The following was written by Jim Bombard of Hartselle. It was submitted by Florence Clowes of Vero Beach, Fla.
The joys of yard work
I tend to the yard work, weather permitting on Saturdays. Weather not permitting, I do it the next week. I cut the grass on my 1940 small city sized lot, with a push reel lawn mower.
I find the gentle whirl sound pleasant and a reminder of my grandfather. He loved to tinker with these wooden handled cutting machines. People marvel that a silent, person- propelled, 18-inch wide machine is sufficient; I say if you need a big noisy machine you got too much yard.
When my grandson was six and seven he would love to push the mower, although the missing motor bothered him for a long time. I just told him it was a little boy-powered lawn mower. He would cut circles, stripes and squares. I figured any cutting is good cutting and would fill in the rest. Now that he is big enough to actually cut the grass he never seems to be around on grass day.
The real problem with any reel mower is that it only cuts grass. The smelly noisy machines will chew up and spit out twigs, bags, branches– any thing low enough to get under the machine. Not the reel mower– it only cuts neat and not too tall grass. So before I cut the grass I have to walk the yard pulling the large brown recycle bin picking up the twigs and sticks that fall from the two stately, spreading, tall oak trees in the postage-size front yard. I imagine the first lady of the house planting them after she moved in, she drove the markers in the dirt and her husband dug the holes, one on each side of the curved sidewalk to the mail box. The tress are very big now, their heavy braches stretch across the street on one side and over the yard towards the house on the other. The branches are slender as they reach over our yellow house's roof, they shade and protect the house like a mother's caring fingers. The branches hold the house in place, caressing and gripping each end. Gently they wave, placing dappled shadows on our little porch and roof. Each leaf seems perfectly placed to shade and dance in the breezes. Each giant tree also drops leaves and branches in the yard during the week.
I have noticed a difference in the volume and placement of clutter from one tree to the other .The one on the right will drop a few delicate twigs. The mess will be arranged in a neat semi circle around the base. It is always an easy clean up job on that side of the sidewalk. The one on the left will shed branches, leaves, twigs and an occasional pine cone. The mess will be all over the side of the yard and into the garden. I will have to pick up the tree debris and an occasional bottle and then rake the area, before I can cut the grass. Based on these observations I have named the tree on the right Denise. The tree on the left is a Mike.
On Saturday you will see me pushing the mower, watching the grass leap from the blades to tumble back down to the lawn. I listen to the monotonous clicking sound the mower makes, occasionally taking a break on the old shaded bench. If you ask right, and I need another break I just may let you push awhile.