“Ain’t no point in beatin’ a dead horse….’course, can’t hurt none either.” Author Unknown
I am Master of my domain, Queen of my castle, Lady of my manor, Countess of the county! Prior to my single status, I was exempt from certain responsibilities. Now certain challenges have fallen upon me and I have tackled them with hesitancy and reservation. Once accomplished though I have become empowered. I am woman, hear me roar! I speak of yard work.
While I have alluded, alright admitted, to my princess status in a previous blog or two, I am not afraid to work hard and get my hands dirty. When it comes to yard work, I don’t really have a choice. Since my current budget does not allow the luxuries of a gardener, though that would be fun, I must dive in and do it myself. My yard, while fit for a castle, is a beast of a yard. It rests on an acre and a half on a rather steep hill, surrounded by a moat of trees. To maintain such an estate requires use of several pieces of mechanical equipment.
To entertain use of such equipment, I fashion my work shoes, some raggedy pants, and a beat up t-shirt. With my hair up, visor on, and $5 shades from Wal-Mart, I am quite the picture of ruggedness ready to tackle a manly job. Each item has had its own nuances, requiring the right amount of that special touch to get ‘em going: the leaf blower, the weed whacker, the hedge trimmer, the lawn mower, and alas my coveted John Deere tractor.
The leaf blower is really fun to use. Of course, taking care of leaves with some good old fashioned raking is better exercise but, considering the size of my lot, I have a lot of ground to cover and blowing is more efficient. Besides perusing the yard with a motor on my back is enough work for one gal. I am an expert blower now but back when I was a virgin I had the darnedest time trying to get that thing started. I would pump the gas into the fuel line, pull the string thing, fluctuate the gear settings, get a little motor action and then nothing. I spent hours doing this, cursing, sweating, shouting, and eventually kicking the thing where the sun don't shine. Then one day my neighbor and I were talking. I told him I couldn’t get my leaf blower to work. He pointed out to me that the off switch was on. You know what? I flicked the switch to “on” and that baby started right up. I am now really good at blowing.
Ugh, the dreaded weed whacker; my most despised piece of yard equipment. If I were smarter and of the more technical mind, I would invent a better weed whacker. One that doesn’t quit so quickly, doesn’t break its string every five seconds, one that automatically reloads and doesn’t require pounding on pavement, one that is more user friendly, careful not to have such a quick trigger, shooting debris into shins and eyes. There is just so much I would do to improve on this mechanical tool. I have yet to master the weed whacker and I have about given up trying. In fact, it currently sits in my garage, dissected into three pieces. To rectify the edging and weed creeping into garden beds, I have caved and resorted to using Round Up to edge my beds. I hate doing because I try to be environmentally friendly, but it gets the job done without all the mess and hassle. (I know I will be hearing from my EPA cousin on this one.).
The hedge trimmer is a beautiful creation of electronic yard equipment I just recently discovered. A well groomed yard goes a long way in keeping in good with the neighbors. Those shrubs grow fast. I found that a good bush whacking cleans things up nicely and the hedge trimmer is the piece to get the job done. There are some precautions to consider. First, while it works really well on shrubs and hedges, it also works really well on jeans and extension cords. I have learned that whatever is in its way, it will trim. I am lucky to have my leg and my life. Cutting live wires is a risky proposition.
Ah the lawn mower, my little hummer. This has had very little to learn surprisingly. I can start it up just fine but every now and then it needs gas. “Hmmm, which hole for the gas? Not the one for the oil. Oops!! Oh and what this random cap I found on the garage floor? I don’t know, don’t think I need it so I’ll just throw it out. Oops! Gas tank lid for mower. That’s alright, nothing a little Saran Wrap, aluminum foil and a hair band can’t cure.” Thanks to some creative ingenuity, my little hummer is leak free and happy.
The tractor; I am queen of the hill on my coveted John Deere; master of my domain. I rule the tractor. There is just something about the power of the motor under your body. With all the quirks in the topography of the yard I sometimes feel like I an expert downhill skier maneuvering moguls on an icy slope. Focus and strategy are key. You do not want the mower to tip. That would be bad. Too steep in one area and the grass clippings and I will become one. Patience is key. Sometimes Johnny can be sensitive. He is limited in his capabilities as he strictly cuts grass, but he does it so well. Sometimes I tempt him by running over pine cones, rocks, tennis and whiffle balls, but he lets me know such adventures are too much and he responds by growling as he viciously spits out the debris torn in shreds. Some days Johnny just doesn’t feel like starting. When this is the case, I give my ole Deere a rest and try to rev him up later.
Recently, with fall in full force, and the moat of trees around my house, I had to contend with a real leaf project. Several weeks had passed since Johnny and I had ridden. I went to start him up and he just wouldn’t turn over. I gave some lubrication to the motor, caressed the engine a little and still I couldn’t get Johnny up and running. I was really in the mood to ride him. I had leaves to run over and he was just the piece for the job. I was forced to resort to my trusty leaf blower. I spent hours blowing until the sun set and darkness prevailed. I still hadn’t forgotten about Johnny. I was curious if perhaps the mood suited him now that he had some time to think about working for me? So I moseyed on over to my Deere, jumped right on, turned him on, and low and behold he was ready to ride.
The yard was pitch dark but my Johnny has some pretty strong headlights. He’s manufactured for such situations. I rode my hot rod all over the yard, seeing nothing but the couple of feet he lit for me. Up and down, back and forth, together we worked to make a beautiful landscape.
Apparently we were really loud. My neighbors Debbie and Dave happened to be outside checking out their Christmas lights. They heard a mower in the distance. They turned to each other and said, “Is someone mowing their lawn at night?” Dave turned to Debbie and said, “I bet it’s MB.”
The next morning Debbie called to inquire what the racket was on my property. She inquisitively inquired, “Were you cutting your lawn in the dark last night?”
To which I excitedly replied, “Yes, yes, yes!! It was exhilarating, empowering, so much fun using those headlights. I always wanted to ride in the dark. Debbie, there is nothing like cutting the grass at night.”
To which she replied…
“You may be a red neck when you mow your lawn in the dark.”
Don’t that just crack yer yaller. I was grinning like a opossum shitting peach seeds. Can’t argue with that one. I done did that. Not worth a hoot and a holler. If ifs and buts were candied nuts oh what a Christmas it would be. That’s all I gots to say.