The lawn is way too big. There is no reason for a lawn this big. This is not brag-complaining, the lawn is just way too big.
Where are the trees?? The wildflowers? The goats to help keep the grass (at least, the delicious bits) at a reasonable level?
What on earth is the purpose of a lawn full of neatly mowed grass, anyway? Is it simply to sell lawnmowers? Or to give a parent a chance to get away from their kids for a few hours while they plug away, usually spending excessive amounts of non-renewable energy* in the process? Is it to give older children busy work; a chore, but one with tangible, psychologically satisfying results?**
While owned by the bank, clearly someone had been spending a lot of gasoline keeping the lawn neatly mowed. The massive, 1+ acre of grass. I am opposed to the entire thing for a few reasons (you might say, excuses, but really they are reasons):
1. There is no great naturally occurring ecosystem that consists of the pure grass that must be kept at ~1″.
2. Dandelions are pretty.
3. Bees are dying, and I just don’t see cutting huge swaths of their food (wildflowers, etc) while simultaneously polluting their environment with gasoline as a great way to keep them from dying off (and taking us with them).
4. Trees are more fun to climb than grass.
5. THE FUTILITY! I feel as though I may be getting repetitive (it’s a flaw, sorry), but seriously, how did giant expanses of perfectly manicured lawn that require more time and energy than children become so important?
So that’s the background, summarized by: Lawn is huge; I hate lawns on a philosophical level; I cannot bring myself to pollute the environment for the sole purpose of mowing a lawn.
But… I do recognize that I live in a social world with cultural rules and expectations – and I have to pick my battles. So a compromise was made.
Coming from an apartment in Brooklyn, we definitely did not have any lawncare (or outdoor) equipment already. So not only did I have to care for a stupidly large empty-space lawn, but I had to pay for the privilege. I did a lot of research and finally landed on the Scotts 20 inch manual push reel mower.
Yes, perhaps the idea of using a reel push mower (no engine) on an acre+ of grass seems silly, idealistic, crazy, etc (my best friend has called me all of these, I think, and many worse 😉 ). But it is the only solution I could think of. I simply cannot justify the fossil fuel/energy cost of a lawnmower. Plus, this will keep us all in shape.*** And, it’s way more period authentic to my beautiful 1870 house 🙂
This is also a sort of short-term plan. Long term, the dream is to plant a lot of black cherry trees on the front slope, apple trees by the shed, weeping willows in the gully, and every other type of non-invasive tree I feel like.
We will, however, leave a nice path for sledding.
*This works on two levels: Fossil fuels, and individual energy.
**It is super satisfying; one of those things where you can see the results of your efforts immediately, and easily measure how much you have done, and how much you have yet to do. For like 2 days before the grass is above your head again.
***Don’t even get me started on riding lawn mowers. I get it, sometimes they are necessary. But beyond medical/ableness/age concerns, I think it is funny that people pay thousands of dollars for a riding lawn mower, spend more money (and environmental cred) on gasoline, all for the privilege of not exercising. One of the only good things about a lawn is that it forces you to get up and move around and exercise your body once and a while. Again, there are many people who have medical or other concerns that would preclude them from pushing a lawn mower, and I get and respect that. Otherwise, any lawn that I would consider too large to mow with a push mower, is (in my opinion!) simply too large. 🙂