Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Requisite Earth Day Post

It is Earth Day. To celebrate I'll unveil my new lawn mower. It is a Neuton 5.2, rechargeable mower. The little engines in lawn mowers are notorious polluters. The rechargeable ones are much better for the environment. Please don't tell me I should do a reel mower. Sadly I have a good sized lawn so those would be way too much work.

In the past I've had a lawn service. They use large ride on mowers. Their edgers are all gas. They use blowers to clean the lawn, not rakes. If you go outside after they leave, you can smell the stink of their engines, not the smell of fresh cut grass. I work from home most days and the noise pollution is terrible. As soon as I hear them I run to close all the windows to keep out the noise and the smell. Ick.

So now that you are thinking I'm being a good citizen, and trying to save the world in my own small little way, I must confess that that is not the main reason I'm doing it. It is on the list of reasons, but at the bottom. The number one reason I'm doing it, is the economy. No not because I can't afford to pay them, but because I'm selling less of my craft in this economy, I have more free time to do it. Despite my shortfall, my husband still makes enough to support us just fine. Some of you may think I'm poor because I'm always trying to find ways to save money in my garden. Nope I'm just parsimonious. I should just say cheap. Parsimonious is a $10 word for cheap and I really wouldn't pay that much for a word. I should stick to the $0.10 words. So I'm cheap. I deserve my APLS membership. I live simply because I like to. But I've gotten off track.

The second of my reasons is that the lawn service has been garden unfriendly. Last year they ran over my rhododendron that I layered off of one of my other bushes (see really cheap). I nurtured it for a decade to get it to its present state. Well last springs state. Right now most of the bush is dead. It doesn't like getting run over by lawn mower. It wasn't a tiny little thing either. It was two feet high. Sigh.

Then they weed wacked my bluets while they were in full bloom. I love my little bluets. When I found them growing wild here I brought a small patch to a border where I could take care of them. I had a large group of them naturalizing there and taking over. Sigh. Then they weed wacked down my hostas a bit later in the season. I might point out this border has no grass in it I keep it weeded. It is edged with some pavers. It is obviously a border. Yet they still weed wacked them down. Sigh.

Then I told them I wanted all the leaves from my yard to go into my 10' wire bin since I save them for my compost that I make throughout the year. Did they? Nope. If they collected it with the lawn mower they did. But if they were blowing them, it was too much work to get them into the bin (which I opened up wide on one side just for them). So they blew them all into the woods. Sigh.

Then they take the tight corners too fast and their big mowers dig holes in the lawn. I have bare spots because of them. Now my dog makes more bare spots but she doesn't need help from my mowing service. Sigh.

So I confess the environment only made it to number three on my list, but it was on the list and the reason a rechargeable was bought.

Anyway back to my Neuton. I picked this one because it was small and I can move it easier. I have a bad shoulder and was a little afraid the larger, harder to push ones would aggravate it. Also Neuton has a cool policy. If I don't like it, in the next six months I can return it on their dime. So if I can't handle mowing because of my shoulder or I feel I really need the bigger version. No problem.

Neuton does try to keep their petroleum product packaging down. There was only a little bit of styrofoam packaging to hold the wheels. There was still lots of plastic bags to make sure things didn't get scratched, but the main packaging was hard cardboard. You can see some of it sitting in the opened package. So a nice plus. I'll keep the packaging until after the trial period, but then it can be recycled or composted.

It was very easy to put together. The little part on the bottom right is not part of the package. I got that separately. It is a sharpener for the lawn mower. I figure if I'm getting a nice mower that doesn't need any tune ups, I ought to do all the maintenance so I'll sharpen it myself. The lawnmower blade came pretty dull. So I took it off and touched it up a bit. Then put it all together.

Here is the finished product. I haven't tried it out yet. The lawn is about a week away from needing a mow and the battery is getting charged. We will see how it goes. I've never ever mowed a lawn before. My parents didn't have one and my husband mowed before we got a service. It doesn't seem like it will be a hard chore, at least if you have a light electic mower. It is just walking around the yard. Right?


  1. Loved this post, Daphne! Your poor landscape, at the mercy of a lawn service. Yikes! I've heard good things about Neutons, and will be waiting for your report. Er, this is humiliating, but I didn't realize you were a crafter. What do you make? Btw, my favorite environmentally-friendly mowing solution was suggested by my brother when he was little and my parents kept trying to "encourage" him to mow our 3-acre property. (Fat chance.) One day, he announced that he was planning to get a herd of guinea pigs and loose them on the lawn to keep the grass trimmed. Ha!!! I can't imagine why my parents didn't take him up on it.

  2. I love that little lawnmower. We don't have any lawn, but do take our little electric one to keep the pasture grass down around my vegetable garden.

  3. I'm a ten-cent word, too! Mr. H saved up his money for a new pickup, which he was going to buy last year. His little heart was set on it, but it took me exactly a year to convince him to leave the money in the bank and get a tune-up on our Ranger, which is a fine little pickup that does NOT need replacing. Now, If I wanted to spend the money on a bag of compost, or a bunch of garden seeds...well, that would be different! Do let us know how the mower works. I'd love to get rid of that riding monster we use, and I have a hard time starting the walk behind (gas) mower.

  4. First I thought it was Neutron and was thinking that's gonna be some powerful mower.

  5. our friend Ben, I'm a beadweaver and make jewelry and occasionally things like costumes. BTW I've heard of goats as lawn mowers, but never guinea pigs.

    keewee, I hope that I love mine too.

    Annie's Granny, with my shoulder I could never start a lawn mower with an engine. The battery push start seems easy enough though.

    I'll let you all know whether I love it or not. Time will tell.

  6. Great Post! It's so cute! I've been looking for an alternative to the noise and fume polluting gas-mowers and just didn't find anything beside those reel mowers. I laugh to think what would happen if i tried to cut that cut grass with a reel mower! My 80 yr old great aunt mowed her lawn with a corded electric mower for the longest time. This maybe something I look into, to bad it takes the landlords over an hour to mow our lawn on the riding type. I hate when stuff gets weed whacked or run over, even behind edging! GRRR!

  7. I don't have a lawn right now and our old one was small and easy to do with a push mower. Ironically, the neighbor who used his noisy gas mower probably took 10 X as long to mow his as we did ours with the pusher! I think you will like the little machine, and good for you for crossing a customer off the list of the polluters' service, even if it wasn't your primary motivation. One gas mower pollutes more than a bunch of cars, yuk!

  8. Wah. I have mower envy! If my hosta's were mowed down by anyone with a weed whacker, that person would remember that day for a long time!

  9. Nice mower! I just heard on business news that yard equipment sales will do very well this year from people canceling landscape services.

    I used to have a reel mower becuase I have a small lawn. It pushed more grass down then it actually cut so I switched to gas. I wonder how this would handle mulching leaves. It would be nice to swtich to something like this but I could never give up sucking/mulch all the fall leaves into the rear bag.

  10. Wormsandflowers, I like the rechargeable solution. A reel mower is better for the environment, but it is pretty impractical for large lawns. Maybe some year I'll have just a tiny lawn.

    Karen, those little engines are so polluting. I keep hearing about legislation to change it. I don't know if they have passed any or not, but I hope so.

    bughunter99, I was much more distressed over my bluets than my hostas. I had plenty of that variety scattered over the yard, so could always make more.

    Dan, I can imagine that. Even though this little mower is not cheap, it is a whole heck of a lot cheaper than having a lawn service. I was thinking that I was going to be the only one in my neighborhood without a service, but maybe this year I'll see more people outside mowing. Somehow I doubt it though.

    This mower supposedly mulches (or side chutes, or bags). The bag is pretty small, kinda like the mower. They do make a bigger one though. I just picked the small light one so my shoulder won't hurt when I push it and so I can pick it up and get it not the car without hurting myself. If I didn't have this issue I would have gotten the bigger one.