Dave LeCompte (really) (tsmaster) wrote,
Dave LeCompte (really)

I know I belong to the land

So I scooted home on the early side last night in order to break in the New Lawn Behemoth.

I turned the key and it started. This is no small thing in my experience. But yeah, it started up, and I was able to drive around the yard with ease. A week and a half ago, I used the walk-behind lawnmower to hit around 4/5 of my yard, dropping huge clods of grass behind me as I went, as bagging the grass didn't seem like a practical option at the time. During the week that followed, I was attempting to tidy up the more visible parts of the lawn, bagging and mowing to a nice height and whatnot. It was after I had finished half of my front yard that I determined that finishing the whole yard would take around 80 hours.

This vies for promenance as the definition of futility with the practice of sweeping a dirt floor.

Hence, the purchase of The Behemoth. Last night, I mowed for about 1.2 hours (according to the digital display on the dashboard - really). For a while, I was attempting to bag what I had left behind before, and that had mixed success - the grass was still kinda deep and soggy, so it ended up clogging the bagger intake pipey gizmo. Note to self, I need to figure out the proper means for attaching the bagger intake gizmo to the mower deck. Seems like my current method's more work than it ought to be. After a while, I gave up on bagging, and decided to blow my clippings around the yard.

This was rather entertaining, because now I've got a lot more force to fling those clippings about, so they end up dispersed a lot more evenly. Still, they pile up. If you mow in an inward counter-clockwise spiral, the clippings start accumulating in the center, making the mower work harder as time goes on. If you mow in an inward clockwise spiral, the clippings disperse over the area you've already mowed, which looks bad.

One thing that became clear to me (again) as I was pondering the practice of moving grass around was that much of my frustration with my lawn was the amount of time required to finish the job. Using the walk-behind lawnmower, after 80 hours, I would have been able to get the entire yard down to a reasonable height... but even if I were to work 10 hour days, the grass would have had 8 days to become unruly again. I fervently hope that the new device will afford me a little bit of time in between mows when the lawn looks acceptable.

And I think that it will - when each iteration of a process is a huge investment of effort, one naturally economizes on iterations. Experience teaches you how to do those iterations efficiently so that the effort gets as much payoff as possible. But as iterations become inexpensive, the need to be efficient, the desire to cut corners, goes away. This perspective comes from my work experience where shifting technologies make certain tasks so easy that efficiency is no longer important, and aesthetics become defining criteria - that is, it's no longer an effort of engineering, but rather of art.

So, will I end up iterating over my lawn to that point? Will I become a lawn artist? Actually, no, I don't think so. Because I have other things that I would like to do with my time, and mowing my lawn still takes an investment of time. So I will probably raise my standards for a minimally acceptable lawn, but not so far that I stop seeing better looking yards than mine around the neighborhood.

On my way between the front door and the car this morning, I stopped to gaze over my lawn. I was startled when a hummingbird appeared about a foot from my head and flew away. Not everyday you get buzzed by a hovering avian.
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