Ride On

Truth be told I have yet to find an animal that works well as a lawnmower.

Pigs dig. Sheep eat roses and fruit trees. Horses eat both of those, plus grapevines, tree ferns, and newly planted shelter belt trees. They especially like to do this when you are watching and they want to demonstrate how life-threateningly hungry they are. As far as lawn-mowing on the farmlet goes, the humans have had to take matters in hand themselves.

Lawn with dog and horse

Maisie reclining on the freshly mowed NomNom lawn. Summer and Bonnie in the Bottom Paddock.

I had never thought we would be the kind of family to own a ride-on mower. Mind you it’s easy to discount technological aids when you are not the person actually pushing the grass cutting equipment. Until we came to live on ‘the land’ that person had always been either the Forbearing Husband or Favorite Stepson.

When we first arrived, however, the matter of who pushed was moot point. We had only a Nominal Lawn, and Mrs Williams and I had yet to create The English Garden.  This meant we were quite safe using our original ride-ons for grass control.

Kaimanawa pony

The larger of our two beta version ‘ride-on mowers’, revving hard (and enjoying every minute of it).

For a while after the new fencing and flower garden went in, I was able to persuade Favorite Stepson to mow. It wasn’t long though before our elderly and well used motor mower took a final one-way trip to the repair shop. It was pronounced beyond resuscitation, and we were faced with a dilemma — invest in a replacement push mower, or grasp the nettle (Buttercup? Dock leaf?) and stump up for something rather more bourgeois.

In a twist of universal fate, at almost exactly the time we were wresting with this problem I was offered a large amount of money for literally nothing at all. It seemed like a sign. Swap the bunch of random pixels denoting an Instagram identity for something to bring my lawn up to Vita’s standard? Yes please!

I invested that $2,000 in a ride-on mower, and let me tell you friends, I have never looked back.

Mowed grass path with Queen Anne's lace

The Grass Highway. It runs between the barn and what used to be called The Copse, now Kingswood.

Mowing the lawns has become one of my favorite activities. Half an hour pootling on the mower and we have a beautiful green short back and sides. With the help of Stephen of House Kragbol, and the Forbearing Husband, I’ve even mowed a path alongside the stream. Stephen walked ahead of the ride-on for the first mow, wading through through the hip high grass, checking for large holes that might unbalance the mower and I, and send us down the steep bank to a watery grave.

Queen Anne's Lace with horse in background

Queen Anne’s Lace. Tell her from the common carrot weed by remembering ‘the queen has hairy legs’.

The Forbearing Husband later filled in those big holes with some of the earth the pigs churned up in the clearing, and the result of our team effort is a very pretty walking route lined with Queen Anne’s Lace. We call it ‘The Grass Highway’ and it forms part of our regular dog walking circuit, and sometimes a riding route for the ponies.

Goodness, the things one can do with a ride on mower. Now if someone could just invent a ride on vacuum cleaner…!



  1. Looking forward to our visit already. I plan to mostly drink and sleep but will possibly rouse myself to wander The Grass Highway 😸

    • PS When Game Man was very small he loved the vacuum and would climb and ride it. Pity his enthusiasm for it wore off …

      • There we go. He would be a taker for the first ride on vacuum! Now if we could just get a couple of engineers together to invent one…

    • I’m very much looking forward to seeing you. Exercising on Grass Highway between drinks will be very responsible of us!

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