My landlady in Fairfield had an old rusty reel mower in the garage, and I tried using it once before giving up -- it just wouldn't cut worth a darn, so I assumed it was dull, and I asked around to see if anyone would sharpen it, but no one would. But then just before I left Fairfield, a friend told me that he used a reel mower, and he was the first person I'd ever met who did, so I asked him how he sharpened it. He said, "You don't need to sharpen it. You just adjust it right, and it sharpens itself." Well, that got me intrigued, so I tinkered with the thing until I figured it out, and it did an OK job. I wouldn't want to use it on a lawn the size of the one I had in Fairfield, but for one the size we were buying in Emporia, it was just the thing, so I asked my landlady if I could buy it from her, and she gave it to me for free!
During the summer and fall, I had plenty of time to think about what I was doing. In no particular order, here's a partial list of top ten Reasons to Use a Reel Mower:
- Never use two horses to do what a quarter of a horse can do.
- Gas-powered mowers are noisy and smelly, and electric ones are expensive.
- No really, how many quiet evenings have been ruined because your neighbors were mowing their lawns? Do you want to be that obnoxious to them?
- Power mowers are dangerous. Why does a blade have to go so fast just to cut grass? You might as well keep a chainsaw in your kitchen to open cans.
- It's great whole-body, aerobic exercise.
- It will make you seriously wonder why you have so much grass. Even if you have hardly any to start with.
- It will make you see the virtues of crab grass, which is succulent and easy to cut, over zoysia, which is stringy and tough.
- The way it throws clippings into the air, it's like marching in your own ticker-tape parade.
- Mulching mowers are back in style. This mower was mulching before mulching was cool.
- It slows traffic in your neighborhood.
I hope I can convince some of you to give a reel mower a try. It's not for everyone... at least not yet!