My new yard work buddy!

It’s that time of year. Magically, one hour of every day is now needed to water and weed the vegetables I’ve planted in the garden, keep up with the mowing and pop the dandelions out of the so-called lawn. I’m talking about yard work.


Bruce and I used to share the mowing, but he was the one who maintained the mower, procured the gas to run it, etc. I am not a fan of the noise, vibration and fumes of gas mowers, nor the carbon they put into the air. In the spring of 2019, when I was slowly realizing that all of the yard work was now mine, I was relieved to find an old-style reel mower in the garden shed, left behind by the folks we’d bought the house from in 2018.


Technologically, the reel mower is my kind of machine. Look, Ma, no gas! It requires a lot of muscle but it gets the job done well enough. But this year- -gheez! I just couldn’t face another summer of running behind it to get up enough momentum to attack the many invasive species, such as Bermuda grass, that provide the green around here.


With help from YouTube, I tried to start the gas mower, which had been sitting idle since fall 2018. As ever with gas mowers, I had no luck (another reason I dislike them). Hyper-aware that the grass was growing every second of every day whether I had the means to mow it or not, I looked online at new, tougher reel mowers. But then- –


Then you remembered that, in the 21st century, you had access to electricity.


Thank you, Lily, for your time-honored fourteen-year-old snark. I turned my query to electric mowers, then queried friends about their experiences with them. It soon became evident that a battery-powered mower was the best option for me.


But what about how the reel mower reminds you of Grandpa?


What you say is true, 9. Running behind the reel mower does remind me of helping Grandpa with yard work, back even before your time. That man was a hard worker and also loved watching other people work hard. I can still hear him whooping “Wheeeeee!” as he watched me run his old reel mower from one end of their lawn to the other. But then I remembered: Grandpa eventually got a gas mower. He was probably tickled to death about it.

Yard work pals on insect and slug patrol.

I bet he’d like my Ryobi 40 volt a lot. No fumes, and it hums rather than roars. It requires less pushing strength than the reel mower. Not much vibration, though after a short 40-minute mowing session some of the muscles in my forearms and shoulders complained mightily.


But, hey, I’ll get used to it. And I’ll also have more time to tend the tomatoes, eggplants, peas, blueberries, radishes, beets, strawberries, beans, apricots, raspberries, carrots, flowers. . .and next year (fingers crossed!) asparagus.

Yard work: making last year’s new blueberry bush thrive.

Yard work requires a lot of time and energy, money, too. I’ve had a garden every year since 2000 and enjoy the work, but I might not want to do it on this scale forever. The Ryobi is my new yard work buddy, with a five-year warranty. Hopefully my own warranty will run that long, too.

Yard work: time to tend the strawberries.


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