Tuesday, April 18, 2006

To mow or not?

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!


Anonymous said...

somewhere...out there..."they" are ROFLTAO!

(you know who)

Karyn Lyndon said...

I think you need to take some time off after all that...just hearing about it makes me tired.

Shesawriter said...

Don't mow. You need to protect the grass from the sun. Just get some Scotts weed killer, fertilize regularly and water when you can.

Emmy Ellis said...

Good grief!


Anonymous said...

Your lawn needs nourishment and Spring is a good time to do it. Top dressing and slow releasing fertilizer. You need a fertilizer which will not only improve the roots but the blades of the grass. I fertilized mine after our drought and it has remained green and healthy throughout the summer with minimal watering (a good soaking once a week).

Anonymous said...

. . . OR you could just turn your yard into a thistle patch and call it "trendy" . . .

Wasn't there a thing a few years back about landscaping with native plants, in the southwest, instead of grass?

I just took my mower in today to get it tuned up & have the blades sharpened. I should have done it two weeks ago. The waiting time is now 10 days -- I'm going to need a scythe by then, I'm afraid!

Anonymous said...

Extreme drought ! I've got an idea, my garden is swamplike at the moment. My mower would actually sink if I went into the garden.

This gives me an idea. I will box up some garden wetness and export it to you, in return if you could send me a mild drought (not an extreme drought please) we could solve both of our problems.