Friday, March 30, 2012

push reel mower + our kitty cats

Not sure what mowers and cats have to do with each other, but this is what comes spilling out of my brain,  so you should just sit back and enjoy the ride.

On mowers: one thing we plan to do during our upcoming trip to the holler is to get started on our mowing upkeep. We've discussed at length  how we plan to manage mowing chores long term (ATV vs. riding mower vs. letting it grow wild - that last option is a big fat NO because we dig the holler's tidy appearance and have never had a lawn before and are really excited about laying in the grass - A LOT), but for now, mowing poses a bit of a problem since we've got about 2,500 miles between us and the grass.

That being said, we don't want to jump the gun and purchase a big, expensive mowing device before we really even know what we want. Also, anything with an engine is going to require fuel and some level of maintenance, and we'd like to keep things as simple and cheap as possible. (Cheap is subjective, but we're happy to fork over the dough now for a quality product if that means less hassle down the road.) With mowing season looming ahead, though, we need to figure something out.

So after an exhaustive online search, we decided to get a push reel mower. Mowing a half acre of hilly lawn with a reel mower may sound a bit daunting and sweaty, but I'm looking forward to the exercise (and P+Q). 

Behold, the Fiskars StaySharp Max Reel Mower:

[ linky ]

People seem to love this bad boy based on the reviews. Amazon has it on sale for 200 bones and free shipping (same price at Lowes and HD, but they don't have it in stock anywhere near us), so we plan to order it a week or so before we leave like we did with the memory foam mattress, and it should arrive while we're there (or a few days early, but we're not too worried about thievery [ knocks on wood ] because the neighbor's got our back).

Of course, there's still the question of what to do with the lawn during the time between our trip and when the Big Move actually happens, so we're hoping to maybe finagle the aforementioned neighbor to keep up the mowing every couple weeks or so for us (and pay him for the service, of course). Although I don't think it would be the end of the world if the grass were allowed to grow unkempt for a few months, the crazy in me wants to keep it neat.

In other news, Jay informed me that he saw our cat Gravel up the hill above our house yesterday (the last time I saw him was probably two months ago). Gravel and Nekkie are half brothers from the same litter (momma cats can be very promiscuous, you know) that we rescued from a local shelter in 2008.

Nekkie Monster is a total homebody and wants nothing more than to cuddle and purr in our laps and bring Clyde Dog gifts of dead mice, decapitated birds, and tail-less lizards. We think he is going to do a fine job of keeping the barn and other outbuildings vermin-free.

Where's dem birdies.

Gravel, on the other hand, has turned into a menacing, feral, pure wild cat that we're pretty sure lives with the mountain lions now and fights off bobcats and massacres deer in his spare time.

Back when he still needed human-supplied food to subsist. And liked the glow of a Mac.

Gravel probably won't be coming with us when we move. We briefly considered somehow trapping him and flying him out because he would probably graduate from mountain lion to bear patrol out at the land and have a really fabulous time out there, but then we came to our senses and realized how absurd that would be and that Gravel would probably hate us forever and take off, never to be seen again. [ plus the unlikeliness that we could ever catch him anyway ]

We also have a very old tabby named Trouble whom we rescued as a kitten from some asshole up in Oregon that told us he was going to shoot whatever remained of the litter if they were not all taken away that day. We brought Trouble home (waaaay back in 1997) but lived in an apartment at the time and had no way of taking all the kittens, but our neighbor took it upon herself to go get them all and was able to find homes for every single one. We love Trouble and he loves us, but he discovered a couple years ago that the neighbor's house down the street offered a bit more solace because it lacked two bumbling kittens (Nekkie and Gravel) and a horse-esque puppy (Clyde Dog). Trouble's original buddies, Turbo, the siamese, and Big Blue, the American Bulldog, are on the other side of the Rainbow Bridge now. < sniff >


Trouble is going to be 15 years old this summer. He pays us a visit now and then, and he seems happy and in good health but is pretty rickety, and we don't want to put him through the stress of a cross-country move. We're not totally sure which neighbor he shacks up with most (we think there are a few), but I plan to find out between now and the Big Move so we can at least bid him adios. His comfort in his final years is more important to us than trudging him away when he seems perfectly content without us (although I do appreciate his periodic check-ins to let us know that he hasn't forgotten his mom and dad).

As far as Gravel is concerned, if he's happy and healthy, we're fine with letting him be a free mountain cat (like we have any choice), but it will still be tough when the day comes to move away without him. Who knows, though, he may decide that he's had enough of the California mountain lions and needs to move up to taking down Tennessee black bears.

~ Mitsy


  1. We have a reel mower and I always let people know the downsides before they get one.

    1. The mower WILL NOT cut high grass. If the grass is above the bar on the front it will push it over and will not go past the blades to cut the grass. We live on a small lot and this usually means we hand pull a few weeds that are taller than the grass. This may be a much bigger task for you though.

    2. If you have lots of sticks they will stop the reel and you could get a handle in the gut. This means we keep sticks picked up and we go a little slower.

    3. They require a bit of momentum to cut so ground that's not too rough is the best (depending on the size of the wheels.)

    This is not meant to discourage you from getting a reel mower, but to be aware of some things they can't do that a Rotary mower can.

    1. Interesting! This is certainly good to know. Once we move out there, we do plan to keep on top of the mowing (we're hoping to find someone to mow for us until then), but right now, it might be too high to cut with a reel mower - we honestly won't know until we get out there in a couple weeks and assess the growth. An electric or gas mower might be a necessary short-term solution. Thanks very much!