This spring we upgraded our riding lawn mower and replaced our broken tractor all in one fell swoop with the purchase of a Steiner. I’m not exactly sure what it’s truly classified as but I like to describe it as the love child of a riding lawnmower and a tank. The Steiner and I have been getting along fabulously. I’ve been using the blade to level a spot for the pool, moving dirt with the scoop bucket, towing my chicken and duck houses into new spots, all by myself, and mowing the paths through the orchard.
Of course all those things had to come with an occasional Diet Coke break!
Now, because of this fantastic plan we found, where you purposely don’t mow your orchard until July, (Best plan ever!) to help naturally (not to mention more easily) control nasty things like apple scab, today was the first day I was going to mow the whole orchard with it.
I started the day with confidence. The mowing deck is more than twice as wide as the old riding mower! It mows in reverse and the mowing deck is attached to the front so it can go under low hanging branches, I was going to be done with the job so quickly!
(Just in case you were wondering that was a bit of ironic foreshadowing and breaking out some cynical laughter here would be completely appropriate.)
But, I’m me… so I was starting the day without one of the two belts on the mower. But, in a rare case of foresight, I had two new belts waiting and the one I needed to replace wasn’t even the one that required taking the mowing deck off to put on.
I put my new belt on. Put the old belt on. Stepped back. Scratched my head. Swore. Took both belts off and put them back on the right way.
I was up and running!
The far side of the orchard where the earliest, least tasty and mushiest of our apples were ripe. I ate this one anyway. Sometimes it’s the principle of the matter.
I headed to the orchard, I mowed one, nice, wide, pass all the way to the far side of the property when the other belt blew.
That belt, was the belt that required taking the mowing deck off. I drove all the way back.
I took the mowing deck off. I got the belt in position. I put the mowing deck back on. I put both belts on.
I was ready to go!
I had to take all three dogs to their vet appointment.
After taking all three dogs to the vet the kids who had been playing with a friend quite nicely up until now decided that they were unsatisfied with everyone and everything in the world and that only swimming in the pool in the backyard would solve their issues. Like any mom worth her salt, I made a deal. Cleaning for pool time. I’ll be in the orchard, come get me in 30 when the rooms are clean and I’ll watch you in the pool.
I’d get so much mowed in 30 minutes, it was going to be fine.
I jumped on, headed down to the far end of the property and moments later there were children waving their arms. A smoke detector was going off and they smelled smoke!
Back to the house I went where there was no smoke but there was indeed a smoke detector going off. I stood on a chair and pushed the “hush” button. It didn’t hush.
I pushed it again. It didn’t hush.
I repeated this process adding in frantic twisting motions to get the *&^% thing off the ceiling while four girls yelled “helpful” advice at me over the noise of the beeping.
Eventually the beeping and the “help” became too much. I abandoned finesse gave a yank and pulled both the smoke detector and the screw holding it onto the ceiling off. This caused it to stop beeping. I’m not sure why, my only guess is that it could sense that my next step was to smash it with a hammer so it decided to behave. I gave it a serious eyeballing, just in case it didn’t get the message, and threw it on a shelf, sniffed around for smoke, checked to see that we did indeed own other smoke detectors that were not going off and went back to my mowing job.
Oddly enough I didn’t get much more mowed before it was “time” for the girls to swim in the pool.
Time to swim turned into time to take the friend home turned into time to make dinner…
Eventually I made it back on the Steiner and as the sun was setting I finished up mowing the orchard.
Mowing the orchard all at once.
I love the Steiner but I still hate mowing.