Not an Amish Mower

The new lawnmower arrived in the mail on Monday.


It seems like ever since I ordered this mower online, I’ve taken endless ribbing for getting an “Amish” mower. Help me out if you live in another region of the country – – what do you call these mowers? Do you call them reel mowers, or do they pick up a nickname? If my mower is getting dubbed the Amish mower only because I live in Lancaster county, then I’m going to need to do something to make it feel like a city mower, do something to help correct the erroneous perception of outsiders that Lancaster is one homogenous sea of farms and buggies. Maybe I’ll bling it out with rhinestones on the handle or some nice graffiti.

Semantics aside, I ordered this mower because the gas mower I’d been using for five years had been slowly dying. It only started when it wanted  to (not very often).  Even during the years it was in good working order, I could count on having at least one colossal temper tantrum every year as I tried to get it started. I don’t want this blog to turn into a home of stereotypes, but there is one mystery in life that I can’t solve. Why is it that guys make starting lawnmowers look so effortless while girls often make starting lawnmowers look like an epic battle? If there’s a trick to this fine art of lawn care, I want a guy to come teach me. Wait — scratch that. I solved the problem by getting a lawnmower that doesn’t need to be started.

The verdict is still out though about whether the mower is going to make life easier. I got it assembled in less than 20 minutes — that I’m pretty good at. I can assemble furniture and lawnmowers with the best of them. But, since the yard had grown to jungle heights while I was waiting for the lawnmower to arrive, it was tough going. I had to keep backing up and then shoving the mower through the grass as hard as I could. Then, it would clog, and I would have to repeat the whole affair. After a couple of minutes, it was looking like same girl, different lawnmower, same colossal temper tantrum.

I finished off the yard with the weedwhacker. That should let it dry out, and I hope to give the effort another try this weekend. We’ll see how it goes. I know Deogi is a little skeptical…

5 thoughts on “Not an Amish Mower

  1. I never heard push mowers called Amish movers…but I surmise it is because they don’t have motors. I promise the pushing gets easier when the grass is shorter. 🙂

  2. The Amish house down the road from Julie and I have gas-powered weed whackers and an Amish farm over by the airport has a bush hog that they pull behind a team of donkeys. Instead of a PTO shaft turning the blade they have a two-stroke engine mounted to the top of the bush hog. Calling it an “Amish mower” would be a slight misnomer in my opinion. So here’s more than you ever wanted to know. The problem with lawn mowers today is that carbureted two-stroke engines don’t do well with the fuel you buy at the pump for your car. The up to 10% Ethanol that is in gasoline is poison to some metal, rubber, and plastic parts found in a lawn mower. On top of that, gasoline with Ethanol has a substantially shorter shelf-life than Ethanol-free fuel. Homeowners buy several gallons of gasoline, store it in a container all season, and use it until it is gone. Sometimes the stuff gets left in the tank all winter. Ethanol is hygroscopic and capable of absorbing enough water to contaminate gasoline. This is why products like Heet are used in the winter. The Ethanol is our gas will absorb condensation; Heet bonds to the condensate and makes it combustible. Back to the lawn mower. The secret for women and lawn mowers is either A) start doing a lot dumbbell rows and reverse flyes or B) get a mower with electric start. Men don’t have any better luck than women, its just sheer brute force and the shame that accompanies the inability to start a lawn mower. If you do find yourself using a gas powered lawn mower again, buy Ethanol-free gas and only buy enough for a couple of mowing sessions. Additionally, if you have to use ethanol-blended fuel, use a product called Sta-Bil to help offset the effects of the Ethanol. As for using an “Amish mower”, as far as I am concerned you are doing your part to lessen our dependence on OPEC Black Gold. The owner of the building that my company leases has one of those mowers. I tried to push it one day and, believe it or not, it was hard to “get started” because some of the parts were rusted. Keep the one you have clean and dry and grease any moving parts from time to time. Another option is an electric mower. Julie and I bought one for her mom because she had a very small yard. She did run over the cord once, so there is that minor hazard, but otherwise it worked well.

  3. I grew up in Northeast Ohio near a Mennonite or Amish community and we always called these “Amish Lawnmowers” as well….my parents have 2 and love them! BTW, If your neighbors are using gas-powered anything, they are most likely Mennonite and not true Amish. You can find them quite often in flea markets in the area, and I just recently found a website selling them for almost 250 bucks plus like $50 extra for shipping…what a ripoff! Don’t forget, though, that they do need their blades sharpened depending on use!

  4. First of all I want to say awesome blog! I had a quick question that I’d like to ask if you do not mind. I was curious to know how you center yourself and clear your head before writing. I’ve had difficulty clearing my
    mind in getting my thoughts out there. I do take pleasure in writing but it just seems like the first 10 to
    15 minutes are usually lost just trying to figure out how to
    begin. Any suggestions or hints? Thank you!

    • Thanks for the kind words about the blog 🙂

      Each writer is different as far as beating writer’s block, so the solutions for writer’s can be different. You might want to just give yourself permission to write on a blank Word document to get started. Don’t worry about making it good, just write to beat the blank page. Then, you’ll gradually work your way around to writing what you do want to write. Or you could try to just scratch out an outline. That’s less pressure, plus you can just draw lines to connect ideas.

      Personally, I just latch onto an idea for a post at some point during the day, and I let it percolate in the back of my mind all day.

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