This part of Texas is considered to be in an “extreme drought” condition. The fairways at the local golf course are brown, and the cracks in the ground in some spots are almost wide enough to swallow a golf ball.
So why would I even be THINKING about mowing? Well, the reason is the weeds — mainly thistles — that keep sticking up in random places well above the level of the dead, dying or dormant grass. And that looks tacky.
Besides, since we’ve cleaned out the attic and part of the garage, cleaned the mildew off the underside of the patio cover (but not the rest of the house... yet!), and are in a mode of “Let’s make this place look nice,” having a tacky-looking yard just doesn’t seem to fit.
The ground is SO dry that the mower throws up clouds of dust. Carol started watering the yard yesterday so I could cut the grass without blinding all the neighbors, but I had a small problem.
You see, I mow with a riding mower. (Yes, I’m a wimp. Especially in the kind of heat we had yesterday. But my excuse is that it’s a big yard and when I used to walk behind a mower it took hours more than it does now.) Fine, you say, so what was my problem?
Well, I told you my air compressor failed, remember? I needed to pump up the tires on my riding mower, and I don’t have a hand pump. And the old compressor never gave any indication of coming back to life. So we went to Sears and bought a new compressor and tank. After I had assembled the compressor and allowed it to run the requisite 15 minutes with the drain valve open to “break in,” I tried to air up the tires.
The darned valves were leaking so badly that the tires wouldn’t hold pressure, so I went to WalMart and bought two new valves. They helped a lot.
Once the tires were aired up I couldn’t start the mower because the battery was dead and there is no pull cord. I tried to jump-start it from my car battery, but one of the battery cables on the mower had corroded so badly that the end fell off.
I bought a new cable and installed a new battery. Then I remembered that I intended to sharpen the blade before the next time I mowed, so I got out my bench grinder, hooked it up and tried it out. To my surprise, it worked! But by this time it was too late to mow on Monday anyway, so I put everything away until today.
This evening, with a sharp blade, a new battery and cable, tires that hold air and a new compressor to air them up, I finally got the back yard mowed. Well, I mowed down the thistles and other weeds that were sticking up. And thanks to Carol’s watering I didn’t start a dust storm.
So between the cost of the compressor, valves, battery, cable, and the gasoline to run the mower, I spent a lot of money to mow a yard that didn’t really need to be mowed.
And now that Carol has started watering during the day, I’ll probably be mowing once a week until next fall.
I’m beginning to prefer thistles and weeds!