Reel Quiet

I just mowed my lawn for the first time this Spring. It’s kind of a chore. Still, I also kind of enjoy it. It’s one of those things where I get to bring a little bit of order to the chaos in my corner of the world. At least for a little while. I don’t mind a little bit of sweat. I appreciate the opportunities to interact with our neighbors. And I love it at the end: when the lines look so straight and the height of the grass (and other weeds) in my lawn is so uniform. It’s real nice. And — for the last couple of years now — it’s been real quiet, too. Or should I say “reel quiet?”

I’ve been using a push reel mower, ever since our motorized mower conked out two summers ago. It seems old-fashioned — like an early-20th Century cartoon character version of “mowing the lawn” — but I think it works really well for our lawn. I might even use the same argument for using push reel mowers that I often use for riding a bicycle: it’s good for Health, for Wealth, for the Earth, and for Mirth. It’s good exercise. It offers significant cost-savings. It’s environmentally-conscious. And it’s just nice to find joy in connecting with my environment.

Still, I recognize that a push reel mower is not for everyone. There are pros and cons for the push reel mower, as with anything. I can sometimes be frustrated by a level of inefficiency: needing to make two different passes, from two different angles, to achieve the best results. Because it’s about the angles. The push reel mower doesn’t just obliterate everything at or above the level of its spinning blades, like a motorized mower. It also doesn’t do as good a job on weeds as it does on grass. Though I’ve never really been able to figure out why this is…

Anyway, I wonder if more people should give the push reel mower some serious consideration. Even with the inefficiency noted above, mowing with the push reel mower takes about the same amount of time that it would take with a motorized mower. It’s supposed to be better for the lawn. It takes up significantly less storage space in my garage. It’s probably easier to use (both operating the machinery and physically pushing it around) than my old motorized mower. And one of my favorite things about the push reel mower is its decibel output. Far quieter than a motorized mower.

Maybe I’m just getting to be a crotchety old man, but I don’t like the constant whine of leaf-blowers and/or lawn mowers in my neighborhood on a pleasant Saturday afternoon. It’s inescapable at this time of the year. And I really do think all the noise is unnecessary. We’ve got other tools we could be using. I know I very recently posted a similar call to “revolution” with bicycles. But seriously: I’m not anti-technology. I’m not Neo-Luddite or Amish. I’m just saying: the push reel has some actual advantages. It’s reel nice. Reel cheap. And reel quiet. Come over and give it a try sometime, if you’d like.

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