Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Vroom! Vroooom!

Yesterday was a banner day for Gorbag The Half-Orc (a.k.a. Marvelous Charles).

You see him finally riding his dream:

Pictures for you

Ever since moving out among the thug deer and the ticks 3 years ago, one thing became clear: To keep the wildlife at bay and away from our back door, we needed to mow approximately 5 of the 8 acres of Wisconsin prairie upon which we reside throughout the growing months of the year. (See, the deer don't like to leave the tall grass and the ticks like to stay in the deer traffic paths. The ticks aren't adverse to eating human when they can get it, but are happiest, again, in the tall grass, where the deer play.)

Therefore, Gorbag and I went shopping for our first riding mower. We went around to places before the snow had thawed and, after comparing advice from friends and online forums, we decided on this little beauty and brought her home (well, as it was 3 years ago, it is actually the 5000 and not the 6500, but looks the same, so good enough for government blogs and so forth).

The snow thawed, the grass grew, and she started breaking down about 2-3 times a season. Fortune had partially smiled upon us as we had ponied up for the extended service plan, where they send the guy out rather than making you bring the damn thing in. Over the past 3 years, we've soaked Sears for the price of the plan plus the mower twice over in service costs. We also exchange Christmas cards with Burt, the service guy. But, while it warms the little cockles of our hearts to stick it to major corporations for sucky products, it doesn't get the grass cut.

As the grass sprouted that first spring in '04, we began noticing various serious landscaper-guys and occasional gentleman ruralites, like us, with this new breed of mower. Fast. Low to the ground. Fast. Tough. Fast. Yellow. Fast. And, best of all, not parked by the side of the garage with the hood up, a person hopping up and down nearby throwing things at it, curse words drifting across the hills.

There was instant desire.

But, "No," we told ourselves. We had a perfectly good (Well, not really "good", but work with us. We'd paid for the damn thing AFTER doing the research.) mower at home. And what if the damn thing broke down every other month? That still meant that it could be used 6 weeks out of 8, right?

That leads us to this year. It broke. And broke again. And almost broke a third time. (There was all this white smoke that started pouring out of it, but it went away when the thing was stopped and didn't return the next day, when it was restarted.) And the second time it took 3 weeks to get it repaired. And the orc part of Charles roared and would not be denied.

So, now he has his new yellow mower, a terror to vegetation everywhere, and, as I recall, he can mow the place in about 2 hours, once he gets the controls down, with a good tailwind, as opposed to 5 hours with the other machine.

Last night, I walked him around the yard and, once again, showed him where things were planted so he wouldn't cut them down. (I do so enjoy deluding myself.) And then he hopped aboard and took 'er for a spin.

Don't worry, though, we are keeping the crappy Garden Tractor for a spare. We're sure that the new one will have the occasional break down (oh, yes, we did spring for the extended service agreement on that one, too). Plus, when they are both working, we can mow in tandem, creating patterns and love knots in the grass or mowing in formation, like fighter pilots, only with 2 of us, on the ground, and much slower.

Pictures for you

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Aah, the joy of being a landowner! I swore when I purchased my first house I would not have any yard so big I couldn't push a manual mower around it, eliminating the frustration of the gas ones. And it worked, too, till those of the male persuasion moved in, testosterone in tact, and a gas machine showed up. One advantage, it gets me out of mowing the lawn since I can't get the gas one started and our lawn now is too big to mow by hand! Aah, the joys of being a landowner. Happy mowing to Charles.

Love, Cathy

10:53 PM  
Anonymous Leigh-Ann said...

Flippy will be so jealous! All she wants from life is her own sexy riding lawnmower, and I keep giving her desert landscaping with cactus and rocks.

3:24 AM  
Blogger Dumdad said...

That looks like one mean machine; the lawn-mower's nice too.

3:30 AM  
Blogger Diana said...

Yes, the only thing better than minimal mowing is not mowing at all. This weekend, though, I am going to learn to use the new mower. Should be interesting. Good thing Charles is not one for recording the moment with a camera.

Leigh-Ann- Poor Flippy!! Charles actually seems to quite enjoy the mowing part, which makes life easier for me. Alas for Flippy that dry heat doesn't lend itself to lush grass, or even the mange grass that we have.

Dumdad- Yes, don't mess with Charles and his implements of vegetative destruction. It's in his blood, as it was in his father's before him.

6:14 AM  
Blogger Lauren said...

The grass looks very nice and inviting all cut and trimmed.

It could be fun (for a minute) to cut the grass on a riding mower.

8:32 AM  
Blogger listie said...

Nice tractor! Lucky Charles! I love the idea of the two of you out there on your tractors, mowing together (can one of the kids get pictures?).

10:09 AM  
Blogger Ariella said...

Apparently you are not having good experiences with your mechanical equipment this year.

Nice mower. Erik will be envious.

10:22 AM  
Blogger CarpeDM said...

Oh, I am so jealous. I am not allowed to use riding lawn mowers anymore, since I disobeyed the Law that is Kari and tried to mow the front lawn after she specifically told me not to (too many roots, possible crashing), pretending I couldn't hear her yelling at me.

I am also not allowed to use chainsaws. Or anything fun. Life is not fair.

I love your writing, especially the last line about you mowing in tandem.

12:46 PM  
Blogger Rozanne said...

So, what plants did Gorbag slay this time with the new superpowerful machine?

2:48 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My one regret in your upbringing is that I never had the opportunity to teach you or your sister how to deal with a crabby mower--we just never had lawn--and you were in doctor school when we did have lawn.

Congrats on the new vehicle. I must be taught how to use it next time I am out there in the growing season. But not this year. See you Christmas.

The Ole RF-er

3:48 PM  
Anonymous christie said...

Nothing says true love like tandem mowing....

I am so jealous my eyeballs are going to bleed. I'll think of you as I'm push mowing my own private hell every weekend (granted it's not even close to 8 acres but when it's 105 outside it sure as hell feels like it)

9:57 PM  
Anonymous Ariella said...

Also, I was wondering if I may call Charles "Gorbag" next time I see him. It is so fitting!

8:55 AM  
Blogger Diana said...

Lauren- Thanks. The dandelions, prairie grass and thistles do look nice cut short.

Listie- Heh, heh. I'm just imagining the kids with a camera: "Hey! a post! Let's get a picture! Hey! a rock! Let's get a picture!...

Ariella- No, not a good year. Somehow, I think if we had a less arduous yard, the Garden Tractor would have had an easier time of it.

Dana- You know, I just don't understand why Kari would have a problem with you running amok with the mower. I'd think she'd be happy for the help. No chainsaws, huh? How about electric hedge trimmers. They could be fun. Think of the hedgy shapes you could make.

Rozanne- To my knowledge, the rhubarb were the only causualties. I haven't been along the path to see if there's been other victims.

Dad- I, for one, am 10 kinds of thrilled that mowing was not part of my childhood. Scraping moss off the roof with a teaspoon was character building enough.

Christie- I was thinking that nothing says bliss like sitting on the deck with your beloved, sipping something iced while watching the kids tandem mow in a few years.

9:15 AM  
Blogger moegirl said...

Excellent mower! Looks like Charles quite enjoys it...

11:53 PM  
Blogger Diana said...

Yes. He went out last night 'just for fun'. I'm a bit concerned.

9:55 AM  
Blogger Mother of Invention said...

He can pretend he is a farmer on his tractor! I can empathise with the mowing down of precious plants! A teenage kid doing our lawn ran over rhubarb AND Black-eyed Susans the same day! GRRR!

6:50 PM  

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