has been a good one.
It’s been in the shop for its share of repairs but as of this writing, it’s still cutting grass.
And cutting grass at my house is not an easy task. There are lots of trees in the yard – front and back – and while I try to pick up the bulk of the pine cones and small limbs and such, it’s impossible to get them all.
No doubt about it, this mower has been a tough one, handling some rugged yard work. It’s sliced up its share of pine cones.
A few weeks ago, when a belt broke on it while cutting the grass in the front yard, I actually had to drag out the push mower.
It had not been used since sometime last summer. But it cranked right up. I bought that small push mower about 18 years ago while living in Aberdeen.
While push-mowing the other day, I remembered those summer months as a young teenager. Mother would leave for work and leave me a list of jobs to complete. Mowing the yard was one of the regular ones.
Back then, I always thought – “How does grass grow so fast? I’d mow it one week, with the push mower, and it would be grown back up the next.
Push-mowing and playing ball were where I got my summer tans – not the beach.
Another regular task at my house in Holly Springs is weed-eating.
We didn’t have a weed-eater when I was growing up. We used kaiser blades or sling blades. Those things, I guess, helped keep my arms in shape for the baseball diamond.
And those kaiser blades and sling blades also left some blisters behind. I never liked wearing gloves and I usually paid the painful prices. Mother would put the gloves out for me and I’d ignore them.
As I’ve learned so many times since then, Mother knows best. Today, almost every time I work in the yard, I wear gloves. When I don’t, I regret it.
Sometimes I catch myself wanting to go back to that old method of cutting weeds when I have to stop and pull out some more line on the weed eater – or when I have to choke it to death to start it.
I never had to choke that kaiser blade. All we had to do was occasionally sharpen it and replace the handle. That thing worked every time. It didn’t need a mixture of gas and oil. It just needed somebody to swing it.
Pam has urged me to just hire someone to do my hard work. I think she’s really implying that I’m getting too old for it. More often than not, it’s just finding the time. I’ve mowed on Sunday afternoons twice this year already.
Truth is, I enjoy the yard work – when the riding mower and the weed-eater are working. I’m no repairman, never have been at age 52, probably never will be.
But working in the yard gives me some time to escape the stress of newspaper deadlines and even sweat some, which I need, too.
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