I’m not allowed to keep a goat, so … | AspenTimes.com

I’m not allowed to keep a goat, so …

I’ve never been one for motorized contraptions. Snowmobiles, ATVs and their ilk will never spark a plug from me in this space.

But when my grass grew long enough to sway in the breeze this spring, it slowly dawned on me that I was either going to have to buy a lawn mower or defy the neighborhood covenants and harbor a goat.One trip to a big-box retailer later and I was trying to cram one more thing into the backyard shed. Having done absolutely no homework on the matter of mowers, I picked one that was on the cheap side, but not the cheapest, reasoning that if it was a piece of crap, it wouldn’t be the worst piece of crap I could have purchased. The Troy-Bilt 21-inch mulching mower, with the 6.5-horsepower Briggs & Stratton engine ($199.98) isn’t a piece of crap (at least so far), but it’s not likely to move mowing the lawn to the top of my list of fun things to do on a Saturday, either.

Starting it always requires several pulls of the cord, which is several more than I’d prefer, but in truth, I have never experienced a one-pull start with any mower I’ve ever used. After it has warmed up, though, it dependably restarts with a single yank.This I appreciate, as I typically start it up several times during my rounds, thanks to a safety bar that must be held tight to the handle. Let go and the engine stops, so I can’t, for example, leave it running while I fetch a beer.It features adjustable wheel heights that allow the raising or lowering of the mower (and therefore the blade) so I can adjust the length at which I leave the blades of grass, except the levers on each wheel are impossible to budge, so the grass remains the predetermined length selected by Troy and his minions.Also, the bag attachment is narrower at its mouth than it is deeper inside, so if I let it get more than half full, it’s a real chore to shake it loose. I wind up digging my hand up into the grass clippings to unclog the bottleneck.

I know I’m supposed to mulch, but I always wind up letting the grass get too long to try it.I can honestly report that the real lawn mower at my house is me. The Troy-Bilt doesn’t actually do squat unless I push it.Janet Urquhart’s e-mail address is janet@aspentimes.com

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