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Thursday, August 25, 2016

MOWING THE LAWN

MOWING THE LAWN
When I was age ten mowing the lawn became my chore.  My brother Chris, had the chore before me but at the age of 14 he decided he had homework and sports so he didn’t have time…I did, and it became my chore.  Of course when I was 14 and had homework and sports there was no one for me to pawn this chore on, so I mowed the lawn all through school and later when I owned my own home. 
I mowed lawns for 50 years.  It wasn’t so bad, as a teen, we had a power mower, an old reel job that you had to choke before starting and that used a rope to pull start.  Fortunately, it usually started on the third pull.
One of these.
Anyway, you may ask, “If you had three sons, why didn’t they mow the lawn when they turned ten?”
Good question.  It has a two-part answer. 
First I was a pushover and did not demand enough of my boys…after all, they had homework and sports (I never learn.)
Second, my sons were masters at not doing the job properly and I was not tough enough to demand they do it until they do it right.  My oldest, Mike, could do a full spin off a jump on snow skis.  He could do tricks on his bike, including riding around the block on one wheel; and yet he could not start the lawnmower by himself, he did not know how to add gas, and he could not mow the lawn without leaving missed spots all over the yard.  
It was easier to just to it myself, which of course was his plan all along.  Next in line, Matt, got a pass.  If Mike couldn’t do it properly, why would Matt be any better. 
When Spencer was eight, twenty years later, I had more patience and was teaching him how to do this chore.  He was learning without complaint, but when he turned ten I was asked to leave and move into an apartment.  The person who requested I leave hired someone to do the chore I had been doing for 50 years, so Spencer escaped the chore the same as his older brothers.
He might have been the last of a dying breed, kids doing yard work.  As Scott pointed out, you seldom see anyone mowing their own lawn anymore.  Lawn services are the new norm.  I do still see some home owners cutting the grass, but never kids or teenagers.
I guess everyone has a lot of homework and sports.

25 comments:

  1. My boys mowed the yard, they got tired of my talking about space aliens coming to ask them juts what it was they were saying in the messages left in the grass. Eventually they all, in turn, learned that the quicker way was to do it as well as possible the first time. I guess I was a bit of a bitch, but they still know how to mow their own yards properly. They didn't have the patience with their own children. (Either that or didn't want their kids hating them.)

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  2. It was nice to read about your younger age.

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  3. my older boy took over lawnmowing at age ten and was teaching the younger boy too. M and his friend G would also tow our mower around to the old people's homes and ask if they wanted their grass cut. I was proud of them thinking they were starting a business, but they only did it long enough to earn money to go to the annual Royal Show.
    Now, my two youngest kids, who share a house, don't mow their lawns. There is a small lawn in front and two small lawns in the back separated by a path. There is an old-fashioned push mower in what passes for a shed. When I lived there, I'd push that thing around all three lawns in about a half hour. THEY pay someone every few weeks to cut the grass.

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  4. Lawn mowing drove me to sell the house with its acre of lawn and move into a condo. It was not the mowing that got to me it was being daunted by maintenance of the lawn tractor. My husband used to keep a log of the hours of use, grease things after a certain number of hours, change the oil, sharpen blades -- all at a certain time. When I said something about not wanting to learn how to do all that to my brother he looked at me like I had two heads and said, "Normal people don't do that stuff."

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  5. Honestly, the sports and homework was the true story here. But my son does cut the grass about once a year now when he's home from college.

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    1. so how high does the grass get between the yearly mowings? :)

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  6. After all these years you must be a champion grass cutter. I didn't have a lawn when my lad was young so I got him cooking instead!!!

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  7. Lawn services--keep the economy functioning. I once asked a boyfriend of Emily's if he mowed the lawn. Long silence, and he replied they had a service. That family had no more money to throw around then mine. We have a bit of grass to mow, and Laura is itching to do it. The argument--gas mower or electric. Push is out of the question.

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  8. We have two tractors, riding and push mowers, and Hick to cover that chore for our 4 acres of yard. Genius might have mowed once. The Pony, never.

    At my old $17,000 house, I mowed with a push mower once a week. It took me an hour. Didn't seem hard at all, though it was not as much fun in the 90-degree heat with humidity. Once Genius was born, Hick took over that job. He bought our first riding mower then.

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  9. For years this was my job too. I took care of all the housework and the lawn care. It's a long story and not a good one either.

    Hubby still mows our lawn. I didn't have a lawn to mow when my son was old enough. I couldn't get him to do much anyway. He's still lazy.

    Have a fabulous day. ☺

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  10. I have never mowed the lawn in my life.
    ......then again, I've always thought lawns are ridiculous. I am that obnoxious neighbour with the grass and weeds growing waist-high, and a trampled path through them to the front door.

    Mike and Lil Sis apparently attended the same school of doing a poor job on purpose. At age 22, Lil Sis has never loaded or emptied a dishwasher, done laundry, vacuumed, or anything else related to basic household maintenance.

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  11. When I was a kid, the old man who lived next door had about 15 partial Lawn Boys which he could Frankenstein and mix and match as needed.

    Every time something was wrong with our lawnmower, my dad just yelled over the fence and the guy would go pull a piece off one of his partials.

    I sort of agree with Mich, though. lawns are ridiculous and I'm glad I have no yard to speak of. Arizona has the right idea, filling its front yards with rocks.

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  12. Last year we put a pool into our backyard which meant good-bye to the lawn. We have never had a lawn service. We must be the only people in south Orange County, CA who do not have a lawn service (aka gardeners) but my husband is completely against hiring "help" -- when he was growing up, his family WAS the "help" so I guess he would feel a traitor to his own kind or something if he should ever hire "help" for his own home - this means no house cleaners, no hired babysitters, and no gardeners. So up until we put the pool in we mowed our own lawn. But now we have the pool to keep up, and for some reason my husband isn't against having a pool service. (I guess when he was growing up there wasn't a pool man in the family.)

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  13. I'd make our son mow the lawn when he was a kid but my wife said I was too critical when I asked if he'd done the best job he could do, usually because he'd done such a poor job. Now we live in a townhouse and all the landscaping is taken care of.

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  14. Never had to as a kid. In those days being a girl trumped (that is with a small t) homework and sports. Today, it is one of my favorite jobs. My mind gets to wander for a couple of hours and the end results are so rewarding. Sure beats cleaning a clean house any day.

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  15. I hated the push mower when I was a kid. I can't remember when we got a power mower but it was probably after I had moved on.

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  16. You are right about young people mowing yards I don't see them doing it around here. I have hired a yard service the last four times mine has been cut; I had my mower in the shop. I do still mow and I'm a few yours older than you. (smile)

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  17. awww. i think your boys missed out. i totally enjoy mowing lawn. it's like therapy. let the mind unwind...

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  18. Mike-next-door, who is now 25, has been mowing our lawn since he was 14. Ms. A, whose house i cleaned every Saturday until it flooded, had a teen doing her lawn. When he was 11, he came over and knocked and politely introduced himself, and said he was offering his services as a lawn person, did she want to hire him? She did, and he mowed until this year, he is 18 now.
    Sometimes, teens still mow lawns.

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  19. My boys mowed our lawns. They have left the nest/lawn now, so we did the mowing ourselves. When I worked part-time, I did it, otherwise the task fell to my husband. A couple of months ago, we decided that this was one frugality we could do without. We now have a lawn guy.

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  20. From the time I was about 10 or so I mowed my parent's lawn, then after college when I had my own home(s) I mowed my lawns for 35 years, and HATED EVERY MINUTE OF IT! The last 5 years or so of my home ownership I broke down and hired a lawn crew. They didn't do it to my standards (none of them do) but by then I was so fed up with it they could have let a flock of sheep out to munch my grass down to the roots and I wouldn't have cared. I had 3 girls and no sons, and while they had their chores, lawn maintenance wasn't one of them.

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  21. I loved mowing the grass myself when we lived in Montana and had a big yard. One of our rentals we had to cut the grass. I was perfectly fine doing it until I saw a snake in the back yard once. Then son, who would cut the grass when asked, and does a good job, started taking over the chore. It is something satisfying to look back and see a freshly mowed lawn; similar to looking back and seeing cleared sidewalks of snow (something I also didn't mind with shoveling snow).

    betty

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  22. Forgot to say, the neighbors across the street do yard maintenance. They work at least 6, sometimes 7, days a week, and then they have to cut their own grass, having one of the only green yards in the neighborhood.

    betty

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  23. Homework and sports never got me out of it. I too have mowed for 50 years. These days I have a riding mower, but I actually enjoy it.
    R

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  24. As a child, mowing the lawn was one of my chores; we didn’t have a ride-on so I had to use the old petrol mower that would never start the first time and then when it did would throw out smoke like a bubbling volcano. These days I’ve invested in a ride on, well worth every penny.

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