First spin of the season

handmowr.jpg The old mower had wooden rollers and a squared-off wooden handle. It was mostly of cast-iron construction. This is my new mower, 26 years old this spring. It has a two-piece handle of tubular metal, and the rollers are plastic. I can still get parts for it, although the only ones ever needed have been new plastic rollers and once one of the plastic roller-adjusting brackets.

The mower used to go in every year or two for sharpening at the chainsaw place on Fifth Street where the Mean-Eyed Cat now makes its home. Those were mean-eyed people there and they always put the hand-mowers at the bottom of the list for sharpening. They liked to wait until they had a half-dozen or so to be disassembled so they could do them all at once. I’d stop in every weekend and make a nuisance of myself. Since that place closed, the mower’s either gone to Eco-Wise or been home-sharpened.

In my neighborhood it’s easy to see that hand mowers are becoming a bit trendy. People buy them from Smith & Hawken or from Eco-Wise or from the Vermont Country Store. Some have even refurbished older ones.

Sears no longer sells my 18-inch T-handled model, but it does offer two other models, one of which is a two-wheel model with a T-handle, even though it’s just 16 inches wide and costs twice as much as mine did way back when.

People claim that the X-handled mowers are more ergonomic and less likely to twist and bind. I rented one of those from Eco-Wise once when the household mower was being sharpened, but it wasn’t as easy to get in under low-hanging tree limbs and around shrubbery with that handle.

All mowers made in this country are really made by one outfit, no matter what the brand or label.

Because it’s Spring in Austin, I’d already trimmed and edged twice with the offset hand shears, but now the St. Augustine is gaining some height. Last night the old mower looked older than ever. Buying a new one came under consideration.

But this morning, after a bit of oil applied after work yesterday was found to have done what it was supposed to, the temptation was too strong.

And so everything out front was edged and mowed and swept up swiftly and easily, before breakfast and before some people had even come out for their newspapers, with no noise, no mess, no stench, and no danger to life, limb, and hearing.

My mower is just as dear to me as my rake and my push broom from Twin Oaks Hardware. I hope they all last as long as I do.

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