Guest Blog – Nan Becklean: Cutting Remarks

We ought not to have a lawn but we do. It was here when we moved in and, until recently, I never thought once about its carbon footprint or, for that matter, the carbon footprint of anyone or anything.

Not to say the lawn is in and of itself a creator of environmental bad-stuff––it’s what you’re cutting it with that is––or might be––assuming if, like me, you haven’t figured out how to make it into a charming meadow. The first cutting choice is clearly a family of goats that would nibble the grass and fertilize it at the same time. I like that idea a lot as well as making cheese from their milk, though having an illegal product on my hands tends to upset the bucolic vision. “Oh do take some,” I hear myself cry to departing friends. “It’s unpasturized, yes, but––not to worry––we eat it all the time.

Also, there’d be the barn cleanup, the vet bills, and the immense unknowable goat fall-out no one will tell you about until after your dogs have died and you are scratching all the time from something dire. Seeing that our barn is now a garage, the idea becomes a complete non-starter much like our gas push-mower which, along with our riding mower, is now in for repair. Upon their return, my husband will assume the duties formerly executed by Mark whom we paid in advance for five weeks; he needed the money––as if we didn’t––and who then mowed twice and has not been seen since. Yes, the good-deed/punishment association is much in our minds and, no, it isn’t the first time.

During the weeks it’s taken for us to come to terms with tall and taller grass and before we decided to fix the machines long moldering while giving shelter to mice in the garage, I looked into quiet, pro-environmental alternatives. I nearly purchased a reel mower until I read the only one that would work on Soysia grass wouldn’t work on tall grass, and we have only a little of the first and a lot of the second. I then sought an old fashioned mower on-line, over the phone and by car but was unable to find one anywhere. The people in stores dedicated to mowers were either confused by my request or pitying. On-line searches turned up more reel mowers. To be fair, I found a place in town where the manager knew what I meant and said there had been such a machine in the store but, alas, some other person of doubtful state-of-the-art intelligence had already purchased it.

It was then I broke down and purchased an electric mower so I could achieve a near-silent, non-polluting cut above. It is here, unpacked––and not ready to go. Apparently, I need to oil just about everything including the wheels––meaning I must remove them every time before and after I mow the lawn. No one told me this was part of the deal. All I can hope for now is the thing won’t work so I can pack it back up and hit send.

Goats, again, are starting to appeal. I could put up a little shed.

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