Friday, June 5, 2009

MOWING BLUES (THAT WOULD BE DARK BLUE)

CLICK ON PHOTO TO ENLARGE So, here I go again. Three weeks ago I got the ol zero turn mower out and commenced to mow the almost four acres I'm responsible for. I get about a quarter of it done when the engine lost power. It almost wouldn't turn the blades. Back home I drove to hitch up the trailer and load up the mower. Of course this is a day off work. Now, to drive the sixteen miles to Lenoir city where the small engine repair shop is. The guy says "it will be awhile till we can get to it. Maybe couple weeks." Great! Nothing I can do. Three weeks later and about six torrential downpours I went to pick it up. That was two days ago. It poured rain yesterday. But, today was overcast and cooler. I drove up the hill and fired up ol reliable. I had to raise the deck to cut the grass high as the lawn looked like a hay field. It was a foot and a half in some places. The wet grass packed tightly under the deck and I had to stop frequently to clean it out. The blades were evidently bent as there was a slope effect across the expanse of grass I had just cut, exactly the width of the blades. Off I went to Maryville, sixteen miles the other direction, to buy new blades. Once back on the hill with the new blades and thirty minutes after that, I was mowing again. Fifteen minutes into the job; the mower simply stopped forward motion. The engine was running perfectly. Now what! No reverse either. Back to town I went to hitch up the trailer. It was practically impossible to load the thing myself and it had no forward motion. I had to lever it off the lawn and into the trailer with a two by four. I had to finish the mowing of the main yard. Another couple days of growth and a bush hog would have to be rented or a company would have to be called in to mow it for the owner. The owner, incidentally is out of town on a trip. Out comes the ever reliable Snapper self propelled walk behind mower. I walked behind that thing for three hours until I had the yard in front of the house done. The zero turn is on the trailer. I will take it back to the engine repair place in the morning. Of course that's my day off too. I wrote a piece about my thoughts on mowing and lawns in this blog a few weeks ago. This goes hand in hand with that writing and reinforces my belief about mowing grass. Lawns and lawn mowers are money pits and an absolutely total waste of time. To follow that machine around an area covered with weeds, or ride on one of those damn things is a mindless adventure in futility. The weeds (grass) will simply grow tall again. Whacking weeds down close to the ground and calling it grass is senseless and expensive. Look at my situation here. The first problem this season costs $70.00 labor and about $15.00 in gasoline for the truck round trip to haul the thing back and forth to and from the repair shop. Then I had to buy blades for it as the others were bent. There goes $56.00. Then theres the $6.96 each spark plugs I bought and installed when the engine lost power. And here I go again back to the engine repair place to fix what I think is the hydrostatic transmission. I believe we've used seven gallons of gas so far this year mowing the damn stuff which is about $19.00. That should add up to about $172.00 so far this year just to whack weeds into grass length. And of course the mower cost around $3200.00 when it was bought three years ago. It's nuts! And this is a lawn that is in the middle of 40 acres on top a mountain that no one can see. The tragedy is that the mower is broken again and I bet it will have a hefty service repair bill. I guess the bottom line is; (see below) Which engine would you rather be messing with on your day off. Photo A or Photo B. PHOTO A PHOTO B