Home > environment, gardening, politics > In Praise of the Push Reel Mower

In Praise of the Push Reel Mower

I am up early drinking coffee and looking for that balanced time when the dew has dried but the heat of the day has not kicked in. Today is the day I get to mow my lawn. When I bought my house a couple years ago and needed to get a mower it was a pretty easy selection. My biggest factor was my carbon footprint and the push reel mower rocks on that front. Two stroke engines are terribly polluting and the noise and the gas and oil and the space just made it not seem worth it. My yard is of some size so I would be lying if I said it wasn’t a chore at times. My 73 year old pappy rues the choice cuz he likes mowing lawn, likes doing his share, but the push reel is too tough. He also likes to point out that he’s done his share on the push reel back in his childhood and still remembers fondly when his parents upgraded to a motorized mower. Having seen the size of my grandma’s yard I can’t hardly blame him. But I figure I need the exercise. I don’t go to the gym which seems artificial and strange. There is so much physical work that needs to be done and by doing everything by hand I get the opportunity to work out. Mostly its biggest drawback is the time. Its a strange balancing act of matching weather, schedule and personal energy to get ‘er done. The trick to good push reel mowing is to stay ahead of it. When the grass gets tall or is too damp the mower just pushes it over. I also like to go back over it with a weed whip and hit the grass stalks and heavy stems. The end result looks as good as anyone’s. I’ve also come to enjoy the quiet. When Amee and I lived in Toledo I used to call the guy down the street using his leaf blower excessively “manscaping”. Why do by hand which you can do with noisy power tools seems to be the ethic. I am just the opposite. I dig my garden, double dig in fact, by hand, rake my leaves, push reel the lawn, for the quiet and the clean and it just feels more serene. Machines have always made me nervous. I was a natural Luddite and I organize my life to that effect. Sure I have my ’92 pick up but when the timing belt chews its way through the engine block I may not replace it. I enjoy not driving. I’ll bike more, stay closer to home, start walking to the store. Its where we all need to go if we believe in justice or enjoy living on the planet earth. Everyone can’t drive a combustion car and a living planet. We all can have a bike, a place to call home, the internet, and maybe even a push reel mower.

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