A week ago Saturday the date was Dec. 1 I was mowing my lawn and mulching leaves until dark.
Think about those words: I was running my lawnmower in December!
How could that be? When I was young, it seems to me we put away the lawnmower shortly after Labor Day and did not start it again until April.
But there I was on Dec. 1 cutting my lawn. And two of my neighbors were out that day, as well (one of them literally mowing around his outdoor Christmas decorations.
Because I had a few hours in the seat of my lawn tractor that day, I think I have come up with
The Top 10 Reasons Jim Busek Was Mowing His Lawn In December:
10. I do not rake leaves any more. That's why we put away the lawnmower by Oct. 1 in my youth; after that we were busy raking leaves. However, years ago, when I had a home with a dozen big maple trees, I started mulching leaves with my lawn tractor, running over and over them until they turned to dust. It is so much easier than raking and, now that we cannot burn leaves like we used to, it still makes sense to me.
9. We have a different kind of lawnmower now. When I was young (i.e. shortly after the earth cooled), everyone had what are called "reel" mowers: instead of the spinning rotary blades you see on virtually every modern mower, the blades on a reel mower were the type you see on the old fashioned, no-gasoline-engine mowers you might see an Amish kid pushing today. A reel mower will not mulch a leaf. So, in the old days, we put away the mower long before December.
8. Global warming. I am not sure why this is on the list, but it seems to be the reason for almost any weird behavior these days.
7. The Bradford pear tree. This is the ornamental tree you see along the streets of many modern housing developments. They are spectacular with their white blossoms in spring. But they absolutely refuse to drop their leaves before late November. I do not have any of them, but many of my neighbors do. There is no sense in me mulching my leaves in October because I will have a ton of Bradford pear leaves still blowing my way after Thanksgiving.
6. Speaking of leaves blowing my way, that's another reason I was out mulching on the first day of December: most of the unraked or mulched leaves on the south side of Norwalk eventually cross my lawn. Are you one of those people who say: "I never rake leaves. They always just blow away." Well, where they blow to is my lawn, thank you. It is simply a function of the west and south winds blowing precisely toward my driveway. And it keeps me mulching right up to snowfall.
5. The four-step program. I am speaking, of course, of the four-step lawn fertilization program that has been sold to us by the folks at Scott's and ChemLawn and all the lawn and landscaping businesses. Fertilize your lawn four times a year, and it will be fabulous, they tell us. And they are right. But now the lawn does not go dormant until Santa is on the way. And I don't stop mowing until the grass stops growing.
4. I was on vacation the day of the Ohio State-Michigan game. That is traditionally and I mean for the past 30 years the day I finish mulching my leaves and put away the lawnmower. But I wasn't home on that day this year.
3. I was on vacation the weekend after Thanksgiving. Same vacation. Same problem.
2. Char put up Christmas decorations the last week in November instead of mulching. But, of course, she knows I love riding around on that tractor no matter what the date.
1. I have a touch of OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder). Really now, I could have just left those leaves there until spring. But seeing clumps of leaves all over my beautiful four-step lawn left me driven grind them up.
But I am done for the season now. The lawnmower is stored. My compulsion has been explained. Thank you very mulch for listening.