Wednesday, October 25, 2023

My labouring day

This past weekend was the Labour Day Holiday Weekend—something I kind of missed: I got in my head that Labour Day was this coming Monday—the last Monday of October—when, in fact, it’s the fourth Monday. No harm done, of course. This year, Labour Weekend was bit different for me.

In other years, I’ve planted stuff, especially vegetables. I decided not to do that this year because I’ll be away in January, and won’t be here to water any plants or to harvest. I decided I’d skip the vegetable gardening this year (apart from herbs, lettuce, that sort of thing).

Instead, on Monday I decided to mow my lawns (something I’ve done on other Labour Days, it turns out). So I began out front, and used the line trimmer first, and then mowed the lawn. Unfortunately, with all the rain and warmer temperatures we’ve had lately, the “grass” is growing about 10cm a day, I’m sure. Well, maybe that’s a slight exaggeration.

We’d had a bit of rain Sunday night, and that made the lawn quite wet near the earth, so I had to stop and scrape out the plant goop from underneath the mower. I was sure the battery would die before I finished mowing out front, but I managed to mow a bit of the side yard, too, to make it easier for me to get the wheelie bins to the kerb.

The mower had been working so hard that I was also worried that the battery would get too hot (also, because, I had…) and the safety mechanism would kick in and shut the mower off before I was ready to stop. When I took the battery out, it really was hot. I had to let it cool down before I could recharge it, so I wasn’t sure I could finish mowing that day (because the back lawns were even worse than out front, I knew it would probably take two charges). More rain was predicted for this week (of course…), so I knew I’d have to grab opportunities when I could.

As the battery recharged, I went out to use the line trimmer. First, I used up the battery in it, then I used up another (one of our original, low-capacity ones), and part of a third—but I got there. By then the mower battery was recharged, so then I deliberately mowed all the lawn I can see out the windows of my lounge and two of the bedrooms (and most of the lawn visible out my bedroom window), just in case I couldn’t finish.

The mower stopped, as I expected it would, and it was mainly because the battery got too hot, and the mower shut off—which goes to show its safety circuits work. I set it aside to cool, and got ready to make my dinner, assuming that I was probably done for the day.

It used so much battery power in the back because the lawn was quite thick—though not as wet as I thought it would be, and not as wet as out front. The “lawn” was so tall that I had to use my trick of pushing the mower tilted on its back wheels only, then going back over the same row with all four wheels on the ground, but even then I could hear the mower straining (partly because of the excess moisture).

I watched the evening news on TV, and at one point I noticed that the battery was recharged. This was nearing the sport report, when I usually feed Leo. That night, I fed him early so I could attempt to finish the mowing: It took me maybe 6 or 7 minutes, and I was back in the house in time to see the weather report, which—surprise!—predicted rain for Tuesday.

The weather report was right: It rained Monday night, parts of Tuesday, and last night and this morning, too. In fact, the next sunny day MAY be Saturday. Whether perseverance or bloody-mindedness (or both…), I was so glad I got the mowing done, even if it took me all day.

I’m now considering my options more seriously than ever: I could buy a petrol mower so I can finish the damn mowing in one go, or I could buy a second battery for my current mower (for around the same or possibly a higher price than a petrol mower), or I could hire a service (budget permitting) to do the whole thing, front and back. I don’t know what I’ll do, but if this need for three battery charges continues, my mowing adventures almost definitely won’t. Unless it does, I guess.

Meanwhile, I also noticed that the convolvulus has returned with a vengeance (yet again) in the damn raingarden out front. On Friday, I pulled some tendrils out, but since then the areas I pulled stuff out from were filling again, and it had sent long tendrils out onto the lawn (now chopped up, of course). Add it to the list of things that really annoy me about this property, but maybe if I had someone else doing the mowing, I’d mind it a bit less?

My mowing labours on Labour Day were successful, as they always are, but more frustrating than they’ve ever been. Will there be more? Well, yeah, I’m not doing anything immediately, but, long term? That’s anyone’s guess.

There was one more thing about this holiday, though, something that is so absolutely me: I kept thinking about how Labour Day, created to celebrate the 8-hour workday, was something that only came about because of agitation by workers. I thought about how much we’ve all gained from unions, about my family history of union membership, and my own as well. I was grateful that unions and organised labour made it so that it was even possible for me to be annoyed about the difficulty I had mowing my lawns on a public holiday. Perspective is everything.

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