Saturday, June 2, 2012

Reel Mowing

I have always been intrigued by reel mowers.  There is something appealing to mowing your yard with no sound other than the quiet whisping of the blades slicing their way through your lawn early in the morning.  Not having to keep a container of gas in the garage and replenish the mower with each trip around the yard would be pretty cool as well.  Plus the whole thing has a romantic 1920's feel to it.

When my current mower, which is 10 years old and was a pretty cheap model to start with, began having issues with the engine, I figured it was time to get a new mower.  I could probably invest some money into trying to find and fix the cause of the white smoke and surging power, but it's just not worth it on a device that's probably nearing end of life that was only about $150 to start with.  So I took the plunge and bought a reel mower.  Not your grandpa's model, but a top-of-the-line version.

As I assembled the mower (essentially connecting the handle to the base) I was amazed at how closely the blades come to touching without actually doing so.  It really is a marvel of engineering to design a product so that several spinning blades of metal come within a millimeter of hitting a stationary blade without actually coming in contact with it.  I couldn't wait to try my new mower, and when I hit a test strip in the back yard that I had left unmowed as I used my old gas powered model for the last time, I found that it was very effective in chopping the grass down to the same level without an overabundance of effort.

Unfortunately, the next day I moved on to doing the front yard.  The front yard is much smaller than the back, but has a couple of trees with mulch to work around, and the grass is thicker.  45 minutes of pushing, stopping, tilting to remove whatever twig or piece of mulch had stopped the blades cold, backing up, making another run, getting bogged by thick grass, etc, and I realized this was going to be a lot more work than I bargained for.  I though perhaps if I mowed the lawn twice a week, it wouldn't be so bad, but as I lay in bed with my back killing me, I realized I would be making a return trip to the store and upgrading to a gas powered lawnmower.  I may even go for the self-propelled model to help with going uphill.  I don't know if I'm ready to embrace that level of lazy, as I have no problems pushing my current model, but then again, I'm not getting any younger.  I'm sorry to see the reel mower go, but I'm afraid I have to get a real mower.