|Mike on mower, 2008|
In the previous post, comments developed along the theme of mowing the lawn. “Uncle” Dan is enjoying his new John Deere 300 riding mower with 48-inch deck, while Mike recently bought an old Yard Machine with 46-inch deck. Meanwhile, Hallie commented that they use “old technology” -- the whirring push mower.
When I was a child, the push mower was common. That’s the way you mowed your lawn in those days. There’s something comforting about that whirring sound. Then those noisy gasoline mowers came on the scene. A few people had electric mowers –less powerful but quiet; just don’t mow over the cord.
About 1960 my dad got a “self-propelled” push mower, which was a step forward in ease of use. You just released that lever with your foot and the mower took off on its own. It just needed the guidance of the operator. Now Daddy could leave Mother and me to mow the lawn at the farm while he did other chores. Mother was not happy about that, I think. I don’t know if he asked her to mow or if his idea was that I should mow and she decided to job share. (It was the ‘50s, remember, and the division of work along gender lines was alive and well.) At any rate, Daddy did “the hard part” by going around the perimeter of the grounds. Then Mother and I took turns, one round at a time until she decided we could do two, then three, etc. It was a hot day, and she insisted we sip lemonade when we were sitting out.
But, I don’t remember that she and I ever mowed more than a couple of times. For one thing, we don’t water the lawn at the farm, so as hot August approaches, the grass dries and quits growing. The yard in town was another matter. It was a big job, and Daddy did it.
I suppose it was the ‘70s when Daddy bought a riding mower for the farm – a Craftsman from Sears, I think. And as his health failed, our neighbor, friend, and farmer, Neil Miller, mowed the lawn. He said he enjoyed doing it, and he probably did. I’m sure there was at least one upgrade. A riding mower was there as Mike and I learned the ropes of caring for the old place. Mike remembers that he used up that mower and sold it for a hundred dollars. Being an old tinkerer, Mike always replaces the old mower with another old mower, but I know the ride isn’t smooth (like Uncle Dan’s) and that’s noticeable in his back.
I don’t know how they mowed the lawn at the farm in the old days. Maybe Chuck can enlighten us. KW
[The top photo shows Mike on our riding mower in 2008. He wrote "R.I.P." on that mower last week. In the two old photos, Mike mows at the farm with Milo in July 1980. Seems to be solemn work.]