I mowed the back yard yesterday.
We got this mower, not because of the cost of gas, but because a few years ago I didn't feel I could use a gas mower safely around my toddlers. I didn't want to leave them in the house alone (this may seem odd but if you had 4 small boys and numerous electrical appliances you would understand), so the grass rarely got mowed.
I remembered reel mowers from my childhood. I remembered that they were heavy and a pain to push, so when dh came home with this one from a garage sale I wasn't completely psyched.
Things have changed. Like cloth diapers there is a whole new generation.
A few things I've learned in my 2 years of reel ownership.
1. Get up to speed. It cuts better if you're moving at a nice speed and the reel is spinning quickly.
2. Mow regularly. Unlike gas mowers this one will not cut down grass over a certain height...say 6"...and will not do a good job with grass over 4" high.
3. Keep the weeds under control. Tall, 'rubbery' weeds like dandelion can bounce right back up after you go over them. Height is an issue here because the stalks quickly pass the 4" stage. Our favorite weed control measure is handing a child a plastic golf club while we mow and telling them to whack the heads off. Very amusing.
4. Watch out for sticks. There's nothing worse than getting up to speed (#1) and get stopped short by a twig the size of your finger.
If all my helpful hints haven't deterred you, there many reasons I love my reel mower. I love the quiet whipwhipwhipwhip sound. I love how light it is. I love that I can smell the cut grass (which falls down and fertilizes the lawn) and not gas or CO2. I love that I can stop the split second a 3 year old runs into my path. I love the price tag (can't beat $25) and the fewer gas tanks in the garage.
Now if only they could invent something between a shovel and a snow blower.