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Mowing, Mowing, Mowing

June 4th, 2014

Last night we picked up a new vintage Cub Cadet garden tractor.  We’ve been looking around for one, mostly so I can mow the lawn way faster than in the seven hours it currently takes me with our little 20 inch push mower.  I love to mow and I love to push mow, the exercise is great and it’s a deeply satisfying job.
push mower
This little mower is a champ, we purchased it for $100 about fourteen years ago and it’s still going strong. Mr Chiots had to do a few things to it this spring to get it running, but it’s been mowing and mowing and mowing this season.
Mowing 2
Mowing 1
Lucky for us we got it from our neighbor who bought it new way back in 1988 (at least I think that’s the year).
mowing (2)
I am the chief mowing officer around here, in fact Mr Chiots barely mows. Mowing is one of those chores I thoroughly enjoy, even at seven hours a week. It will be nice to get it finished in at least half the time though, that will leave more time for other garden chores, chiefly adding new ornamental flower beds.

Who does the mowing in your family and what kind of machine do you use?

Old Timey Fun

May 22nd, 2012

Last fall I planted Fall Green Manure Mix from Johnny’s Selected Seeds. It was ready to cut a week ago, but I was waiting for Mr Chiots to do a little maintenance on my scythe.

I got this scythe from my dad, who got it from his grandpa Hatfield (his mom’s dad). He said that as a little boy he loved watching my great grandpa use it to trim the ditches and other areas on the farm.

It took us a while to get it adjusted to what we thought would be a good fit. Then it took us a few swipes to figure out the best method for cutting. All in all, it is much quicker than using a weedwacker or other power tool. 500 square feet was cut in about five minutes.

It was a great time figuring out how to adjust and use this old tool. It’s very old to be sure, quite a treasure to still be using it.

One of the reasons I garden is for peace and quiet, so I’m rather old fashioned when it comes to the tools I choose. I love using a push mower when I can, everything is watered by hand, soil is turned with a shovel not a tiller, leaves are raked with a rake. I also don’t really find that it’s faster to use power tools and they can cost a pretty penny.

What’s your favorite garden chore to do manually?

If you’re interested in reading more about Scythes, how and why to use them, etc. Head on over to Scythe Connection for some great reading!

Garden Dreams: Reel Mower

February 28th, 2009

I have a long list of things I want for gardening, new tools, new books, more pots, more manure, more plants, the list goes on and on. One that I’m really dreaming about is a new reel mower.
I used one of these when I was young, in fact it’s the one I still have and use occasionally. It’s a vintage Craftsman mower from years gone by. It still works, but the tires have no tread left and you can no longer adjust the cutting height.
I like to follow the motto “Cut it high, let it lie” and this mower does not allow me to do that. Perhaps I can find someone who will fix it for me, but until then I’m dreaming of a nice shiny new reel mower (I know not a girl’s typical dream, but designer bags or new shoes are not for me).

Here are a few mowers I have been eying.

scotts-reel-mowerThere’s a Scotts 2000-20 20-Inch Classic Push Reel Lawn Mower Although I don’t really want to buy a plastic mower, I love that my old one is all metal. This one doesn’t have great style, there’s just something very attractive about my old beat up red one. Plus I just don’t like that green & orange color scheme.

razorcut-mowerThere’s the RazorCut premium that’s made in Germany (if it’s anything like their cars it would be a good investment). I have seen this one in person and it seems really nice, but it just looks a little too futuristic for a reel mower. I love the old-fashioned look better. I have heard a lot of good things about this mower though, if you’re going to buy a new one this may be the way to go. Lehman’s also has a bunch of other people powered lawn tools, like a leaf sweeper (although I must say I’m pretty fond of my rake).

lee-valley-tools-mowerThere is also the Lee Valley Tools one (if it’s like anything like the rest of their tools it would be a great mower). This one appeals to me the most because it looks like it’s a no-frills quality mower. I looks most like the old one that I have and I’m sure it’s built to last just as long. The green color is also fantastic, although I do wish it came in red (perhaps a can of spray paint could fix that). I also like the grass catcher, that would be handy for collecting the grass clipping occasionally for my compost pile.

AHHHHH, mowing without the sounds of an engine, only the swish of a blade? No exhaust to pollute the environment or my lungs? No longer running out of gas and having to run in to town. Better for the grass because it actually slices the grass not smashes it. If I can find someone to fix up my old mower I will do that, until them I’m using my gas powered one to mow. If I can’t find someone to fix up my old mower perhaps in a year or two I’ll have a nice reel mower to use, or maybe I’ll dig out my dad’s scythe and learn to use that.

What do you use to mow? a reel mower? (take the poll)

Reading & Watching

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.