Wednesday, April 25, 2007

Driving 101 - The Lesson!

Driving 101 - The Lesson

Riding on Betsy the lawn mower that is...

Perhaps I should back up a wee bit to this past weekend again. Among the outdoor items necessary to tend to, was our old “Betsy” ride mower needing to be checked over to see if she will fair well again this year.

When purchasing this house, our contract deal included the lawn mower the previous owners had in their garage, for our use with such an enormous grassed acreage cutting detail. My hubby had the lawn mower picked up for an initial new year servicing, and an estimate of maintenance suggested by the dealer to be under one hundred dollars including the pick up and delivery. The machine was actually returned after the hefty invoice stated a different story - that of 700.00 later, as it needed all new cutting blades from their poor condition and warping underneath, new hydraulics, and an oil leak repaired.

We later found out the children living here previously not only cut neighborhood yards, but they used it as a transportation vehicle to get to their piano lessons and ride to the beach with their kayaks in tow. We laughed so hard when we found out, though weren’t impressed with the bill at the end of the day! In addition, this summer, good old Betsy may need much more than just a servicing, the hydraulics are almost shot, so a fee that may cost more than it’s worth. Nevertheless, here’s hoping we can get another year from her anyway.

Having been stored in the barn all winter long, it had accumulated dust and mounds of straw bit build-ups from our frisky dogs dancing about while creating their cozy nests to lay on, seemingly creating clouds of straw bits as it began to break up and puff up all around the barn interior. The bunnies loved their residue cloud formations landing into their cages, but the lawnmower was choking and gagging therefore it was necessary to overhaul and give it a thorough cleaning, if anything.

After washing and scrubbing the exterior dirty blanket coating of the machine, the oil, and hydraulic fluid were noted, the handle screws tightened and one small boy begged to be an assistant to the lawn mowing duties this summer. As he begged and pleaded, he also was giving assurances he was indeed a mature young man and would thrive on new assigned duties such as this job, where he could prove his abilities, so promptly thereafter he was given driving instructions, followed by a lesson and then allowed to move freely about to give it a try.

As I stood in disbelief on the back deck, the smile beaming across the yard to me was followed by this son giving thumbs up often, laughing aloud and then giggling in delight as if he were at a summer fair on a ride thrill seeking. As the zero clearance arms couldn’t quite follow his shaky and uneven lead, he was sent almost orbiting about creating circles in fast formations. He recovered easily, gave more thumbs up, and the design lines in the grass showed there will be more lessons to come.

Love those patterns in the grass!

As he returned back to his father when the trial was completed, a screw fell out of the arm and needed repair, and the lawnmower itself sputtered and spit to announce it was almost out of fuel.

Stop here!

Look out for that tree!

....and really, he's trying hard to do just that!

Tomorrow, the red gas can will come to town with me, and I’ll be certain to fill it to the brim for our very first lawn cutting of the season. It’s quite an event around here to cut the grass, and a successful conclusion when all is finished in under four hours! This son’s thrill of the driving may be short lived, as his older sister and brother are also eager to get on the machine, so they may actually enjoy their chance at lawn cutting this year, though less frequently. I resolved the time waste while they sit on “Betsy”, having many books on tape stored up for the walkman to listen to for a double task making pleasure. Yes, schooling and lawn mowing do go hand in hand don’t they?