The last twenty-four hours have been educational.
I learned that snakes in the wild freak me out almost as much as spiders. And I’ve shot spiders before.
I was reminded that too much sun exposure can be painful. Especially on a freshly shaved head.
I was reminded that I really enjoy operating a riding lawn mower.
But more importantly than all of that, I learned that the Ariens A19A42 riding lawn mower is an awesome, near-bulletproof machine. I bought one recently to maintain my new two acre piece of dirt, and it was delivered on Friday. Early Saturday morning, I removed it from the crate, finished the necessary assembly (seat and steering wheel pieces) and put it to work.
Roughly two thirds of my back yard is open-ish, and the remaining third is semi-mature woods. Based on appearance, all of it has been ignored for years. My plan was to drive the tractor down through the area and see how much would require the brush cutter and how much could be done with the string trimmer attachment.
Broomsage and two foot tall dandelion-like flowers were mixed with hundreds of pine trees from seedling to ten feet tall with wrist-size trunks. The shortest growth was two and a half feet tall, so I had no intention to actually try to mow it. Especially since it was too thick to see if there were obstructions or uneven ground that may damage the machine. But then I got to thinking about how long it was going to take to clear that much area with a trimmer.
Yeah, it’s too tall, and too thick for a mower, and the high number of seedlings is going to do a number on the blades, but I figured I’d take a chance. I already have a mulch kit in hand that includes new blades, so who cares if I destroy the originals. So I open her up, engage the mower deck, and start to crawl along. It did amazingly well.
I got tired of driving around all the small trees. Well, not exactly trees, but larger than seedlings – two to five feet tall, with trunks slightly larger than my thumb. Fuck it. unless it’s taller than me, I’m going to run over it and see what happens.
Long story short, I spent six hours clearing the back yard, and then mowing the front yard. There are probably thirty trees that were just too tall and thick to risk running over, and those I will get with the chainsaw some other time. But at least ten times that number became casualties of the mowing deck. As did two black snakes. Snakes scare me, as much as anything because I don’t know which ones will hurt you (whether poisonous or not) and which ones are harmless. And the way they move freaks me out a little. So I don’t feel too bad about killing them. I didn’t try to, they just got in the way of 42″ of spinning death.
When I finished fighting the briars, brambles, broomsage and saplings, I dropped the deck height and mowed the real grass in the front yard. I know that the blades took some damage out back, but it couldn’t have been too much. The cut was reasonably clean.
All in all, I had a good day, even if I did wind up with a mild sunburn. I enjoyed it, and look forward to finishing the clearing tasks and hole filling so I can just mow it.