Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Cutting The Grass

At our house, cutting the grass is my job. But only because I really enjoy doing it. When I was a kid, my parents had to force me or pay me to do it; mostly the former. We have half an acre here in France (a bit over 2,000 square meters), so it's a decent size, but not too big. Of course, there are many obstacles to cut around.

This is a little powerpoint map I made of our property a while back.
Click on the image to see it larger.

The lawnmower is a standard walk-behind model, although it is self-propelled so I don't have to push it. But negotiating all the obstacles (trees, shrubs, grape vines) means I'm constantly lifting and pushing/pulling the thing a lot of the time.

Those of you who know me won't be surprised that I keep a spreadsheet log of when I've cut the grass and how frequently for each year since 2003. It includes how much gas I've bought, when I do the oil changes, and when I get the blade sharpened. I know. Nerdy.

A man and his machine.

For example, I know that I've cut the grass seventy times since we moved into the house in 2003. The average interval between cuts is seventeen days (that doesn't include winter, when I don't cut).

The year I cut the most was 2004, with fifteen cuts for the season. The year with the fewest cuts was 2006; only ten. I don't count 2003 because we arrived in June, and the cutting season usually starts around the end of March each year.

This September cut could be the last of the year, but it's not likely. The latest cut so far was October 27, 2003. Since then there have been two other years when the final cut of the season happened in mid-October.

So far I'm averaging about twenty liters of gasoline each season. But we also use the gas in our garden rotary cultivator, so it's not all for the lawn. And when I say "lawn," I use the word loosely. The yard is probably no more than fifty percent grass. The rest is a mixture of other little green plants that are anything but grass.

The woman who owned the house before us called it a little prairie. That's a pretty good description.


  1. Interesting statistics... nerdy?... around here we call it O.C.D. and they say there are medications for it if you really want to get better.

  2. papa said it all... We think you rock whether or not you track weather, lawn mowing, and such.

  3. Nothing wrong with that! For about 30 years I spent hours each Sunday in my garden with my 3-page list, noting which plants were in bud or bloom or needed attention.

    I also keep meticulous track of our expenses. Just thought I'd mention it, as apparently this is not a widespread practice among organizations with more capital than we personally have. Maybe the idea will catch on.

  4. if you could only find a way to secure a wine glass holder to it...hmmm.

  5. Rachael - The only problem with fixing a wine glass to the mower would be that he would have to keep track of how many glasses of wine it takes to finish the lawn, how many steps per sip, whether the wine was red, white or rosé, the vintage - and so on, endlessly.
    Walt - do you feel up to the task?

  6. Hey, it's fun to see a photo with you in it :) You and Ken are usually absent from the photos, so it's nice to get to relate your face to your writing :) I absolutely love the layout image of your yard, too!

    By the way, did you figure out already that the reason your weblog award is spelled brillante is because it's Spanish? The word at the bottom, premio is prize, and brillante (pronounced like bree-AHN-tay) means something like great. Maybe you already knew all that :))


  7. I have a solution for Walt. Here we have a lanyard from which one can hang a beer bottle. May be Walt can pour his fav wine in a smaller bottle and hand the lanyard holding the bottle around his neck whilst he pushes his lawn mower :-)

  8. Isn't it enough that he drinks wine both BEFORE and AFTER he cuts the grass. You guys are enablers! Just kidding... Ken

  9. Oh yea, seine judeet reminded me... the photo... OMG... such a good 'ol boy, I'm gonna start callin' ya Bubba. All that wine and ravioli talk is pullin' our leg. You're guzzlin' beers and pork rinds.

  10. Don't know what patent laws are like in France. But this lanyard-wine-beer idea is worth looking into. IMHO.

  11. ben, you mean, like drugs?

    cheryl, rock and roll!

    carolyn, we can only hope...

    rachael, it's gotta be spill-proof.

    susan, I'm totally up to it!

    judy, well, of course! Spanish! What a concept!

    beaver, add a straw and I'm on my way.

    ken, not like I need enablers...

    ben, you should see the sofa out on my front porch. Yee haw!

  12. Oh, and ben, I clean up real good.

  13. I love this, totally. Nothing wrong with a bit of record keeping.

  14. I have the product for you!! http://www.drinkstuff.com/products/product.asp?ID=3 I have actually seen these in stores in Texas, if only I knew you needed one!! You can always fill a sippy cup with wine and perch it in the beer holder. Voila! Spill proof wine on the go my friend...

    PS Wow, did you data mine your spreadsheets? You might be related to my husband...

  15. syd, thank you. A truer statement there never was.

    susan, lmao! That's exactly what I thought of when all of this started.


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