Saturday, August 26, 2006

Just Puttering Along

I got up this morning and charged out the front door to inspect the lawn situation. Everything was soaking wet from rain we had all night long. Darned rain.

The Mrs. made us go out shopping. We returned the rental car, stopped at Lowe's, Pier 1 Imports, Target, Sportsman's Warehouse, McDonald's, and Swings'n'Things.

We were mostly unsuccessful in our shopping endeavors, though we managed to spend over $400 nonetheless.

And The Mrs. managed to get lost in the one mile between our house and the gas station. She was following me to return the rental car, but she decided to follow some other guy instead. It was strange, since I said, "I'm going to stop at the gas station right before the highway," and she decided to turn left at a county road that goes to the fairgrounds. A road called "Fairgrounds Blvd." Not a road called, "Gas station right next to the highway." I had to call her on her cell when she didn't show up at the gas station.

Finally, though, we got home after lunch. MaxieC went down for his nap, and I headed to the garage. I pushed the tractor out of the garage before starting it, as The Mrs. made it plainly clear that she does not want me starting it up in the garage.

When she cleans up the garage enough to park her minivan in there, I'm going to insist she push it in and out of the garage without it running as well.

Though I am sure she will ignore me. If there's one thing The Mrs. is good at, it's making rules that don't apply to her.

At any rate, I started in on the front, left side of the lawn. This section of lawn has a lot of obstacles. There are numerous planting beds, there is a ditch, there are sharp corners with fences, and there's even a sprinkler head that is a couple inches too high that the previous owner piled river rocks around. I figured I'd get my feet wet with some low speed maneuvering over here first, and then open her up when I hit the flats out back.

I was thinking to myself, "Self, you should have someone taking some pictures here. You know you're going to need them for the blog. Nothing draws in the ad click revenue like pictures." But I didn't want to trouble The Mrs., since she was trying to get MaxieC to sleep and trying to get HannieC to do some of her homeschool work.

Then all of a sudden, The Mrs. pops up with a camera in her hand. Well well well. You never can tell.

Here's the maiden voyage of the lawn tractor. I'm about 50 yards into the mow, and I'm edging along the planting beds.

Pretty good turning radius on this thing, for a tractor. The claim is either 16" or 18" depending on which version of the manual you read. It's not a ZTR, but it did pretty well.

Now see this here corner is a problem. Got a little peninsula of grass bordered on two sides by rocks and a third by a fence. You have to go forwards and backwards a bunch to mow it. This is the point where I decided to kick in the reverse mow override. By federal law, lawn tractors are not allowed to mow in reverse by default. Mine stalls if you go into reverse without shutting off the blade first. I'm pretty sure it was a Democrat who thought up this law. Especially since it's a total do-nothing, feel-good law that allows you to mow in reverse just fine as long as you have to hit a switch to do it. Once you hit the switch, you can mow in reverse forever until you shut down the engine. Then you have to hit it again after restarting.

How retarded is that?

Now I'm over by the swingset doing one of those things that the manual tells me not to - mowing across a slope. But it's just a little slope, and I didn't come close to tipping over.

As far as I know.

This is the one I like to call, "Hey, wait a minute. Isn't this the tree with the giant wasp nest in it?" The pumpkin vine is dead ahead, encroaching on the grass area. There's actually about an 18" diameter pumpkin right there, but you can't see it cuz the tractor is in the way.

The Childrens sit on the deck to spectate. It's about an hour after I started, and MaxieC is up already. You may have to double-click the picture to see them. They're eating ice cream sandwiches.

If you look closely, you'll see a big smile on my face.

Now I'm way over there, but still smiling!

After I finished mowing (about 1 hour and 45 minutes - but I'll do better next time), I taught HannieC how to drive the tractor. She's quite a hot dogger.

MaxieC tried to drive, too, but he couldn't turn the wheel. No power steering on a lawn tractor.

I had a great time. The tractor did well. If I could change one thing, I'd ask for more speed in reverse. Seems it doesn't go over about 2mph in reverse, but gets up to a blistering 5.5mph going forwards. The 20hp engine performed well, and it seemed to use about 1 gallon of gas for the two hours I was out there running it.

I may have to see if I can beat my time tomorrow.


Mavis Dinglehorn said...

It took you 1.75 hrs to mow yer lawn on a rider? Wow! Didnt realize you had that much grass- thats a lot of weed killer to put on.

Anonymous said...

Why are you going to try to beat your time? That'll be less time away from the Childrens. You should say to yourself, "Self, I didn't do a really good job. I should go a little slower and be more meticulous. I should also probably mow the lawn more often."

Anonymous said...

Hey Bro, don't you know that it is DANGEROUS, HIGHLY FROWNED upon, UNSAFE to ride the childrens on the riding mower? I am worried about my cute little niece & nephew. I know, I am showing my tendency to not take risks.

ellie said...

yeah that scene with max and reminded me of brittney spears.

do you listen to music when you mow the lawn?

Anonymous said...

Hmmmm.....Ear protection? You're in CO now, so ditch the ear protectors and get a nice hat, pair of jeans and boots to go with that tractor.

The JohnnyB said...

Did it come w/ a beer holder? Does it come w/ a little 6-pack cooler behind the seat?

Can you here it if you belch while mowing? Can you here it if you fart?