Posted by: raisingmustardseeds | September 11, 2009

Power Tools or not?

Because our previous home didn’t have much of a yard, front or back, we didn’t bother buying one of these electric or gas-powered lawn mowers.

We relied on muscle power 😉 and bought something like this – a more economical as well as environmentally friendly option:

A couple of years later, we ripped up the grass in the backyard, which left us only a strip in the front yard about 25′ x 4′ to cut. And after that strip got riddled with weeds during our 1-month RV vacation, we ripped it all out and put in pebbles, leaving us with no grass to cut.

Now we’re in this new place with a pretty large sized yard and the previous owner suggested to MS dad to get one of these:
, or at minimum a self-propelled lawn mower.

I, on the other hand, wanting to save $$, as well as encourage manual labour (by the children, not MS Dad – he’s got enough on his plate) suggested that we wouldn’t need to purchase any kind of mower, since we had our trusty push mower, that hadn’t seen any action for at least 3 years. The previous owner Mr. VH thought I was joking and looked quite sympathetic towards MS dad. haha. After Mr. VH realized I wasn’t backing down from my position, he patted MS dad on the back and told him that he would mow the lawn just before he moved out, that it would buy MS dad about 2 weeks. 🙂

But to show that I wasn’t an all-talk no-action kinda gal, I gamely assured MS dad that I would do the mowing. And that this was a good opportunity to get the children involved.


Last week, MS dad commented that we’d been in the house for about 2 weeks, and that the grass looked like it could do with some cutting. Hint, hint?

So, on Friday, I finally yanked out the push mower and got cracking. I realized quickly that I may possibly have made the wrong decision! The grass wasn’t being cut down to the right height on the first pass. I had to go over the same patches 3-4 times. So the yard quickly became more than 3 times larger than it already is. Ugh.

Looking towards the right of the window – patch about 42’x53′ with the pool gate as my point of stoppage (that’s not a real word, but you know what I mean) is where I started mowing

10 minutes into my mowing, the boys came outside and wanted to help. YAY!

To my delight the 3 year old was able to push it, with a little trouble over bumpy parts. BUT he still did it! And quite enthusiastically too.

The great thing about this no-power mower is I don’t have to worry about out-of-control blades spinning and so it’s a lot safer for the children.

Just yesterday while I was prepping for dinner, I heard the whirling of the blades, and looked out to find that the 5 year old had taken the mower out and was cutting the grass! And having fun.

ANYHOW, back to my story – the first patch took a little longer than I expected, partly because of the many passes required, and also because the boys were helping.

Then I moved on to the patch bordered by the pool gate & the big rocks (shown by the picture above).

The boys deserted me by this time, and I must admit I didn’t mind it because they were really slowing the job down, and the midday sun was getting to me. Yes, I know I’m not helping the “teach the children stick-to-it-ness”. I won’t do that next time.

I proceeded to work on the section below, and there’s a bit of an slope here, and my legs were getting tired. I was quite ready to call MS dad to pick up a gas lawn mower, I’ll tell ya.

Big Mac came out to get me to mark her Math test. So I took a break, and she took over the mowing. After my short little break, Big Mac & I worked together, doing a strip at a time – there’s a slope around here, so what goes down, must come up. 🙂

Then she deserted me, and I was left alone again, trying not to have bad thoughts about this never-ending lawn.

Now the last section is even more interesting – it slopes down a greater degree from the side of the pool down to the little wood shed. And at the bottom of that slope is where our septic bed lies. And let’s just say it is well fertilized and therefore the grass is really lush around here. 😉 Meaning even more passes required to cut it down. Megalos came out during this time for her Math to be marked, so she helped me mow while I marked.

And while I was writing this post, I decided to run out with my tape measure to actually measure the yard. Hence the measurements. And now I know I have totally under-estimated the size of this lawn. After doing some calculations, I’ve discovered that I’ll be mowing about 11,000 square feet of grass. That’s 1/4 acre. Multiply that by the number of passes I have to make over the same patch of grass….Yikes.

MS dad came home early that day and I was still mowing the grass. He laughed at me and asked if I wanted him to buy that lawnmower.

BUT, I’m still saying no. I figure if I break up the job into a few sections, and maybe get each child to be in charge of certain sections, I still think we could work with the pushmower. And I’m thinking maybe sharpening the blade might help. In total, taking out 3 breaks I took, The lawn probably took about 1.5 hours to mow.

And for those of you who are far away and not able to come & visit us in the near future, I’ve drawn a (very) rough not-to-scale sketch of the aerial view of the house & space around it. Click on it to see the small print.


  1. SALIVATE! I really shouldn’t be looking at photos of large homes just 4 months before we move into our brand new 1000 sq ft apartment! Ha ha.

    My cousin in Seattle just moved into a house big enough for 4 families and with a view of Mt Rainier!

    Contentment Angie … Contentment. 😀

  2. With more space comes more work. 🙂

    I just helped my hubby to push an old washer & dryer up the hill, bring out a 7 foot high kitchen wall cabinet, and bring down another 7 foot high cabinet to the basement.

    Maybe that’ll help put things in perspective! haha

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