Adventures in Home Ownership 3: Kiss my Grass

Our new house came with a big yard. According to the official paperwork, we have 0.79 acres, which is about 3,823 square yards. That’s a lot of grass to mow! (Actually, in our case, it’s a lot of weeds and clover to mow, but that’s probably a topic for a future blog.) In fact, I should probably be out mowing it now instead of sitting at my computer drinking coffee and writing this blog, but it’s raining, so here I am.

Keeping the yard under control has been an adventure for sure. To begin with, when we moved in at the end of May it was already starting to get overgrown and we did not yet own a lawnmower so we hired someone to come cut for us the first time. Shortly after that, we found a riding mower on craigslist for $350 so I was able to cut it myself, the plan being to do so at least once a week (did I mention it’s raining right now or that it rained last weekend too?). The best of plans, of course, don’t always work out the way they are intended. Rainy weather (like today and last weekend) and maintenance issues with “Ducky” (my affectionate nickname for our lawnmower due to the duct tape holding part of the hood together) means our yard doesn’t always get cut like it should.

Even on good weeks when we can take care of the yard, it’s a two-person job, otherwise it would take hours to complete. My fiancée fires up the push mower (which I bought brand new at Home Depot) while I hop on “Ducky”. She gets all the spots that the rider can’t get to and I get the rest, including the massive back yard. The problem I have, from time to time, is how thick it gets when it has rained and a weekly mowing has been skipped. I’m not always able to lower the deck as much as I want because the blades get bogged down. Even on a higher setting, I still have to stop probably every second or third lap to clear clippings from the deflector.

Excessive rainy periods causing the “grass” to grow super-fast aside, there’s also the adventure of keeping a third hand craigslist riding mower running. I paid $350 for it, but I’ve put another $85 into repairs having had to have tubes put in two of tires (so far) and replace the deck belt. I also replaced the seat with a high back seat to better support my back which was around $60. Now “Ducky” is having issues starting (I think/hope it’s the starter or solenoid) and the belt is slipping off the pulleys again. I just need her to get through one or two more cuttings (hopefully) before autumn fully kicks in and I don’t have to worry about it for a few months. I just hope I can get those last couple of cuts in without having to put too much money into repairs; it’s almost time to do Christmas shopping J. If push comes to shove, I can use the push mower (which I call “Duckling”), but using a 21″ push mower versus a 42″ riding mower to do the entire 0.79 acres would kind of suck.

~ JC

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