Ode to a dead free lawnmower

by DaniGirl on October 4, 2005 · 19 comments

in Uncategorized

My lawnmower died. Well, the motor part is still working, but the handle snapped clean in half. It actually died about a month ago, just as I was starting the back lawn. Because I am stubborn, and because I suffered some sort of delusion that I could let the lawn go for the season after the end of August, I bent over double and pushed my half-a-lawnmower back and forth for the better part of an hour to finish the job. A lawnmower with an 18 inch handle cutting 6 inch thick grass takes a lot more effort than you might suppose.

So, sadly, I had to put the lawnmower (technically, the two halfs of my ex lawnmower) out on the curb on garbage day. Which seems appropriate, really, because that’s where I got it in the first place. About a year and a half ago, I was walking home from picking up Tristan at daycare one day, and there it was, sitting at the end of someone’s driveway with a “FREE” sign taped to it. Free, I might have mentioned previously, is one of my favourite words.

So I snagged it. Did I mention that I was pushing the double stroller at the time? And that I had the dog with me? We got some priceless looks that day, our little caravan with me pushing the double carrying about 70 lbs of chubby babies and restraining the 100 lbs dog on her leash with one hand, dragging the free lawnmower behind us with the other hand. But did I mention FREE?

For what it’s worth, and to provide you with an accurate record of my complete history of lawnmower ownership (hey, it’s not easy coming up with something to write *every*single*day* you know), my first ever own lawnmower was also free. Well, it wasn’t exactly mine, but a loaner from the benevolent ÜberGeek. When I scored a free lawnmower of my own, I sent that one back into rotation among the mowerless. Everybody deserves at least one free lawnmower in a lifetime, don’t you think?

Our driveway donor lawnmower lasted an impressive two full summers before giving up the grass last month. Since it perished at the end of August, I was pretty sure we could just let the lawn go native for a few weeks and soon those long, waving blades would be buried under an avalanche of snow. Nice theory, except this is the endless summer of 2005, where it tops out at 26C in October. In OCTOBER!

I knew I had to do something when I’d let the dog out into the back yard and lose her in the meadow. And tall grass makes a great hiding spot for poop-bombs, turning a quick pick-up into a search and destroy mission. I had to finally give in and borrow my folks’ lawnmower on the weekend. And I discovered that most wondrous of grass-cutting options, the mulch. No more projectile grass cuttings! No more digging the swing and slide out from green haystacks after every lawn trim. (Um, yes, we really do have to work at cutting the grass more frequently.) Mulching rules!

I was going to write this post yesterday and solicit your lawnmower feature recommendations. But showing my usual lack of impulse control, when we went to Canadian Tire last night to see what remainders might still be hiding amidst the newly arrived snow blowers and Christmas decorations, I found a display model identical to the one I had borrowed from my parents, and they were willing to knock 15% off the price to be rid of it. So I bought it.

So now that it’s too late, tell me anyway what’s your favourite lawnmower feature? I personally am deathly afraid of gas mowers, so I was happy to snag an electric. (The boys – all three of them – heavily advocated for a ride-on, but I don’t think our yard is large enough to allow for a turning radius.) I opted not to get the bag feature at the back and saved a stunning $12 more.

More importantly, how old do you think the boys have to be before I can force them (ahem, politely request their assistance) to cut the grass? I remember doing it at age 10 or 11, but I figure they’re big boys, I can start ’em early.

I should’ve got the model with the harness.

Edited to add: here’s a better question. What’s the best FREE thing you ever got??

{ 19 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Flargin October 4, 2005 at 2:25 pm

free lawn mower. it doesnt get any better than that. from now on i shall scan the horizen for someone pushing a double stroller, restraining a dog and dragging a lawn mower. as it sounds like one of lifes more delightful sights

2 UberGeek October 4, 2005 at 2:39 pm

A couple of weeks ago Y the boys and I were cruising around a local community on the pretense of looking for landscaping ideas. In reality we were killing time during the witching hour because we were both to tired to go to the park, or entertain the kids.
Y spotted something in the backyard of one f the houses and had me back up to get a better look. It turned out to be a personal observatory. At the same time the owners were walking out of the house. We accosted them to get confirmation. Some people still doubt the word of UberGeek.
As it turns out I was right and the folks were gracious enough to give Liam a tour of the observatory.

3 UberGeek October 4, 2005 at 2:39 pm

How does this lead to lawn mowers? Hold on I am getting to it.
As it turns out the homeowner was a software developer that writes the robotic control software that drives the telescope remotely. Like in January when it is to cold to huddle inside his plastic dome.
As the conversation moved to robotics he also commented that he had a robotic lawn mower. Which he was very eager to demonstrate to the my eager sons, and perhaps their father J
So the best feature I have ever seen on a lawnmower. How about automaticity? Fire this little puppy up and it cuts the grass for you. All on a rechargeable battery.

4 Danigirl October 4, 2005 at 2:47 pm

Sorry UG, you lost me after “personal observatory.” Way wicked cool, although a robotic lawnmower would also provide endless hours of entertainment – I’m imagining the dog’s reaction, specifically.
Flagrin, welcome! Thanks for your sweet comment. I peeked at your site – looks very cool, but is a very, very long way from Ottawa.
xo Dani, wondering if Santa could fit a personal observatory into his sleigh this year?

5 UberGeek October 4, 2005 at 3:00 pm

He also mentioned a robotic vaccuum cleaner. Y is actually looking into one of them.

6 Dean Dad October 4, 2005 at 4:54 pm

Mulching definitely rules.
The coolest freebie ever was a nasty ugly woolly green chair I rescued from a curb in 1991, and used faithfully until, um, 1999. Verily, it was ugly, but it was awfully comfy. And in grad school, ‘ugly’ for ‘free’ was a good trade.

7 Suzanne October 4, 2005 at 5:34 pm

My favorite lawnmower feature is my husband’s pushing of it.
Signed: Lazy, gender-stereotyped lady of the house.

8 jo(e) October 4, 2005 at 6:46 pm

I have three times broken the handle of my lawnmower. I am hard on lawnmowers. Usually, I just replace the handle.
Well, I have had to replace lawnmowers too. Last fall, mine caught on fire. I honestly have no idea why.
You do have to start the kids mowing lawns young. By the time they are old enough to do a good job, they will have social lives and such and will never be around to help.

9 nancy October 4, 2005 at 6:47 pm

I second Suzanne’s motion…that or the $20 I pay the kid when hubby is traveling the world.

10 nancy October 4, 2005 at 6:55 pm

Oops – I’ll answer your (edited and added) question: sex.

11 Danigirl October 4, 2005 at 7:03 pm

Jo(e) – replacing the handle was an option?? Damn, I guess I should’ve asked the question before I went shopping!
Nancy, I am tempted to ask about other than free sex that might make you consider free sex such a bonus, but perhaps that’s a question for another day.

12 BeachMama October 4, 2005 at 7:05 pm

Dani, if only you had told this story last fall when we were clearing the garage. We had a free “Lawn Boy” that was the same age as my Husband. His Dad bought it the year it was born and it was still ticking!! Nobody we knew needed a free mower, until of course it was gone! We are now using Father in Law’s second “Lawn Boy” but, it is definately not as good as the old sucker. Even our old neighbours borrowed it for a summer or two! Free is the best thing! I think our van was the coolest freebie we got, although now with the price of gas we are reconsidering 😉
Anna – who loves Free, SALE, OUTLET… 50% off…

13 BeachMama October 4, 2005 at 7:09 pm

Oh yes, I forgot to add.. start early on the mowing we were doing it around 9 years old. My Stepson has no idea how to work the thing, he thinks only Dad’s should mow… he has another thing coming for next summer I tell ya!

14 Jen October 4, 2005 at 8:53 pm

We have no lawn but we got a new vacuum on the weekend which is very exciting for me!

15 nancy October 5, 2005 at 12:49 am

It was just the first thing that popped into my head. It’s free and it is goooood. I don’t see the problem.

16 Running2Ks October 5, 2005 at 12:59 am

First, I sit in mourning over your lawnmower. I shall write a eulogy in haiku:
Grass cutting machine
Does the yard work no longer
Hire young boys – 5 bucks
I got a free motor for my air conditioner.

17 Marla October 5, 2005 at 4:09 am

Here’s an idea – perennials! No grass = no mowing! Have you seen my yard?
Best free thing? I have a nice vintage buffet in the kitchen. It was being tossed out on a garbage day about five years ago in our old neighbourhood. We still laugh about how I made Steve prop it half in and half out of the trunk and run for three blocks behind the car holding onto the other end of it. It was really hard to find just the right speed, but after a few “TOO FAST!”s and sudden stops, we figured it out. Um, I laugh a little harder than Steve does, but we do both laugh about this one.

18 SilverCreek Mom October 5, 2005 at 5:37 pm

Let’s see…was it the lawn mower we used for years…No that’s not it.
The living room set that we recovered (ad i would love to heave now) No that’s not it.
The filing cabnet…nope….
all the books someone gave me…nope….
well I guess it has to be the piano we just recently got. I love to hear Miranda practice on it.
😉 I can’t say my kids even though I want to becasue THEY AIN”T FREE! LOL!

19 Renee October 6, 2005 at 4:48 am

My daughter is just learning to mow the grass (we have a riding lawnmower). She’s 9 – almost 10. My husband still does the tricky parts.

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