Thursday, June 16, 2011

Mowing the Lawn

I enjoy gardening. Yard maintenance in the woods is a different thing.
I came to the cottage this week for the purpose of mowing the lawn. You might ask why someone would drive more than 200 miles to mow the lawn, even if it was a foot and a half high with tassels on the tops. Even though we were hoping the deer would eat it so it wouldn’t be so tall.
I own this somewhat off-the-grid place on the shore of Lake Michigan with my brother. It has been for sale for six years since our mother died and left it to us. Most of my adult children and my two brothers’ adult children use it like a woodsy timeshare. Once in a while one of them will mow the lawn and cut firewood.
To date this year, however, I am the only person who has been here, although Sarah came with me for the long Memorial Day weekend. So I am responsible for the lawn for now. When Sarah and I were here last, we were unable to start the lawn mower. It’s only about thirty years old and might be the oldest mower on this island. I think my father bought it, and he died in 1992. Maybe he bought it when he bought the cottage in 1970. Is that a reason for it not to start? Apparently yes.
I came here to deal with it. This morning I stuffed the mower into the back of my little Toyota Yaris. Did I mention that it was raining? I took this heavy albatross to Dave’s Garage, without calling him first, of course. Dave and this mower are old friends. My husband took it to him at the start of many growing seasons when it wouldn’t start. Dave had us on file. Dave tuned it up for about $76. While he was doing that, I went to Mann’s Mercantile and looked at new lawn mowers. Just under $200. Hmmm.
Sometime during the morning the rain stopped. It stayed cloudy and wet. By 1:00 the mower was home and it was somewhat dry in the woods. Somewhat. The mower started right away. I mowed for a long time, starting with the driest places, which were the once gravel driveway and the sparsely grassed front yard facing the lake. You might know the expression, the grass is always greener over the septic tank. It’s true. Beginning with the septic tank, it was all downhill, not geographically but humanly. The grass was wetter and thicker. The grass over the plumbing mound was very wet and very thick. Mowing was hard work.
Usually I enjoy mowing the lawn. Not this time. I did it because it had to be done. When the grass is a foot and a half tall, it’s time. It was hard work pushing through grass that preferred to fall down instead of being cut, grass that gave me greenish wet shoes and jeans. I worked up a huge sweat. Finally, the mower stopped. It wasn’t out of gas. It was smoking. It had given up, I think. Most of the mound remained unmowed. The mower and I came to the same conclusion. It was time to stop. I found gobs of wet mulch in the underside, impeding the blade. I put it away.
I don’t think I’ll mow tall wet grass for a while again. The deer can have it.
(I must get back onto the grid to publish this. I’ll join the people on the lawn of the library, where people use its wi-fi when the library is closed. That is, if it isn’t raining again.)

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