A random look at the life and times of Jim Rising recovering radio addict and newspaper columnist.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Adventures in Lawn Care- Episode one

The best part was the footrace. More on that in a minute.
Autumn in Northeastern Pennsylvania. The crisp clear weather. Ripe apples. The glory of natures colors on the trees. That same glory on the ground in mounds and mounds of leaves that have to be raked up and dealt with.
It’s at least a four weekend project at the Rising household. This past weekend with most of the leaves off the trees it was time. Saturday was nice and blessedly warm so I got out my trusty Sears lawn tractor with bagger and started the process. I made exactly one pass and the bagger was full to over flowing. I headed towards the dumping area. And got stuck. And not just stuck. The axles of the lawn tractor were under mud. And a three inch sapling was wedged between the mower deck and the rear fender. A lot of interesting curse words and suggestions as to the parentage of the mower ensued.
A quick hour later with the assistance of my long suffering wife who I am sure will be speaking to me again sometime soon I was at the leaves again.
The ground is pretty wet so I am slipping and sliding a bit but it’s going smoothly. It’s a routine. Push the lever that starts the blades spinning, drive 50 feet, stop the blades and drive to the dumping area with over flowing bags. Set the handbrake, get off the mower and dump the baggers. Back on and repeat 10,000 times. On one of these passes I push the lever up to start the blades and…nothing happens. Now I am not the most mechanically inclined person on God’s green earth. But I knew this wasn’t good. I got down on my hands and knees (did I mention the ground was wet?) and with my keen home handyman’s knowledge I discovered the problem. The fan belt thingy that powers the blades had somehow slipped out of the little pulley thingies. I won’t bore you with the professional mechanics of fixing this. Bloody knuckles and a string of curse words that surprised even me and another quick hour later I was back in business. Very wet and muddy at this point. Not in a very good mood to commune with nature. Smoldering you might say.
Most of the Rising homestead is on a hill. Some parts steeper than others. The place where I dump the leaves has a pretty good pitch to it that runs down to the driveway which empties out onto a very busy road. On one of the ten thousand passes I did the routine. Stopped the lawn tractor with the engine still running and set the handbrake. Jumped off the mower and headed for the back to get the bags. Hmmm Where are the bags? For that matter where is the mower? I looked down the hill at the rapidly receding back of the mower. The handbrake? Did I set it? Who cares? The lawn tractor is headed for certain destruction. To the audible amusement of my next door neighbor I gave chase. And a merry little chase it was. Caught the darn thing 50 feet or so from the highway. Suggested to it that it was the spawn of Satan.
The final insult? The apple tree dropping one square on my head as I passed underneath.
And to think, I have at least three more weekends at this prolonged savage sort of amusement.
And then again I could be wrong.

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