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Women are amazing. We can do anything, go us, rah, rah. However, I have noticed that sometimes we don’t certain things well or easily just because we were never taught. (And frankly we weren’t taught these things because of our own disinterest, not lack of attention on another’s part.)  Like, how does one mow the lawn? (When I was a girl, my brothers always mowed the lawn, for which I am eternally gratefully! I did mow the fields once or twice on the tractor, but I don’t think that counts as it is more like driving a really slow car, no manual labor involved. I am pretty sure my Dad would have taught me how to mow the lawn if I had said “hey, Dad, I would love learn how to mow the lawn today!” But I didn’t want to learn how to mow the lawn and I was more than happy in my ignorance.) Now, as a renter with a huge backyard, it is my job (and my roommates) to keep things tidy. Unfortunately (or fortunately, I think it is fortunate I was in my late twenties when I touched a lawn mower for the first time), I didn’t know quite how to go about this task when I finally had to do it myself. So, over the weekend I put together a little tutorial, complete with pictures. Hope it helps! And happy mowing! 

1) Make sure your feet are covered to protect them from anything that might get spit out of the underside of the lawn mower. I like Crocs ballet flats for yard work. They are easy on and off and I can hose them clean when I am done.

2) Detail the lawn for large branches and stones, if you run over one of these it could ruin your mower, or it could hurt you. (Also, note if the lawn is really wet. When you’ve had several days, weeks, of torential rain it is a good idea to let the lawn dry out a day or two. Otherwise you’ll be mowing a giant stew of grass and dirt.

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3) Check your mowers fluids. You use regular gas that has been treated (you can by the treatment from Lowes or Home Depot, just ask for help! I couldn’t find the bottle to show you). They gas goes here, the cap with the handy little gas pump on it:

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For the oil, use small engine oil, like this:
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The oil goes here, there is a tiny little oil can:

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When you pull your oil stick out it will look like this:

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Look at the end of the stick to determine if you need more oil, the black oil should come up to those little stripy things. As you can see, my mower needs a little oil.

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4) You can adjust the height of the lawn by moving the levers on the wheels here:

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And here:

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If your grass is really long you’ll want to start on a higher setting, and then the next time around bring the setting down a little lower. Otherwise it is really hard to push the mower when the grass is really long and your mower is set really low.

5) Once you’ve checked the fluids and cleared the lawn you are ready to start! To start the mower grab the handle and the thin thingy (I have no idea what this is called) with one hand (I am not sure what happens exactly, but doing this allows the engine to start, if you don’t, it won’t start, or if you let go while you are mowing, the engine will stop). Like this:

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6) Grab the starting cord and pull (while still holding the handle and thin thingy) to start the engine. It may take a pull or two before it get’s going. I find this to be the hardest part because your holding the handle down with one hand (which is also holding the mower steady) and then trying to yank really hard with the other hand – I always feel like my arm is too short to get it going. But after a few tries it usually starts:

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7) Start mowing the lawn! It can get really boring, but if you are into geometric patterns things can be interesting. Once I did concentric squares until all that was left on the lawn was a 3 ft. X 3 ft. square.

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8) When you are finished make sure to put your mower away somewhere safe from rain so it doesn’t get rusty. Also, I was told that you should not store your mower with gas in it over the winter – your mower won’t start in the spring. (I found that out the hard way. In the end it was cheaper to buy a new mower than to have it fixed.) I am not sure how you are supposed to get the gas out, I suppose this year towards the fall I just won’t fill the gas tank up all the way when I mow the lawn and just let it run out.

9) If you are from the East Coast you should probably do a tick check when you finish mowing, just in case. Eeeeew.

10) Get yourself a glass of something cool (and full of electrolytes, mowing the lawn is a workout!) and admire your hard work!

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