Thursday, June 30, 2011

Achilles arrives

I have a lawn of sorts. It has a lot of dandelions, but you can always eat dandelions. It is enormous. I have mowed it with power lawnmowers since I got here. It is a chore. It takes me three days to do it. That is actually three hours of mowing, since after about an hour, the mower is out of gas and so am I. So I have purchased Achilles, the wonder garden tractor. It is a Troy-Bilt Pony, and you will recall Achilles was at the siege of Troy. Or so says Homer.
I bought it yesterday (at Lowe's on sale) and they delivered it today, unheard-of response. The delivery people fired it up for me, it starts like a dream. Now we all know you should read the manual before trying it out. Did I? No. Did I regret it? Yes. I confused the speed control with the mower deck height. Gave some of the lawn a very close shave. Cut two watering hoses in half. After that, I turned it off and went to read the manual. Ah, so that's how you do it!

Armed with my new-found information, I adjusted Achilles for low speed, maximum height and did the whole lawn in about 40 minutes. No effort. Fun, in fact. I have plans for Achilles. I am interested to see that Troy-Bilt offers both a snow-thrower and a dozer blade! But they warn me that a tiller would void the warranty. Spoilsports. In the meantime my lawn(oid) will stay mowed.

Achilles has his heels. Several, in fact. The ground clearance is almost nil. And he cannot mow sideways on a slope greater than 15 degrees. That means I can't do the septic tank except up-and-down. And I can't do the pasture. Too irregular. That's OK, I love to scythe. I'm in the middle of that now, and having fun too. Once I get all the alder stumps out of there maybe Achiles can do that. Or I can get a grass blade for the scythe. Or both.

And yes, it's yet another Infernal Combustion Engine in my life.

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