Monday, October 05, 2020

Moving on mowing

The back lawn as it looked after
I mowed it this past Saturday.
It’s fair to say that looking after a house is a lot of work. There’s the usual stuff—keeping the place clean and tidy, taking the rubbish out, etc.—and there are also inevitably repairs and maintenance. People with some land around their house also have to look after it. This can take some getting used to.

Nigel and I always had property that needed to be looked after, and sometimes I did a better job of that than other times. We had two houses with lawns, and we had a lawn mowing service take care of both. In our last house, I was lobbying Nigel for us to get a mower, but he balked at the idea, mostly out of a legitimate concern that I might not do it often enough. My main reason for wanting to do that was that I knew the regular exercise would be good for me, but it was also partly because it cost us to have it mowed every time, and I realised that in the long run we’d do better mowing it ourselves. Nigel pointed out how long it would take us to reach the break-even point, especially because we both wanted a battery-powered model rather than a traditional petrol one. It didn’t help that our neighbours had a lot of problems with the one they bought. So, we never got one.

When I moved into my current house, I decided to get a lawn mower (a different battery-powered brand than our neighbours tried), as I wrote about at the time (I included a photo of the mower in a post some time later). Since then, this lawn mowing thing has mostly been as I hoped it would be, and not (often) as Nigel feared it would.

After moving in this house, I’m pretty sure that the only time I’ve closed the Exercise Ring on my watch was when I mowed the lawns—in fact, it’s so unusual that I mention it most times. So, I know it’s good for me. What I didn’t realise at the start was how therapeutic mowing a lawn is, inducing a kind of zen-like productive time that includes physical activity. I last mowed lawns when I was in my late teens or early 20s, so if I found it therapeutic back then, I’d long forgotten it.

I mentioned closing my Exercise Ring on Sept. 25.
However, my track record was not perfect, sometimes taking too long between mows of the lawns, the back lawn in particular (overall, it grows faster and thicker than the front lawn, though it’s patchy, too). This is what Nigel was afraid would happen, though I think he imagined the lawns looking far worse than they did here, though maybe they were exactly like he thought they'd look. In any case, and in my defence, winter is a difficult time to mow lawns in Hamilton with a lot of rain and occasional frosty cold snaps. On the other, other hand, I could and should have planned better for winter mowing. I know now; next winter should be better.

Mowing the lawns is such a basic thing, something other people do without even thinking about it. But, as I said, I haven’t done it in some four decades, so it’s almost new to me. I’ve found that I often don’t feel motivated to do it, but I always feel good once I get started and I have a huge sense of accomplishment when I’m done. That’s reason enough right there.

I still have to spray the lawns with a gypsum spray to help break up the and loosen the clay soil, and since it needs to be watered-in, I’m waiting for a rainy day, for a change. Then in a couple weeks I’ll spray the weed and feed which should help deal with most of the weeds as well as fertilise the actual lawn. I’ll even re-seed the areas that are still too empty.

Basically, I’m trying to get the lawns ready for summer, in case it’s a normal hot and dry one: Getting the lawns thicker and better able to absorb water will make them healthier overall.

To help get there, I’ve been mowing regularly, slowly lowering the height of the mower. I mowed the back lawn on Saturday (the front one didn’t need it), lowering the mower height from last the previous week. The end of this week, I plan on mowing both lawns (depending on the weather), lowering the level once more, then that should be the height I’ll use to mow the lawns roughly every other week (depending on weather and how fast it grows because of the weather).

By this time next year, my initial efforts at “terraforming” my property will all be complete, and my lawns should be looking really good. I hope. At any rate, I get something out of it and I’ll even hit the break-even point in a few months. I’d classify this as a success, and I know that Nigel would too, though maybe not out loud.

Looking after a house and yard is a lot of work, and this can take some getting used to. I’m well on the way to getting the hang of it.


Roger Owen Green said...

The only person more anal about lowering the height of the lawnmower than me is YOU!

Arthur Schenck said...

Hahaha, then I've unlocked an achievement!