Monday, July 15, 2013

Mowing on the farm - in the style of some weird sporting event

The rules:
1.  Get as much mowing done with one tank of gas as you can.
2.  Extra points for pig weeds taller than the front of the riding mower (50 points)
3.  Points for regular sized pig weeds (10 points), fire weeds (10 points) and ground cover (5 points)
4.  Lose points for running over a stick, hose, snake, weed barrier, carpet, chunk of wood, etc. (-8 points per hit with the blades)
5.  Bonus level includes using the trimmer to clean up the edges of a course for perfect looking area (75 points)

(Read the following commentary like a sports announcer in your head)

Here we are folks, in the prequalifying trials, at the quonset of one wild mower named Nancy.  She is checking tire pressures and gassing up the Husquvarna mower that looks like it has seen better days and a few head on views of small trees.  As she puts the air hose away and tops off the gas we are intrigued by her choice of visor and mowing apparel.  Who are those sponsors any way?  Wrightsville Beach?  Santa Cruz?  Tweety bird?  We never know which sponsor she is mowing with until we see the visor. 

The quonset doors are open, sunlight hits the mower deck and we hear the engine choke to life.  With a quick flick of the wrist, Nancy has that mower inching out of the quonset, mower deck on 6 which is the highest setting.  We know from past trials she likes to mow at a level 4 but we have seen the track today and frankly folks, we doubt that she will be able to maintain that low deck level through the driveway entrance where there are pig weeds as tall as 4 feet or more.  There are several stages to today's trial run.  The driveway entrance looks to be the most challenging so it will be interesting to see if she goes full tilt down the driveway ditch to tackle that stage first.  The other areas on the course today are 3 times around the squash patch with a hose and sprinkler deduction hiding in the tall weeds, an easy 4 passes on the south end of her house, keeping the clippings away from the flowers, navigating around the burn tank and around the east garden twice, and then the freestyle course where she chooses the open area she wants as a bonus round - available today are west of the house around the pumpkin patch, south end of the farm yard around the young pin oak trees or the west windbreak.  Hold on, folks, she is pulling out a surprise from the quonset, could it be?  Is she really going to do a trimmer tag-a long?  Yes she is, there is the trimmer now positioned behind the Husky mower poised to take the long run down the driveway.

4---3----2----1----- and there she goes!  Yes it is the challenge stage first, pulling the trimmer behind the mower with an outstretched arm she is going top speed of 5 mph down the driveway south ditch.  Whoa, what was that, the trimmer hit the hole by the pin oak trees and almost toppled over.  She gets to the edge of the first stage and leaves the trimmer and starts out at a level 4 low deck mowing the short weeds at the edge of the field.  She won't be able to maintain that, she is hitting pig weeds fast.  Oh, she pulls off to the side of the large pig weeds and gets the edge of the road first maintaining her level 4 low deck pace. . . . 2 swings around and we see the mower deck jump to the level 5.  There is a lot of rocking and rolling back and forth across those large pig weeds.  We measured one earlier today that was almost 5 feet tall, do you suppose she will go that far south in the ditch? Let's see.  No she is stopping just this side of that tall pig weed, but she has managed to eliminate several others that were 3-4 feet tall and at least 2 feet in diameter.  She backs up the mower to the edge of the field to get a run at the steep grade leading up to the highway, she checks left and the right, making sure no one is coming from either direction and then goes full throttle and level 4 up the side of the ditch to the edge of the road.  She makes a big swing in the southbound lane of the highway and then heads back down the steep ditch grade.  She is really making those weeds fly.  Wait a minute, how is she going to manage around the culvert?  There is no traction there?  Let's watch and see.  She almost has the main part of the ditch cleared, looking very nice and almost at a manicured level, that should earn some extra points.  She puts the mower at full throttle and heads straight for the trimmer.  I hope that thing starts without a fuss.  She parks the mower in the bottom of the ditch and pulls the string pulley for the trimmer.  Once - twice, yes it roars to life.  She approaches the culvert to asses the best angle to attack those weeds from.  4 quick passes - 1 downhill against gravity and she has that culvert looking like something you see in the city.  Folks she is doing a great job.  She turns off the trimmer, parks it at the edge of the driveway entrance and heads across to the north side with the mower.  There aren't any tall pig weeds here, we suspect the stubble field was sprayed and that helped keep things clearer in this section of the ditch.  5 quick passes and she has the first stage done.  She pulls the mower deck up, grabs the trimmer and full throttle heads back up the driveway to the farm.  I think that was a 350 point stage.  I didn't see a single pig weed bounce back after she left.

Let's take a break and come back to see how these trials end up, right after a word from our sponsors!. . . .

(commercial break - if you want to know more, you have to ask for the next round through the comments option below.  I hope you enjoyed this post! - nancy)