I never once went "vroom vroom" as a kid. I hate mechanical noise, think the internal combustion engine is the worst thing that’s ever happened on the planet, and believe power tools make a culture soft and allow Asian nations to beat us on science and math tests.
But last summer, I just gave up on the ancient reel mower I’d been using for the past five years. It was given to me by a friend who works for Environmental Defense. He’s spending his career trying to curb greenhouse gas emissions, but NO WAY was he using such a thing.
It made mowing the lawn a sweaty, difficult job and then made me feel foolish and taken advantage of to boot. It wouldn’t even cut a seed stalk in the grass, let alone a dandelion stem. I’d get done mowing and have to go out with scissors to finish the job. So I tried to have its blades sharpened last summer and spent a day being sent from one machine shop to another, all over Saratoga County, vainly trying to find someone willing to do the job. That was it for me–basta!
So I bought the Black & Decker corded electric model above for about $230. The model with a battery was about $400, and since I’m only mowing a small urban yard within cord distance of my garage, it works fine. Yeah, I do have to flip the cord over myself all the time, though I think it you were less spatially retarded than I am, you could figure out a way to keep the cord behind the mower most of the time.
But basically, I am deeply grateful to Black & Decker. I love the fact that the machine is on only when you lift a lever to the handle. Stop squeezing the handle, and it’s off. That means that when I stop every ten seconds to get pine cones out of the lawn up ahead, I don’t have to listen to an idling machine while I pitch them into my flower beds. I love the fact that it no longer takes an hour to mow my bit of lawn, it takes ten minutes. And while I have zero interest in the lawn, it is the frame for the garden, and I feel about an unmowed lawn the same way I used to feel back when I colored my hair and my roots were showing.
Of course, Black & Decker hasn’t solved every problem with my mangy-looking lawn–like the fact that lawn grasses don’t want to grow in such extremely sandy and acidic soil. Or the fact that the homeowner refuses to give something as boring as a lawn a drop of supplementary water or a lick of fertilizer. Someday, the mower will be replaced…with bluestone. Or the homeowner will be replaced with somebody richer and more fastidious. Until then, great piece of equipment.Posted by Michele Owens on May 9, 2008 at 3:31 am, in the category Taking Your Gardening Dollar.