Monday, October 18, 2010

Finally - Fall!

Red and gold leaves cover the wooded hillsides in Southern Illinois. Morning temperatures are low enough to require arm-warmers or even a coat. The prevailing wind has shifted to the North-West on most days. Halloween/Thanksgiving/Christmas is almost here. Fall! Fall! Fall!

All good things, to be sure, but the reason to love Fall best is DEAD YARDS. Yes, dead grass. All of the grass in my yard is slowly but surely turning brown. Yea! This next month I will complete the final ride in a bid to obtain the much-coveted RUSA R-12 award. For 12 consecutive months I've ridden at least one ride of 200 kilometers or better. And what, you may ask, was the most difficult part? Keeping the grass mowed.

My grass has to be mowed at least twice a week, or it just plain runs wild. And if you've followed me on facebook, you've seen pictures of my mower - a reel mower. It doesn't have a motor. You just push, and the blades rotate forward cutting the grass. Unless it's more than 2 inches tall. Then it just bends it over a little. And you have to back up and try again, and again, and again.

Have you ever watched a woman vacuuming the house? Ever notice how many times she'll go over a thread to get the vacuum to pick it up? Have you wondered why she doesn't just bend down and manually pick up the thread - put in in her pocket - and throw it away later?

Well, I have, on occasion, after multiple passes at a long spot of grass, just bent down and pulled the grass up. Anyone watching probably wonders why I own a lawn mower, since I seem to be hand-pulling the yard most of the time. Well, the short answer is: I don't pull all of it up, the mower does do some of the work. The longer answer is: I'd look pretty stupid walking back and forth in my yard pulling up the grass.

I've had kids watching me mow and ask me if they could try my mower out. It seems that they have never seen a lawn mower without a motor. I always say no. No need to try out my homeowners insurance. I just keep plugging away.

It has been stressful to keep the yard mowed twice a week while doing enough training to successfully ride long distance AND complete a 200 kilometer ride every month without fail. Now that Fall is here, I can focus on just riding my bicycle. (Cue the Queen: "bicycle, bicycle, I want to ride my bicycle..."

(Until the leaves cover my yard and have to be raked, and until the snow needs shoveled, and until the water heater craps out just before bedtime and has to be replaced on a day off after two days of cold showers and until...well you get the point.)

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