041605mowing3.jpgWith our front yard qualifying for wilderness status, the inevitable could no longer be avoided. Time to dust off the shiny John Deere L130 lawn tractor purchased last December, fire it up, and tackle the great hillside that some sadists call a yard.

Amy, of course, had to capture this magic moment with one of my cameras, singing the theme to “Green Acres” all the while (memo to self: teach wife how to focus camera). Although I mowed too many yards as a kid, always with a push — not riding — mower, she had not, in our 25 years of marriage. ever witnessed me in a monumental one-on-one battle with fescue, crabgrass and dandelions. Our condo in Arlington only had a balcony. We had a small yard with our home in Illinois but I paid a kid next door $15 every two weeks to mow it. Same with other homes we owned. Who had time for yard work when we had careers to pursue? So she enjoyed the moment. Too much, I think, with a infuriating smirk on her face (second memo to self: remember to get even with wife).

Quickly discovered the recommended cutting deck height for fescue grass did not work with all the holes and mounds left by moles over the winter. Puffs of dust spit out the side of the mower as the three blades of the cutting deck encountered dirt as well as grass. After several readjustments, I found a height that worked, vowing to return later with an aerator and roller to take care of the mole holes.

An hour-and-a-half into mowing the great divide the John Deere sputtered to a stop. What? Broken already? Nope. Out of gas. First lesson learned: The L130 runs 1.5 hours on a tank of gas. The yard takes at least 2.5 hours to mow so this is a two tank job. A quick run to town for gas. Light fading as I returned, filled the tank, and fired the Deere back up. Found the tractor’s headlights inadequate for mowing in the dark so left about a quarter of yard to be finished today. Parked the tractor, cleaned up and headed to Ray’s for dinner while nursing the aches and pains that came from bouncing around the hills and dales of our front yard.

Amy sat across the table with that infuriating smirk on her face, humming the infernal theme from “Green Acres.” I ignored her for the moment, knowing full well that payback can, and will, be mine to savor.