AS in every year, the mower is now out of the shed, smoking and roaring like a grumpy old motor.
For the next six months my trusty model will be expected to do the job of two horses, four cows, even half a dozen sheep.
It will not look for food, compliments for a job well done, or shade from hot sun. However, it will require housing, a modicum of attention to its cutting blades, and occasional filling with petrol.
By housing, I mean keeping it in from rain and out of sight from opportunist thieves.
This latter point I cannot make too strongly, for news of stolen mowers continue to fill social media bulletins.
Along with expensive mowers, ornate pots, statuary, and seats of every style also appear on the list of ‘removable’ items.
Since the advent of social media these kinds of saleable items now find unsuspecting, willing takers very quickly.
They can command good prices, so opportunist thieves are constantly on the lookout for easy pickings. Put your tools away when finished and close the garden gates.
Attention to the blade means sharpening rotary types (the most common mechanism) at regular intervals, thus preventing slashing the sward, as is so often the case.
It is easy to tell when lawn mower blades need sharpening.
If you stoop to inspect the cut sward you will notice that the flesh between the rib tips has been removed (by slashing) but the ribs themselves remain uncut, drying slowly and turning white in the sun.
Mower blades should be removed and sharpened at least three times between spring and autumn when the mower is once again stored away.
In my book, lawn cutting on its own is only half the job and not fully completed until the edges are trimmed.
If the job is undertaken frequently there will be no need to pick up the overhang clippings as they wither easily.