Sunday, October 16, 2005

GRASS-CUTTING GIZMOS

Or, all you ever wanted to know about lawn mowers but never dared to ask

By Penelope Bonkles, (formerly of Glutt Lodge in the Olde Country), inveterate collector of grass-cuttings for the compost, amateur slug-stomper, and charter member of the esteemed, “Better Gnomes & Garden Show”, held annually in a quaint if not oddly curious hole-in the-wall of humanity known as Hell Hollow, New Hampshire.

Cutting grass is generally not something women are expected to do, any more than they’re expected to take out the trash.

But should their significant other become indisposed or expire without notice, it always pays to be prepared for any eventuality…including the notion of nipping the grass every now and then.

Judging from the plethora of pretty if not pithy and practical gardening publications on the market today, women appear to be more adept than their counterparts when it comes to planting, potting, or simply pitching out stuff that doesn’t belong, obscures the view, or simply clutters up the space.

When it comes to lawns for example, males prefer tranquil tasks like backyard wrestling with a weed whacker as opposed to females who prefer manually pulling up things by the roots so they disappear for good. Males also prefer sitting atop a turbo-charged, super-cooled engine equipped with a razor-sharp revolving knife that cuts things off at the knees with glee, as opposed to women who are somewhat reticent about toying with testosterone tools or else choose a low-maintenance garden that has no turf in the first place.

According to the respected repository of rather fascinating facts and fluff, (Google), there are now 73,200,000 web pages devoted to gardens, 6,830,000 devoted to “lawns”, and 2,390,000 web pages devoted to the “lawn mower”.

For those who are keen on learning more about the lawn mower, they are invited to take a peek at following little gems. Besides cutting grass, the lawn mower seems to have acquired a new lease on life.

The Americans and British, not content just to cut lawns in their own backyards, are fiercely competing in an alternative racing sport. Associations have now been established for those wishing to race their sleek, mean, lawn-mower machines in order to secure red ribbons, tacky trophies, "honorable mentions" or "safe-driving" certificates.

And trust the Brits to one-up everyone by creating the “British Lawnmower Museum”, home to more than 200 vintage machines designed to trim lawns if not whiskers! They also claim to have established the world’s first lawn mower club for lawnmower collectors, (called “The Old Lawnmower Club” naturally!)

Not to be outdone by a boisterous band of British know-it-alls, the Americans have now come up with practical pointers, helpful hints, and tried-and-true tips on “putting your lawnmower to bed” (at the end of the grass-cutting season…what else did you think?).

For those not content to own a trendy tool that simply shortens the sod inconspicuously, they can invest in a new-fangled "multitasking" machine called a “mulch mower”. Otherwise, they can always learn how to convert their marvelous muncher into a snow blower or a generator when the power goes out…(except that no one has as yet figured out how to keep it running without some sort of fuel).

Some enterprising video game designers have even come up with a way to make a lawn mower fly, (which might be a boon to those collecting frequent-flyer points or parents concerned with reducing the number of wicked witches whirling about on Halloween).

However, much as human ingenuity has devised a way to keep lawns slim and trim, environmentalists now tell us that grass-cutting beats driving as a significant source of air-pollution, while health officials tell us that exposure to the sound of a power lawn mower or hair-dryer (90 db) may cause hearing loss, and safety professionals inform us that more than 2,300 children in the U.S. are seriously injured every year by riding and pushing lawn mowers.

So next time your deary drops out of sight, (either temporarily or permanently), and you're stuck with how to manicure your green carpet ...first decide whether you wish to push, walk behind, or ride your lawn mower; then decide if you really need to find out exactly what all those bells and whistles do besides decorate the blessed beast.

On the other hand, maybe it's time to try some new technology. Why not turn on the remote control and leave the rest to a ripsnorting robot, (who won't complain, curse, or cut you off at the knees)!

__________

Antique and vintage lawn mower collectors are invited to visit the British Lawnmower Museum at http://www.lawnmowerworld.co.uk

Lawn mower racing fans should drop by http://www.racemower.co.uk and http://www.letsmow.com

And if you're totally confused about which lawn mower to buy... check into Consumer Reports http://www.consumerreports.org/main/detailv3.jsp?CONTENT%3C%3Ecnt_id=32895&AFFID=S01CH0&AFFADID=00000010

For history buffs and social butterflies who insist on joining every obscure organization on the face of the planet, do mosey on over and have a chat with some jolly types at the "Old Lawnmower Club" who can't wait to fill you in on the latest gossip about grass-cutting gizmos ...http://www.oldlawnmowerclub.co.uk/

3 Comments:

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At 5:33 AM, Blogger quba said...

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At 8:50 AM, Anonymous Joann Deauln said...

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