My life has a superb cast but I can't figure out the plot.
~ Ashleigh Brilliant

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Keepin' it Reel :-)

My friend Maya requested an update with the results of our new reel mower's maiden voyage, but I'd neglected to take any photos of that first newly mown lawn (sorry, Maya!). However, the past week's been summer-like so our grass has been growing like a weed! (Probably a bad metaphor for a lawn, eh?) :-) Anyway, thanks to a day of wonderful soaking rain followed by several days of warm sunshine, our lawn was in need of a second mowing. So after I finished mowing the front yard this evening, this time I took photos. Behold the well-groomed results of a reel mower lawn haircut...

You can't really tell in this photo, but most of our trees and shrubs now have wee leaves on them, while yonder mountains are still snow-covered...

While I rarely feature self-portraits on this blog, I thought I'd make an exception in this case and show you actual film footage of me and our mower in action. Note my determined expression, and that I was sporting my most fashionable mowing attire. (Hey, I live in the 'burbs now, I can't just wear any old thing whilst mowing the front yard on our busy street!) I must say, our reel mower sure gets a lot of curious stares. You'd think no one around here had ever seen one before (lol)...

From a circa 1910s photo, purchasable as a postcard from Zazzle.
I expect one from each of you, saying how lovely my yard and I look. 

Mowing hasn't been the only manifestation of our spring fever lately. We've also been washing and installing the window screens (and, of course, also washing the windows they're being installed in!) and enjoying the fresh mountain zephyrs wafting through the house (at about 25mph at one point this afternoon! That'll sure freshen a place up!) :-) And though we normally make it a rule never to plant anything before Memorial Day, the weather and the 10-day forecast were simply too beguiling, and so we bought and planted some more ground cover plants on our house's south side as well as three pots of flowers, the most photogenic being this lovely purple columbine on the front porch...

I bought the pretty glass solar-powered LED cattail lights at Home Depot last year. Here's how they look when they're illuminated at night...

BW declared this photo "artsy-fartsy," and insisted I include it :-) ...


  1. Love the solar lights and columbines are among my favourite flowers - so reliable, coming back year after year.

    1. Columbines are one of BW's favorites too, he's wanted to plant some for the longest time and we may well plant more in our flower bed (which, since it gets all the prevailing wind, we ARE going to wait a couple more weeks before planting!) It's funny, I never pictured columbine in the UK, I so associate them with the Rockies (and Colorado, whose state flower it is, in particular!)

  2. You (and your mower) and indeed stylish and elegant.
    I am sooo impressed at how green your lawn is. And love columbines (granny's bonnets). The solar lights are a delight too.

    1. Ah, many thanks. You clearly have an eye for chic mowers (the machine and the operator). ;-)

      I know! Our lawn greened up more and faster than anyone else's, even though all of us have Kentucky Blue Grass out front, and we keep getting complimented and asked what we used on it - but the answer is, nothing! BW thinks it's because the sod is so well fertilized so it will survive cutting, transport and replanting. But I think I'm going to start telling people it's due to our reel mower. ;-)

      What I said to jabblog about not having pictured columbines in the UK applies to AUS as well! I LOVE that name "Granny's Bonnets" for them - come to think of it, they really do look a lot like the old prairie bonnets! :-)

  3. I sorta like those led cattails. :-)

    1. I thought they were quite likable myself! :-) They're especially pretty in the Autumn.

  4. 'come you have mowable grass before me, but later buds, and snow smack down after me? Maybe it's the nice grass builders install verses mine sprinkled with crab grass. (keeping it green for neighbors to insist the ol' adage is true).
    Artsy Fartsy....what does BW know? New construction totally needs splashes of color and fun lights from HD.

    1. Beats me! Others in the neighborhood were mowing (or having landscape companies mow) their yards even a bit before we were! That snow smack down we had put a lot of moisture into the soil, and was followed by lots of warm sunshine. I have a feeling that was a secret formula for our verdant lawns here.

      I think BW was referring to the softly golden ambient lighting of that photo (and he wasn't being sarcastic!) He's an enthusiastic supporter of splashes of color and fun lights! :-) We can't wait to get our flower bed in (and a couple of hanging baskets of trailing flowers on the front porch, though it will entail a more comprehensive high-wind drill!)

  5. You look very fashionable in your new-fangled headband and attire. I can see why the neighbors are giving you envious stares. Speaking of envious stares, I love your cattail lights! We don't have Home Depot locally, but if I'd seen them there, I would have picked up a couple too!

    1. Yes, thank you - I think they're all terribly jealous. :-)

      I'm glad you like our cattail lights, I think they're really pretty, and love that we have that marsh filled with cattails behind our house - makes these lights feel quite appropriate! :-) Robyn bought two (for front and back) when she saw ours. I think you could order them from HD online if you want some, though it was fun to choose them in person, since the painting on the glass could vary widely - some with a lot more brown on them, which I preferred, though that part vanishes when they illuminate. I looked for them elsewhere (online) last year when HD quickly ran out before I'd snagged mine and a know-nothing clerk told me they wouldn't be getting any more in (she acted like a snotty authority on the matter but was full of kaka, as they had a huge new shipment of them within days) but couldn't find them anywhere else. Don't know if that's still the case this year...

  6. Your lawn looks so perfect! And I love that photo - you look lovely!

  7. OOooohh the lawn looks Ah-mazing!! So pristine and happy. Thank you for the update... :-) You look very determined in your self-portrait ;-) And really pretty columbine with the LED cattails too. Love this time of year with all the gardening!

    1. Ah, I was hoping you'd stop by! :-) Thanks for the inspiration to take the post-mowing lawn photos! It really does look pretty this time of year (and it's nice we're not having to water it yet, though with temps forecast to be 89º on Monday (!!!), we'll probably turn our sprinklers for that day!) I still would prefer a permaculture/xeriscape "lawn" of native wildflowers and grasses, but our HOA doesn't see things my way. Someday, though, we want a cottage and a cottage-y yard!

      I know, it's really fun to haul all the outdoor warm-weather goodies out (we have a pretty solar birdbath we bought on sale last fall that we plan to put in our herb garden out back - can't wait!) and start enjoying them, and it's killing me to not feel safe enough yet to plant our front flower bed! At least I have screen-washing and our big yard sale to get ready for to distract me in the meantime - but I'm wanting to get my hands in the dirt again, and hope to put a few more plants in pots and plant some herbs this weekend! (Yeah, the local greenhouse won't be too crowded on Mother's Day weekend, right??) ;-)

      Bet things are blooming like crazy there in Portland! Have you been able to do any digging in the wonderful dirt?

  8. We're enjoying our last pretty day for a while. They're even using the word "snow" in the forcast for the weekend. If not snow then rain. Either way, our planned outdoor work will have to become indoor work. The girls would have been a big help outdoors.

    Anyway - enough about me. I love how pretty your lawn looks. It does look different than after a cut with a power mower and it's great. I thought it was funny that you said you're getting so many looks and my guess is that it is the first time any of these people have seen a reel mower. I doubt my girls would know what it was.

    My very favorite things were those cat tail lights - I think those are so pretty and clever. And I do like the artsy fartsy photo so I'm glad BW had you include it.

    The self portrait was a hoot! Thankfully, I'm on to you with photos of live mountain goats in your yard and I didn't buy it this time!! LOL

    1. Be it snowy and decadent or sunny and outdoorsy, I know you'll have a fun weekend with the girls! (And don't forget to remind ol' Task-Master James that his day isn't till next month!) ;-)

      Ha! Well, though I actually do get a lot of stares when mowing the front yard (and it really does look like some people are trying to figure out what the hell I'm using, as if they've never seen a reel mower before), in this case I was attempting to imply that the stares were aimed at my "mowing attire," and that I was being naïve in thinking they were staring at the mower instead. :-) But back to the real stares I get - I get a lot more grins and even friendly laughs than I do bewildered looks. It may be due to the mower (which doesn't even look like a standard reel mower, with its canary yellow "fender" covering the front of the blades), or maybe it's due to the dramatic fountain of grass blades it sprays into the air when the grass is long! At any rate, coupled with my fashionable togs, it must be quite a sight. LOL

      Oh, so you think I'm joshing about my mowing outfit? Just for that, I'm going to wear it when I pick you up at the Billings Airport. That'll teach you to LOL at my impeccable fashion sense! :-)~ (And I had to mow around that mountain goat, btw - you'd think with a mountain goat in the yard, I woudn't even have to mow, wouldn't you???) :-)

    2. I didn't think of that! The mountain goat should be taking better care of keeping the lawn mowed.

      I dare you to show up in Billings like that. No, I double dare you!!

    3. Ooooh, you double dare me, do ya? (I see I'm going to have to locate some vintage clothing shops - or make some Hollywood costumer connections - before October! LOL)

  9. Yes, I like these pots are illuminated like, nice photos!

  10. Wait a minute -- no one should mow in absolutely pure white shoes -- you should know better. Your outfit is indeed charming. Must say your grass is very green! I bet you and your husband are having fun with your new house. -- barbara

    1. What "purely white" shoes?! LOL - good point! (My old tennies are now as green as that grass!) That color does rather make it look like artificial turf, doesn't it? But I promise, we're not painting our yard!! :-)

      We're having some fun with the landscaping, but a few hassles and projects remain with the house. Like, now that we got out and cleaned the window screens that the contractor left in our garage, we realize we got shorted four of them! Grrr.... But I've been looking forward to planting our flower beds and seeing how our landscaping looks in the spring, and that part is definitely fun!

  11. "Reely" love your lawn and the great job you and your new Summer companion (your mower) did on said front yard.'s about time you included a pic of yourself on your the attire.....very chic, or artsy-fartsy even ;-). CG wants to get some solar lights like yours....very cool! xoxoxo

    1. Why thank you, dearest Spuddle-hopper! The backyard looked pretty darned good too when I finished mowing it the next day, but I was far too weary and dripping with sweat to hoist my camera!! Mowing the front yard's a fun lark, but I tell ya, that back yard gives a helluva workout!

      If CD wants some of those solar cattail lights, then CG should by-god get some. No, better yet, you should get her some for Mother's Day! ;-)


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  • INFERNO ~ Dan Brown
  • ONE SUMMER: AMERICA, 1927 ~ Bill Bryson
  • THE BEAUTIFUL CIGAR GIRL ~ Daniel Stashower
  • THE SHADOWS, KITH AND KIN ~ Joe R. Lansdale
  • THE TIPPING POINT ~ Malcolm Gladwell
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that animals and the natural world have value
only insofar as they can be converted into revenue.
That nature is a commodity.
And that the American dream is one of unlimited consumption.
There are many of us, on the other hand,
who believe that animals and the natural world
have value by virtue of being alive.
That Nature is a community to which we belong
and to which we owe our lives.
And that the deeper American dream is one of unlimited compassion.

~John Robbins, "The Food Revolution"