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 all of the above, 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.
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.
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.
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.
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…!