Posted by: A Part of the Solution | June 17, 2010

The Tractor Mower and Me, Redux

Two of our chickens are somewhat curious and adventurous. This is not typical of chicken behavior. When we put fish heads out for the birds to pick at two days ago, they stood near the offal in conference–clearly interested, equally uncertain of what their next step should be.

But the two with adventure in their souls have been seen circumnavigating the path around the pond. They come down to the edge of the garden and peck around there. I’ve seen them across the road in front of the house. I call them Madge and Ellen, since even when they were barely more than chicks, they liked to circumnavigate their brooder.

I feel a little like them. I got the hang of the John Deere (a 135, not a 125 as previously reported). I can get around the garden, literally as we have no through path, with the trailer loaded, though I don’t corner with much panache as of yet.

Once the garden manager became convinced I could handle simple hauling activities on my near-nemesis, he decided it was time for me to take up mowing chores as well. To be fair, I don’t do the sloping paths to and from the pond. I don’t do the hill to and from the garden. And he does the first couple of circuits around the house where there are beds, trees and other tricky bits of steering and technical finesse.

Still, there is enough sloping land to provide me with a challenge of faith. I would dearly love not to die under the fearsome blades of the Deere’s mower deck. I have to believe that the darned beast will not roll  over on me–no matter how tippy it may feel. I have to believe that the engineers at Deere want to avoid the lawsuits and publicity attendent on those sorts of accidents. And I do.

With minimal squeaking, I am able to groom the lawn nearest the barn. The rest of the home acres are fairly manageable, even for a rank newbie like myself. In fact, I have to say I enjoy getting the front lawn smooth and lovely. I relish creating a welcoming space beneath the shade trees beside the front porch. I get a kick out of handling the apple trees in the middle of the back yard just so. The end result is definitely worth the effort.

I don’t think I’ll ever like the noise the John Deere makes very much. As loud as the machine is when I’m using it to haul things to and from the garden, it’s louder than that when it shifts into its mowing function.

I actually contemplated acquiring one of those MP3-type listening devices for use when I mow. That might be a little too radical, even for me. After all, I have my neo-Luddite status to think of.

On the other hand, it’s good to take a regular chore on myself. And as a terminator of life, and a reducer of function, for plants everywhere, I know I’m fulfilling my right purpose when I’m mowing.



  1. I think you might have intellectually disabled chickens. It sounds like Madge and Ellen are the only normal ones. You might need an occupational therapist for the others.

    Very cool that you’re driving the tractor! Even my mom didn’t do that. She was afraid of the gears. I think that might have been the only thing she was afraid of.

    • It’s only the lawn tractor, not the real thing–yet!

      • Oh, okay, that makes sense. Mom loved her riding mower. The tractor is intimidating!

        I think maybe the chickens are just confused about how to be chickens because they haven’t had a mom to show them the ropes. They might become more confident as they get older. Our Auracanas were very smart birds.

  2. As far as fearing death under the blades – I’m willing to put money on the seat of that thing having a disable switch under neath it – like mine does. Lift your butt off the seat, and the engine DIES. Try it out something, for piece of mind.

    Oh, and Paul says – in the unlikely event that the thing *tries* to tip over on you, remember to bail UPHILL.

    • It does have those features, and they’ve been a part of my training. But it’s still a scary monster.

  3. That should have been “peace” of mind…or, maybe piece – what do I know? My thoughts are fragmented frequently.

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