Grass Today, Gone Tomorrow!

Summer is here! The temperature is rising and the sun is shining brighter than ever. Now is the time for pulling weeds, mowing grass, and planting flowers. Summer work is some of the most challenging work to be done. There is a lot of strenuous activity that goes into yard work. But for now, mowing grass is the topic. Not all girls know how to cut grass, or even how to start the mower. That’s okay, really it is. Hopefully this article will help you in this area—not only to do the work, but also to keep from hurting yourself in the process.

First, find a mower that works. Yes, very obvious, but very important. You also want to scan the grass for items like dog toys, or anything that your parents might have to make it look pretty, such as young trees and plants—which can often happen to look very similar to weeds! In my yard, my mom put a lighthouse, two stone dogs that say “welcome,” a little squirrel, and a little bunny. I really have to make sure and look carefully, because she adds stuff all the time. Also, as obvious as it sounds, be sure to watch out for children. Children are often outside in the spring and summer, and this is a season when there are many outdoor accidents involving children. There should be no children around you when you are mowing!

When the scanning is done, make sure the mower is full of gas. It’s very frustrating when you’re mowing grass and your mower suddenly dies on you. Look inside the tank to check if you can see any gas, then shake it to see if any comes out. Fill the tank up a little, see if it overflows, then fill it up (slowly) until it reaches the top. Don’t worry if you go over. Just shake the mower and let the excess gas slosh on the mower. It’s meant to be dirty, and it’ll dry.

For push mowers, hold down the bar at the handle of the mower, pull the “pull start” (yes, that’s what it’s called, and it’s the cord to the right of the handlebar) hard and fast. Don’t pull the cord out; just pull hard and fast enough to start it. Pull it two or three times. If the mower still doesn’t start, go to the right (or left) side of your mower—there will be a red button that says “prime.” Push it two or three times, then hold the bar down and try to start the mower again. If you can do that, you’re pretty much good to go.

If you have a riding lawn mower, most of them start with a “key-switch.” It’s basically the same as an ignition switch on a car. Before starting the mower, push on the brake/clutch and start the mower. Then set the gear you want (there are five speeds and reverse), very gently let out the clutch; you’ll start moving, and you just go from there. A good speed to start out with is usually a three, unless your grass is really tall, and then you want to slow down so that you can thin out the grass more. Before cutting, adjust the height of the mowing deck (hold in the clutch while doing this so that the deck isn’t bouncing all over the place with the mower on). The same cutting principles apply as with a push mower. There is usually an “engage” button that starts the blades spinning. If your mower has this, then make sure you flip the button, otherwise the blades won’t spin and you won’t cut grass (the mower usually get louder when the blade is running). When finished cutting, disengage blades, raise the mowing deck to the highest position, and put away the mower.

Push the mower (in a line). When you come to the end of your line, push down on the handlebar to pivot the mower on its rear wheels. When you’re going back and cutting a new line, line your mower up with your old line. Keep the mower overlapping the old line just in case you missed some grass. Always overlap the end of the lines—or you’ll find out that you have to start the mower all over again just for that little bit of grass (riding lawn mowers included).

NEVER cut in the rain or cut wet grass! This is very important! If you want to get the grass cut, and you feel that you have to do it, just wait until the grass is dry. If you try to cut wet grass, it’ll stick to the bottom of the mower and the blades, damaging it. For those of you who have “bag” mowers, your job will be difficult and messy if you DO cut wet grass. The grass will come out in clumps, and will require you to shovel it out with your hand in order to empty the bag. If you do catch a wet patch and your grass does clump anyway, wear gloves (rubber gloves are fine)—unless you really want to be “out-doorsie” and use your bare hand. When cutting around trees, water lids, or sewage lids, pivot the mower (just like when you’re turning it around) cautiously around them to get all the grass.

That’s about it. It’s not an easy job, or one that you can put off for too long (or else the grass will get thicker, causing people with bag mowers to empty a lot more often), but it’s a good job that helps build arm and leg muscles (believe me!). Perhaps most importantly, it’s also something simple enough to do for someone who’s lost, or a sick shut-in. You’d be amazed at how something as simple as cutting someone’s grass will mean to them.

“I have showed you all things, how that so laboring ye ought to support the weak, and to remember the words of the Lord Jesus, how he said, ‘It is more blessed to give than to receive.’” Acts 20:35

By Alyssa Sturgill

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