I think I need to get a reel lawn mower — one of those old-school, manually powered machines — but it’s not for the reason you might think.
Sure, it’s better for the environment. Using it will burn a few more calories than the nice self-propelled model I have, and I can save a few bucks on gas. My lawn isn’t that big, and, except for one small spot, is fairly flat.
But, the real reason for a reel mower is that I don’t want to wake up the neighbors.
I have always chuckled when this time of year rolls around, and one of my neighbors fires up their lawn mower at 10 o’clock at night. I always assumed that, with the long daylight hours, they just didn’t realize what time it was. And I’d wonder just what the rush was to get that chore done. After all, the grass will still be there tomorrow.
However, I’m starting to change my way of thinking. Because, while the grass will still be there tomorrow, summer on the Kenai Peninsula is short, and most of my tomorrows have already been spoken for.
First, there’s the full-time job. I am grateful to have it, but that’s 40 hours each week where lawn mowing isn’t happening.
Then there’s all the weekend projects that need to get done. In fact, many of them have “needed” to get done for a few years. There’s the railing on the deck, painting the shed, and figuring out some new landscaping after we had to take down almost all of our spruce trees last year. I want to do some rust repair on the truck before it gets worse. I want to fix the edge of the patio where the pavers sunk a little — and the list goes on.
And that list doesn’t even touch on summer recreation plans. There are mountain bike trails to ride. In fact, with winter lingering as long as it did, it already feels like I’m behind schedule. Shouldn’t I have been up Resurrection Pass Trail, at least as far as Juneau Lake, already?
Work day evenings also are spoken for. I help with the youth mountain bike program and participate in the community races at Tsaltheshi Trails — that’s two nights a week all summer. And I need to get in my own workouts so I can keep up with the kids I’m trying to coach — that’s the rest of the week.
Oh, and I want to make time to see the Wednesday concerts at Soldotna Creek Park. Those are always fun, and I didn’t realize how much I missed live music until we got to go to my daughter’s last high school choir concert earlier this month.
We’ve got plans to do some more camping (or, in our case, glamping) this summer. There’s several more weekends and vacation days already booked.
There was a time when I could count on one of my kids to do the lawn — especially if there was a cash offer on the table — but they’ve both found other employment for the summer, and have other things to do in their free time.
My wife does a lot of the gardening, most of the raking in the fall, and cleans up after the dogs, but mowing has never really been her thing either.
Compounding the problem, my lawn seems to be coming in pretty good this year. We planted new grass last summer where there used to be trees, and the extra sunlight, watering and fertilizing seems to have done what it’s supposed to do. I’ve already had to mow, which usually I can put off until mid-June.
One solution, I suppose, would be to rip out the lawn and replace it all with low-maintenance plants and shrubs. But even low maintenance isn’t no maintenance, and at this point, that option would be way more work than I have time for.
So, if the mowing is going to get done this summer, it might be at some strange hours. After all, fall will be here before you know it. With so much to get done this summer, the last thing I want to do is let the grass grow under my feet.
Will Morrow lives in Kenai. You can reach him at email@example.com.