Some folks have a lawn. Green grass. Impeccably trimmed. Weed free. Probably rarely if ever sees a dandelion.
We have a yard. Weeds are the base of the “grass.” We have never hired a lawn treatment service in our lives. We have well water, children and pets.
Spraying chemicals around indiscriminately just to stomp out dandelions never seemed like a wise investment. Plus, I would have missed the dandelions. There is no bouquet more beautiful than handed over by a small child. We do not “edge.” We “weed whack” with wild abandon.
We have a steep front hill perfect for winter sledding and summer slip n’ slides.
A creek winds through our property. Sometimes barely a trickle. In heavy rains, it risks washing out the driveway.
I did not grow up mowing grass. I was an indoor chores kind of gal: bathrooms, dusting, laundry, dishes. I’m more than capable.
I grew into quite a tidy person if I do say so myself. My teen years did not see that coming.
What I did not do was mow the lawn.
Once married with a home and family of my own, Mr. Wonderful felt safest if I wrangled children while he took care of the lawn. That worked well.
A few years ago, with the children able to safely wrangle themselves, I asked if I could mow the yard. It seemed like kind of a fun job. I mean as household chores go. I didn’t have a ride-on vacuum cleaner, and none of my interior cleaning tools offered a cup holder.
I started out slow. Literally. I didn’t mind. I was riding around sipping ice water and listening to podcasts on my headphones. In fact, I always listen to something on noise-canceling headphones when I’m mowing.
I started with comedians — so you might find me laughing uproariously to myself while riding along. Later, I switched to true crime podcasts, so you risked a swift throat punch if you startled me.
As a still somewhat novice mower operator, I was not one to mow the “big hill” out front. It’s steep, with a pretty remarkable crest, and it just seemed better to leave that to Mr. Wonderful with the big tractor. I mowed everything else with my little 48″ deck shiny red lawn mower. He went out later and hit the hill with the big tractor. It worked.
Recently, I received an upgrade! I went from a cute little mower to a much larger tractor with a belly mower. While this is certainly not rivaling the massive crop tractors costing more than my house used by many of the neighbors, it’s still a nice size tractor.
It has big tires, lots of levers, a roll bar and I do have to climb up into it. This is all feeling very middle-class fancy if I do say so myself. It also felt much sturdier and safer.
As I got used to my new wheels, I felt ready to take on the big hill. I had some real muscle — and big tires — now. I know all the basics of safety. Nonetheless, Mr. Wonderful ran me through them again.
He watched closely my first few runs. He’s protective, and I adore that about him. I was cautious and careful. No high speeds for me. I noted that I didn’t need amusement park roller coasters as long as I had the thrill of mowing the hill.
Fast forward to last evening. I was mowing up the big hill like a pro (I thought). As I approached the crest, chugging along, listening to my “stories,” the tractor lagged ever-so-slightly, and just as I approached the top, it stalled.
The dash lit up and then nothing.
For a brief moment, I felt suspended — like a cartoon character that overran the cliff. A split second later the tractor — with me astride — just let go and started rolling backwards downhill. Yikes!
I am very proud of myself that I heard Mr. Wonderful’s voice in my head “do NOT slam on the brakes!”
So I didn’t.
The tractor and I barreled backwards all the way down the hill. I was on flat land and heading for the creek before I felt like it was reasonable to apply the brakes.
We came to a complete and total stop and I sat there. Stunned. Then, I called Mr. Wonderful. Our relationship is based, in large part, on me doing crazy things and then telling him all about them.
He came to check on me.
I was pleased when he said I did great not giving into instinct and braking on the hill.
Then he added, “you were smart not to jerk the steering wheel.”
At this point, I couldn’t take credit any longer.
I assured him that Jesus took the wheel. I was busy trying not to pee.
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