09 March 2011

Baby's First Haircut

We bought a lawn mower this weekend.

What's that? We don't have a lawn?

That's true, we don't...but we do have random out-of-control grasses and weeds, and after trying to tackle them by hand for a few days, I had a lightbulb moment. Although a lawn mower wouldn't pull them out of the ground, it would make it easier to get at the loooong ones so I didn't feel so much like I was cramming bales of hay into those lawn and leaf bags. A mower, I realized, would make me way more efficient at filling those bags up for the city to take away and compost.

During the year of construction, we frequently borrowed a cordless Black and Decker electric mower from our neighbor/landlord/friend, and we really liked it. It was my first experience with mowing (I hadn't lived in a house with a yard since I was nine), and I actually found it kind of fun. We have been planning to buy a similar mower ever since. But when the time came to actually commit to a model, we each, independently and then together, found ourselves leaning toward a corded model. From this article comparing all types of mowers, I learned that, while electric mowers are cheaper to operate and better for the environment than gas, cordless electric mowers really aren't any greener than gas because of the chemicals that go into manufacturing and, eventually, disposing of the batteries. And considering that the battery-operated mowers we were looking at cost about twice as much as the corded version and would likely need a costly replacement battery in two or three years, a corded model seemed like the all-around better option. For two evaluate-every-option types, we were shockingly quick to commit to the Black and Decker MM1800, a 12-amp corded model.



Ten minutes after pulling the pieces out of the box, it was ready to go.



One thing that surprised me, though, was that we needed to supply our own cord. (I had imagined some kind of cool retractable built-in cord. Steve knew better.) We were a little worried about having to maneuver the cord around while mowing, but I thought of it like vacuuming -- it's not dealing with the cord that makes vacuuming a pain, it's the vacuuming...and unlike vacuuming, I kind of enjoy mowing. (I think it's something about actually being able to see the progress, which you don't get from vacuuming. Unless the carpet is really dirty...which is just gross.) Anyway, we found a 100' extension cord and I was ready to take the mower out for its inaugural spin.



Why yes, I guess I did mow in my Crocs. There's not much you can't do in Crocs, you know.

Unlike gas mowers, with those frustrating pull cords, electric mowers turn on easily by squeezing a lever against the handle. It turns off just as easily if you release your grip.



The mower not only got the weeds and grass under control, but it easily picked up leaves, too. The yard was really dusty -- I guess that's what happens to a yard that's mostly dirt -- and soon the mower was looking a lot less pristine.



As for dealing with the cord, you do have to be careful not to mow over it, of course, but it's no harder than avoiding vacuuming over the cord, and like vacuuming, moving systematically away from the outlet makes it pretty easy. It would be nice, though, if the mower were equipped with those little hooks vacuums have to keep the cord tidy.

Anyway, the yard quickly went from this:



to this:



I pored through my pictures to find good before/after shots, taken from the same angle, that would show the difference the trim made, but it didn't really come through on film.



But trust me, up close the haircut is evident.



Not the kind of haircut you'd get for school picture day....



More like a shave before the surgeon goes in with the scalpel.



I can't wait to see what yard fun awaits us next weekend....

1 comment:

  1. LOl - Love the crocs. Don't you wish you could get the amazing electric hover mowers they have over here? The lawnmower lobby has kept them from being legal in the US. Of course, I find it kind of scary that they "hover" with a big blade going round under them - but it is amazingly efficient.

    Maybe they'd be in the US if they were ride-on hover-craft mowers.

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