I am woman, watch me mow

Saturday, August 11, 2007

The ink on the house contract was barely dry when my husband and I started our discussion about the lawn. What kind of lawn mower should we get?

For me, there's no question; it's got to be a push reel mower. There's no way I could bring myself to use one of those malodorous, gas-guzzling gadgets. One hour of mowing with a gas-powered mower produces about the same amount of air pollution as a 100-mile car ride. And our own Environmental Protection Agency estimates that 800 million gallons of gas are used in lawn mowers each year, producing 5 percent of the nation's air pollution. I'm not okay with that.

Michael agrees about getting a reel mower, but he also thinks we should buy an old gas-powered clunker to do the bulk of the work until we get our garden beds put in. I said no way.

"Do you know how hard it is to use those reel mowers?" he asked. "It will take forever to cut the lawn with one of those things."

He was trying desperately to sway the opinion of a stubborn wife whose mind, he knew, was already made up.


"Oh, I don't mind at all. I will do it," I said. "I will take charge of cutting the lawn."

"Yeah, but how's it going to look to the neighbors if they see me sending my wife out there to cut the entire yard with one of those things?" he asked, still unsuccessful in trying to sway me toward the gas guzzler.

"Who cares what the neighbors think? Women can and do mow lawns, you know. And plenty of them use reel mowers (somewhere, I'm sure). Maybe the neighbors will think my reel mower is the coolest thing. No noise. No stink. I'll get exercise and plenty of fresh air. What's not to like about that?"

And then I popped up out of my chair, held my arms straight in front of me (as if standing in imaginary lawn-mowing stance), and sang in my sprightliest voice to the tune of Helen Reddy's "I am Woman, Hear me Roar."

I am woman, watch me mow... I've got two more rows to go!

Husband rolls eyes. The lawn mower discussion continues...

30 Comments:

Blogger mc said...

This is Michael, the husband. I admitted defeat well before the discussion ever got going.

All the more motivation to get those garden beds cut in sooner.

I strong believe in the old adage: "If mama ain't happy, ain't nobody happy. If daddy ain't happy, ain't nobody care."

9:03 PM  
Anonymous Kyle said...

Hahahaha! Great post, Christa! And it's true, Michael admitted defeat over sushi weeks ago! :-)

FWIW, I think the Reel Mower is awesome, but agree with Michael, seems like lotsa work!

Out of curiousity, why not go with an electric? I think they have electric mowers that you can charge now, and not have to worry about flipping the cord around all the time (the story of my childhood!) :-)

Can't wait to see the new house, and the new garden, very exciting!

9:21 PM  
Blogger Gina said...

lmao @ "if daddy ain't happy ain't nobody care." it's very sweet that you are worried about the neighbors thinking you are working the wife too hard.

christa - i had no idea that gas powered mowers created that much pollution! thanks for the info! i am wondering if i'm the only one dying to know what style of house you got.

10:02 PM  
Blogger Owin & Irena said...

reel mowers unite! I have had a reel mower for nine years and wouldn't trade it for the world. of course, I've got a modest little city lawn and yard! And right now it's so dry, the lawn's not growing anyway. Still, in early spring and fall it's a great feeling to get the job done on pure muscle with zero impact on the environment. Here us roar indeed!
Irena

10:42 PM  
Anonymous Michelle said...

You go girl! (Those are hard to push though) but we women never admit it. Besides, it's a great workout!

7:10 AM  
Anonymous Sandy said...

Good for you, Christa! Husband can be in charge of keeping the blades on the mower sharp.

I have taking care of the yard for over 30 years and enjoy it. I am anxious to see those beds, though. What a great idea.

7:12 AM  
Blogger Pattie said...

Christa: I am so excited for you. The windows of the world are thrown open for you. Enjoy!

7:16 AM  
Blogger Christa said...


Hey, Kyle,
I suggested an electric mower (at least a little better than gas), but he's not buying it. Bad incident in his youth. Ran over the cord. :-(

There are cordless electric mowers now, but most electricity is still generated by coal-powered plants, so...until there's a self-propelled solar mower, I think the human-powered kind is best. ;-)

Gina,
It's kind of shocking how polluting they are, isn't it? There's such a push to get people to use compact fluorescent light bulbs (to fight global warming), but what about all those polluting lawn mowers?!

The house is Cape Cod style. We think it's cute as anything! :-)

Irena, Michelle,
Pure muscle is right, a great workout indeed. It'll be wonderful for toning my upper arms. :-)

Sandy,
You're adding fuel to the fire. Husband has all sorts of gadgets to sharpen his chef knives, so maybe he'll be up for sharpening those mower blades, too. :-)

Thanks, everyone, for your comments.

8:12 AM  
Blogger Mimi said...

I read something on Felder Rushing's web site recently. Felder has a pretty "different" landscaping preference in his yard and he says (very paraphrased!) that the neighbors will talk no matter WHAT you do...so, do what you want! I like the idea of no lawn..and, as you say, using the reel mower will get those beds created much sooner! Enjoy this new excitement and experience in starting a new garden!

11:33 AM  
Blogger Ed Bruske said...

We had a huge blowup in our neighborhood (over the net) when I mentioned power mowers and leaf blowers on my blog. They should be banned. Kudos to you for choosing the reel mower. I've burned through an electric mower every year for the last four years. I think it may be my turn for a reel mower as well.

12:25 PM  
Anonymous farmingfriends said...

I like the shadow picture.
Sara from farmingfriends

12:39 PM  
Blogger Christina said...

You go! Keep up the reel mowing--it's good for you and for the world.

6:19 PM  
Blogger The Garden Ho said...

My husband and I have a push reel mower and at first I did most of the mowing. The only comments I would get from neighbors is either "wow I haven't seen one of those things in ages" or "you know they have gas-powered mowers available". I was one of the only few women on my street that mowed the lawn, mostly the husbands have this chore in my neighborhood. I felt good that I was out there showing those men that not only can I mow the lawn, but I don't need a fancy powered-up mower to do it. Plus, it's good exercise and you're not polluting. All around - a good choice.

8:04 PM  
Blogger Kathy said...

We have a cordless electric mower. No gas, and we live in an area with a good amount of renewable energy, so it works out well. I have icky childhood associations with reel mowers (we had a really, really bumpy almost impossible to mow lawn, and I remember trying to get a running start before each of the hillocks), so electric works for me :-)

11:19 PM  
Anonymous John Curtin said...

Er...in an effort to preserve domestic harmony and your back can I suggest getting rid of most of the lawn?!!

5:04 AM  
Anonymous Ladynred said...

Love the shadow pic. We have gas lawn mower too! It was a gift from my parents in-law. We don't use it often since we only mow in the summer.
.

6:09 AM  
Anonymous Marci said...

Have to go with Michael on this one--you've got waaaay more imp-ortant gardening to do the first
year or two.

Go with an old beater while you
're getting settled in. and above
all,--unless you're really, really
into grass--minimize the lawn
altogether. Use it to set off/
optimize the garden

11:36 AM  
Anonymous Heather said...

Your reel mower will be easier to push if you mow every two or three days, and keep the grass fairly short. This year I've let mine stay a little longer and mow only once a week. The result has been lusher greener grass that's harder to mow!
Don't forget to compost all those grass clippings, they're great for the garden!

1:19 PM  
Blogger Rosengeranium said...

I used to mow our grass when I was a teenager - and hated it. (I'm female, btw.) Now, when we are seriously contemplating a real house I'm 100% for it, to get the exercise done. I've even volunteered to shoveling snow in the winter.... Must be something that comes with the age.

2:56 PM  
Blogger Rosengeranium said...

Oh, and I used a reel mower.

2:56 PM  
Blogger OldRoses said...

I had a reel mower at my first house where I had a really scraggly lawn and it worked great. When I moved into my current house where the lawn was much thicker and lusher, I could barely push the mower through it. I bought a cordless mower and it has been perfect! I love it. Quiet. Non-polluting. Can get through anything.

1:07 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Loved this post! I am a female who uses a push reel mower on my VAST, hilly, uneven New Hampshire lawn. 1. you won't need a gym membership 2. you can mow without disturbing the peace 3. you'll NEVER worry about the underarm wobble that tends to accumulate when you get to my age

12:34 PM  
Anonymous Liz said...

We've got a push along mower both for our small back garden and a much larger pot of grass at our allotment. The one for the garden is a little modern one but the one at the allotment is an old school metal one from the 30s called "The Panther" which weighs an absolute tonne but has a roller as well so leaves the grass looking beautiful. Leave the grass to grow long at your peril though! If it gets beyond a couple of inches the puch along mower has got no chance. Good luck!

8:23 AM  
Blogger bs said...

that's excellent! i especially like you looming over the lawn in that photo and the first comment. poor ol' dad just has to console himself with the big piece of chicken i guess... unless momma needs it for the protein.

12:52 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

someone may have already mentioned these ideas but often times you can rent a lawn mower or borrow one from a neighbor if your lawn gets out of control. Also, craigslist.org has a lawn & garden section where you may be able to find a used mower of any kind!

11:58 AM  
Blogger vonlafin said...

Love the song, I have been mowing for years, you can do it.
I just finished reading "the $64 Dollar Tomato, and he writes about getting a reel mower. It is hysterical! Brought back a lot of memories from when I was a kid and we had a reel mower.

9:30 AM  
Blogger Rosemarie said...

Hi there, we're in the market for a new push mower too. (http://rosemariegarden.blogspot.
com/2007/08/reel-lawn-mower.html)
Our old one is so clunky and heavy that I can't push it when the grass gets long, so my husband does the mowing. So we're looking for a lightweight one and have found some that are about 16lbs. Maybe easier. My neighbor has one too and she's always using it. I think it's great to rock the neighborhood with a woman pushing a reel mower!!

12:37 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

My husband and I just got a great deal on a home in a pretty upscale neighborhood - we had to move across country due to a great job offer and decided to buy here as you normally can't find a house for this price range in this town. I always do the yard work, I tear out vines and bushes, roots, trim trees AND mow the lawn. Our next door neighbor had the nerve to tell me today that if I want to make girl friends here, I should STOP mowing the lawn. Can you believe it? All I could say was, "That is their loss." Can you believe it?!

5:30 PM  
Blogger sbackl said...

I quite enjoy mowing the lawn I use an electric hover type with is light and glides over the turf nicely, I have to admit sometimes I see it as a chore but for the most I quite enjoy it.

9:31 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Ah the joys of mowing. See my own story on why women love to mow the lawn (down here in Australia).

7:21 AM  

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