Thursday, March 03, 2005

Mowing Wet Grass = Bad Idea

As you may have heard, we've had quite a bit of rain here recently. I realize that those of you currently getting a series of Nor'easters have no sympathy for my plight, but there are some unique issues with the duration of rain and moderate temperatures. For one thing, my grass really grew for a stretch of time. It was up to my knees in some parts of the yard. As of Saturday, we had been rain free for one whole day. Saturday was my only day to mow or else it would go at least another week...

So, I had to mow wet grass. But it wasn't just that the grass was wet. The ground was wet, too. In the back yard it was downright swampy. There were standing pools of water in places, leaving me to wonder about my drainage. I started out front with the mower set for its usual neat trim and the bagger in place. The first problem of mowing really wet, tall grass is that it doesn't chop into nice little pieces. It purees into something the consistency of cooked spinach. This is very good for clogging the blades so badly that they stop. It also sticks to every surface under the mower such that even if it doesn't clog, it reduces the physical air volume under the mower causing stalls. After about 30 minutes, I realized the solution to this problem. I had to raise the mower up to a higher setting.

The second problem with this activity is that the spinach is too heavy to be propelled into the rear bag by the forces created by the whirling blade. All the bag does is create extra surface area to be coated by mulch mucilage. It took another half hour to twig onto this. I started see loose clumps of grass on the front lawn and the bag was not filling up. It should have, given the length of the grass.

So, I took the bag off and used it as a receptacle as I attempted to rake wet, clumpy grass that has attached itself to wet stationary grass. Unfortunately, the tool I was using did not work as well as you would have thought. I had one of those wide, fiberglass rakes that the folks in New England use for their leaves in the fall. I found that the grass tended to do one of two things when confronted with this rake. Neither of these things involved accumulating in a neat pile. The grass stuck. It stuck to the rake. It stuck to the ground. Hell, it stuck to my shoes. It did not accumulate. I thought perhaps if I raked more briskly, I'd have more luck. The grass stuck to the ground less. In place of this activity, it took to the air. I tried to keep the clumps flying in one direction. I reasoned that the clumps would eventually encounter the fence, which would stop them, or the neighbor's yard, which would be outside my domain.

It only took me two hours to mow my three sections of grass. They combine to total a little under a quarter of an acre. And the worst part is, since I had the blades so high, it's already time to mow again!