Saturday, August 8, 2009

What's wrong with a simple push mower?

So it was a beautiful Saturday morning here, dispelling any excuse I might've had for not taking the mower to our shaggy patch of grass out back. I'd heard James mention a lawn mower in one of his many disjointed spiels, and while I'd taken a peek in the shed -- seeing nothing that really qualified as a mower, mind (yes, wait for it) -- this was my first serious trip back there.

What can I say?
Tea was busy cleaning up our little gazebo as I came around the corner, confused expression on my face, and a bizarre orange contraption in my hands (see right). It reminds me of an enormous orange bowler hat with a handle shoved in the side of it. (Nerd moment: or those tanks from The Phantom Menace, on second thought. Have no fear, Gungans, this sucker may tousle your floppy ears at worst.) My furtive attempts at pushing it didn't result in much -- certainly no hovering, that's for sure, but I'm getting ahead of myself again -- except turning the lawn under it into what could only be described as a giant green cowlick. I didn't realize I'd actually said, "What's wrong with a simple push mower?" aloud until Tea busted out laughing, telling me that that absolutely had to be the title of this post.

In theory, and according to Flymo's site -- as in flying mower, presumably -- this thing is supposed to get enough air under it so that it simply hovers across the lawn, cutting as it goes. Tea found some pictures that implied our model was one-handed -- leaving the other free for your cocktail, no doubt -- but, as I said to her at the time, mark my words, this thing'll give me a hernia before we're ready to head home; it simply would not move! And if you did happen to get it moving forward -- a herculean effort involving both hands and a bent back -- any backward motion to catch a spot you missed resulted in the whole orange bit coming up. This happened three, maybe four, times before I heard a big crack -- I'm used to those now, of course, dear readers -- which was part of the blade flying off as it hit the ground (see right). Luckily, it just snapped back on.

Eventually I had the lawn in a somewhat-consistent state of overlapping circles, and started thinking about how I might trim the edges. Trim is the operative word, I reflected, as I realized that what I'd taken for tree shears of some sort -- "That's odd; they don't have any trees to prune." -- were actually large garden scissors for clipping the bits that our garden vacuum missed. Honestly, I don't think I could've felt more out of place there if you'd told me I was tending a Martian garden. But the grass wasn't going to cut itself, so back to the grind I went.

Here's some shots of our somewhat-cleaned-up patio area:


  1. OMG, what a great read ... keep up the good work Jae. Stephen is completely fascinated and is looking it up on utube.

  2. Tea did the same thing. :-) She found lots of the gas-powered version that seemed to work quite well. I think the fact that the inside of ours is _covered_ in grass clippings that are almost fused to its surface may have something to do with its lead-balloon-like qualities. :-)

    Also, later in the day we heard our neighbours start up something in their backyard that sounded suspiciously like a vacuum. Like a shot, Tea was up in our guest bedroom window to get a view of the goings-on. Turns out they have an electric model a few up from ours, and while Tea did say it really looked easy to use, she said their lawn was so short that it hardly needed it; it was like they were simply vacuuming it. :-) So I think that's another key point: do it every single week, as this thing can't handle any growth to speak of. Fun times!

  3. Yeah, funny eh? Mowing every week - such fun!! I know he watched a video where the dude periodically flipped the unit over to dump the clippings... once you chisel out the old stuff, this is probably the ticket. :)