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Sunday, September 20, 2009

Yard Machine Mama

It's official. I've survived my life once again. Looking back I see the "Trip Off I-68" was just a practice run for mowing this bad boy of a hill. Pffftttttt....some of you may be saying. "That's a bunny slope. Woosie!" Well then--so be it. I'm officially a woosie britches. But I challenge any one not to have their heart race just a little bit staring death in the face on the down slope of my new front lawn.

It had been a little over 4 years since I'd mowed a lawn as big as this one. Mowing has always been a simple pleasure in my life, and I actually find it meditative. I don't know what it is about mowing (or rather riding a mower) that stimulates some deep thinking. I have solved some major issues dodging tree limbs with grass clippings flying helter-skelter, and wiping sweat off my brow. It's therapy for me. So learning the lawn care here at the new nest would be mine, all mine, was music to my ears.
Right out of the chute I had to find the choke. Easy you say. Not so fast.... The knob had been broken off. Plus, the previous owner of the mower had cut the cable, too. I had to locate the end of it WAAAAAAAYYYYYY under the hood, and then figure out how to make it work. I got er' going right away...well almost. I had to let er' recoup after flooding the engine with too much gas. Stop snickering...

You know it's a rough road ahead when the neighbors all come out to watch the newbie on the country block mow her Alpine-like front yard the very first time. I'm telling you they came out in droves, and turned their lawn chairs toward the "show". I swear I saw $20's being exchanged over fences. They were placing bets on how many turns it would take before I bit the grass big time. Yep, they were rockin', grinnin', and watchin' me the entire time. I got a little wave and head nod from the neighbors directly adjacent to my yard. AND I'm sure it was difficult for them to mask the exhilaration of having front row seats or to keep from holding up their score cards with each pass of the mower.

Common sense (or some voice of reason) told me take the mower to the bottom of the drive and then approach the uphill trek from there. I suppose it was impatience that made me try to make a turn on the slope. Crappola! Money started exchanging hands rapid fire across fences on that dimwitted maneuver.

I sucked in a breath so deep it made my eyes bulge in my head. How my neighbors refrained from letting out some knee slapping guffaws is beyond me. I managed to keep from widdling my britches as the mower tilted sideways, and somehow stifled a full-throated scream at the same time. I had goose bumps for the next 10 minutes, and hoped my sunglasses covered the protruding whites of my eyes. I held on. The mower slowed gears as I crept down the hill. I had to remind myself to breathe...breathe....breathe.

I remember looking at all my options should the mower suddenly lunge forward on the downhill trip. I saw a clump of bushes with a couple of rocks. Ewwwww... I saw the 4 foot wide ditch at the bottom of the hill. Bigger Ewwwwww.... Then I saw myself in the van as we hit the guard rail on I-68 near Cumberland, MD, and decided if I could come out alive on that one I could surely make it through this uncertain ride.

Now I wonder if the accident had been training for such a day as this. Or days when I felt uncertain about life in general. Had it been a training ground of sorts to give me courage when I felt I had none. To remind me I am stronger than I think I am at times. I know I'm not invincible but I am not really a woosie either. One of my favorite quotes that I've had on my bulletin board for years is this:

"If we did all the things
we were capable of doing--
we would literally astound ourselves. "
Thomas Edison

The racing stripes you see on the lawn are mine. Imperfect due to the deck needing an adjustment. But to me they are stripes I can proudly wear as a badge of honor. I survived my fears, and to those neighbors who placed bets for me to win... "WOOT!" To those who bet against my success... An even bigger, "WOOT!
This ain't my first rodeo..."
And thank God I am here
to utter those words.


  1. Why is it that slopes feel steeper when your sitting? I get creeped out on our tractor all the time. Yes, you are well-trained to handle the ride!

    I have to ask... Were you tempted to moon?

  2. What a great posting - 'twas a great read to start my morning. I applaud your sticktoitness and I'm sure your new neighbors now know you're a woman to be reckoned with! :-)

  3. Good job, you go girl! Next time tell the neighbors YOU want in on the bets.

  4. So you are the local entertainment - "lady in charge of a lawn mower" (!) I have never driven such a machine and I think I would definitely be considered dangerous. I resonate with your words about your accident training you or preparing you for difficult times. I too have been through some traumatic stuff and it does put other challenges into perspective. You kind of think 'If I can get through that - the rest of life is a doddle'.

  5. Balance, surely one of the most difficult, yet most successful mean of movement.

    Concratulation upon cutting the grass and teaching your neighbours a lesson.

    A wonderful start into the new week.

  6. Congrats on a job well done! I'll bet those neighbors were floored!
    Looks like you have a great new place! You are Queen of the Hill!

  7. Lille- I love how you tell this. I bet you looked hot on that tractor, that's why they all were looking. Did the Opester enjoy from the window or hide in shame? ~rick

  8. We have a slope just like that in our front lawn. Hubby cuts it with a push mower. I don't know how he does it. I hate the thing. He has to cut sideways though.

    Our drive slopes up that incline too. It is a joke to watch us get up it on an icy winter day. We have to back into the neighbor's drive, get a running start and hope we make it to the top. Then we have to slam on the brakes once we get into the garage to avoid going through the back wall. I am sure our neighbor's watch too and take bets to see if we make it.

  9. Delightful tale! I have experienced that moment of fear where you think the mower will get the best of you... You did exceptionally well!


    p.s. LOVE your soundtrack

  10. And that my dear is exactly why I have refused to learn how to use the lawn tractor. We have hills and moats and valleys to cut and nasty little bees that live underground that you don't want to ride over. No sir...I will not learn to ride it. :)

    Loved your post and blog and way with words!!!

  11. Really glad to hear your new adventure kingdom is turning out to be everything you hoped it would be :-) The garden looks massive!.. you need to get a few sheep or something on there, lol...

  12. i'mjust wondering if they snickered when they saw you taking pics of your first mowed lawn. aaahhahaha.

  13. Were you wearing a crash helmet ? Sounds like an adventure in any case... and I hope your new neighbors had the good sense to at least offer you an iced tea or something after they finished watching the show...

  14. There's nothing like the feel of a good mowing machine under your seat.... Now you know why the boys like it so much. It's the thrill of the hill! My first time out on the riding mower caused my new old neighbor (we called him the mayor) to come over an proceed to tell me exactly how I should mow.... Of course this is when the other neighbors peered out from behind curtains, phones in hands, discussing how I'd fair with the mayoral debate. Such a good post and satisfying photo's. You are here to entertain others, and be the best darn lawn wrangler you can. Nice job on the lawn and finding the balance and courage to go beyond what you thought you could. Love and Light, Nina P

  15. Just don't turn into one of those mower people who ride their garden tractor everywhere, the C-store, the rodeo, church...that would just be fodder for strange news of the day.

    By the missed a spot.

  16. ~~Lily... How did you know I mooned em'????? Yikes news travels fast in Blogville! hehe

    ~~LAMS... I may just call you Mr. 60's... I like that. I enjoyed looking at your blog, too. AND your tunes are great! I'll be back to visit & listen again. Thanks so much for visiting this hippy chick~~

    ~~Char... Yes! Great idea! Nice to see you again, Char~ Hugzzzzz

    ~~Celia... Yes I guess I am the new entertainment round here... I'll have to pass the hat next time I mow. Wink-ity-wink-wink! Hugzzz!

    ~~Robert... Balance is a daily thing we all do without thinking. Being on a hillside gives you a tilted perspective. It's all good~ Hugzzzz, my dear friend..

    ~~Eva.. Queen of the Hill! I love it!!! I'm soooooooo making myself a tee shirt with Queen of the Hill on it. I'll wear it with my monkey pants when I mow. That'll show em'. LOL Hugzzzz, sweet girl!

    ~~Rick... Oh my how you do go on. (keep it up Mister!) Thanks... Actually Opie hid under the bed the entire time. All new noises still scare him here at the new place. He'll adapt soon I'm sure. Thanks for making me smile~~

    ~~Rae... OMGoodness, girlfriend! I have already played this out in my head. I want a 4-wheel drive. OR I'll just stay parked at the bottom of the drive & let the snow plows bury me... Even though I have more gray hairs now I will still keep mowing. I think... hehe Hugzzzzzzzzzz

    ~~Robin.. Thanks! And welcome to the tree house....errrr I mean my new place. (CONTEST on naming new home is still on) Put your ideas in the pot! Thanks again.

    ~~Lynn.. Oh my... hate it when those bees lay low and come out buzzin' when you least expect it. We used to have wasps in CA that lived underground. Stung my poor son all over one day after he poked a stick in their front door. Yikes! Welcome to my place, and thank you for visiting. Thank you for your kind words, too~

    ~~My dear, dear watercats..
    Thank you so much. Hmmmm sheepies. I shall ponder that one and think it would go well with the roosters sounds in my new hood. I'll be over soon to see you! BIG hugzzzz~~~

  17. ~~Eternity.. Nah I don't think they knew it was me. I wore a mustache and black glasses with a huge nose attached to it. hehehe Hugzzzz pretty girl~~

    ~~Owen... No but next time I'll wear my spurs! And NO not even a beer was offered. Oh well..... I am over it. Seeing you here again was as good as a hug, Owen. Thank you so much~~~ Hugzzzz back at ya!

    ~~Nina P... Thank you for such a lovely comment and encouraging words! You totally made my day, Nina. Much Love and Light to you and yours~~~ Hugzzzz, too!

    ~~Mark... Belly laugh on this comment. You have a way of doing that to me... I could see myself doing that if the roads were wide enough. NOT! (well actually yes, and yes in a big way) There's a guy who has an old time looking red tractor that rides it up and down our road out here. Some days he has it loaded up with kids. It makes me smile, just like you do... Hugzzzzz PS now I want a red tractor.....

  18. That's awesome! Well done. I also get meditative pleasure from mowing but I do it with a push mower these days since we downsized the house and the yard. There was a big hill on the property where I used the riding mower and it had a big ditch at the end as well! I used to mow side to side so I didn't have to go uphill or downhill at any horrible angles. I never crashed the mower, but my husband did once, got himself caught up in the swing on the swingset where he stayed but the mower kept going. Doggone it I wish I had that on video LOL.


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