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Day #8 – Hardware, Sharp and Noisy

I did something today I have never done before and I’m not 100% proud of it. I bought a gas-powered lawn mower. I don’t like them: they’re noisy; they’re smelly; they give off a crazy amount of emissions for the amount of work they’re performing… and they take up too much space in my precious barn.

The best solution, in my opinion would be to have no lawn at all. There are many parks around us within walking distance so if I really felt motivated to roll on some grass, I’d only need to walk a block or two. We’ve been guided by the motto: “More Hoe, Less Mow” but we haven’t entirely eliminated grass from our yard yet. Our front lawn is small and square. Our back yard has only a 3′ wide path of grass that snakes around the beds and one small snaking path of grass

For years, we tried to use –and tried to LOVE — a human-powered, rotary push mower. To be fair, it worked really quite well for our front yard. Our backyard, however, with its curved beds made the rotary push mower less effective (and made the other alternative, an electric mower almost entirely out of the question.)

And then of course there was the matter of the harvest.

The harvest? The only reason that we really tolerate much grass at all is so we can harvest the clippings and with the rotary mower, this meant raking the lawn after every cut. The clippings from an untreated lawn are a great addition to a compost. They provide nitrogen needed to break down the “brown” carbon components, like leaves. We also use some grass clippings as a mulch directly on the beds. I like them as a mulch because they are very fine textured and I can sprinkle them over seedlings in a way that I can’t with other, denser kinds of mulch. They also have a relatively attractive appearance, especially after they turn a little brown and let the green foliage stand out. A word of warning, though about adding too many grass clippings directly to your compost pile. They have a tendency to matt together and form a layer that is impenetrable to water and air. And without air, they’ll smell like cow manure. Yup. Cow manure.

So we bought that perfect suburban appliance, the lawnmower, today. If it matters, we first checked at the local repair shop to see if they had any used models in stock. Nope, it’s a busy time for them. As soon as a used one comes in, it goes out. Does it matter that we’re going to use it to cut the lawn of the 80 lady next door, because we are? Why do I still feel so darned guilty about this?

Maybe I just need to make sure that this is the LAST gas-powered lawn mower I buy, that by the time this one wears out, I’ll have a better solution.

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