The weather this weekend was delightful. The sky was blue and cloudless, the temperature was just warm enough for shorts, and a strong breeze ruffled the leaves and kept the sunshine from getting too hot. It was the kind of spring day that erases memories of long, gray, damp winter months, and reminds you why you live in Oregon.

It was the kind of day, actually, that forces you to do yardwork. In particular, as we were the only house left in the neighborhood with a shaggy overgrown lawn, it was the kind of day to cut the grass. Unfortunately, after I hauled the mower out of the shed and gassed it up, it refused to start. I yanked and yanked on the starter cord, panting, until my right hand was sore, and my back was killing me.

I walked over to where the wife was uprooting ivy, and asked her if she wanted a new lawn mower. This was not as frivolous as it may sound. Our lawnmower was fifteen years old, and we had done a major service/overhaul once already. It had been running rougher and rougher over the last couple of years, and getting harder to start. At this point, taking it in for more service would likely dwarf the actual value of the mower itself.

I trundled down to Home Depot and looked at lawnmowers. I was shocked, SHOCKED, to discover that they only had THREE MODELS that were not self-propelled. I consider this an absolute indicator of the fattening of America. As lazy as I am, I’m not willing to get a self-propelled mower. I mean, c’mon, sometimes that’s all the exercise I get all weekend. Alas, I am apparently in the minority.

We basically replaced the mower that we had, except the new one had a mulching blade, and a rear bagger. It was manually propelled, with a recoil start. The only concession to luxury was getting a 6.5 hp Briggs and Stratton engine rather than a 4.5 hp. (More Power = Better).

Anyway, I got it home, added the oil, topped off the gas tank, and went to start it. I damn near dislocated my arm when my yank met with almost no resistance, and it purred to life on the first pull. And it was goooood.

So, the yard got mowed Saturday. Sunday, I got our edger out, and after much cleaning, priming, swearing, yanking, glaring, and resting, I got it started. We have a corner lot, with sidewalk on two sides, so there is a lot of edge to edge. After edging, of course, you have to clean up the edge you just edged, which I did on my hands and knees.

Today, I can barely walk. My knees feel like hamburger. My wrists ache. But at least I can point to a beautiful lawn. At least, it WOULD be beautiful, if I could do something about the bare spots, the thick cushion of moss, and the plentiful thistles. Our neighbor across the street has a perfect lawn. Perfectly green, perfectly lush, perfectly thick. Of course, he’s retired, and can be observed puttering about, applying fertilizer and weedkiller on a daily basis, and mowing his yard in perfectly aligned diagonal swathes. I’m happy if I get the dandelions cut off before they go to seed.

Perhaps this year will be different. Perhaps purchasing a new mower will motivate us to knock back the moss, kill the dandelions, and uproot the thistles. Perhaps we will put down some organics, aerate the soil, and put some lime down under the evergreens. It’s springtime, the season of rebirth, and anything is possible.

Even a decent lawn at PAgent’s house.