Wednesday, October 26, 2011

New Wheels!

I was thrilled when my new set of wheels arrived Tuesday afternoon.  It wasn't a new car, but a shiny-green lawn mower.  Received only 24 hours after ordering from,  my Steele Products battery-operated, self-propelled grass cutter was here to save the day.

My new "green" machine

But I'm getting ahead of myself.  Let me start from the beginning and explain why I needed to buy a lawn mower this late in the season and with the intent to mow my own lawn.  As I mentioned earlier this summer, mowing is one of the few gardening projects I hire out.  But every spring, my "mow and blow" group arrives with a larger mower than the year before.  Clearly a way to get their job done with less work in less time.  This year's massive contraption could barely make the turns in some areas of my garden without tearing up turf.  I put up with this all season.

Last week, after several rainstorms, they came to mow while I was away.  When I returned, my lawn looked like the site after a monster tractor pull.  Huge tracks embedded deep into the grass.  To borrow a popular Popeye quote, "That's all I can stand, I can't stands no more!" Bye-bye lazy mowers.  Hello quiet, exhaust-free "green" machine.

The online description said it would take 12 hours to charge so I didn't expect instant gratification.  But, like a kid with a new toy,  I ripped the mower from its box and started to assemble without reading the instructions.  It was fairly easy.  As I was playing with the controls, I discovered that the battery had some juice.  Wow, now I could take it for a test run.  Before I knew it,  I had mown the whole front lawn and was headed to the back.  I finished the back, but the charge died before I could do the lawn surrounding the pool.  Here's hoping that after a full 12-hour charge I get a longer session next time.

Skeptical Charlie
Overall, it performed well, but the self-propel makes sharp turns and backing up a bit of work.  It cut fine, but didn't pick up debris as well as past gas mowers I have had.  (Steele Products should partner with Dyson to develop a stronger suctioning, ball-steering machine.)

Normally my dogs ignore me as I garden, but as I mowed today,  my younger Schnauzer frequently stood  in my pathway staring at me as if to say, "Man, what are you doing? You don't know how to mow?"

It was fun to mow my own lawn again, but I could tell it might get tiring after a few weeks, especially if I had other gardening projects to do as well.  But I think I can justify this impulse purchase.  Dividing the mower price by the weekly expense of the tractor gang,  I will need to mow only eight times (seven more) to compensate for the new machine's expense.  Or maybe I can hire myself out for a day and write the mower off as a business expense.  I'll call the accountant tomorrow after I mow the pool area.

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