Vive le difference. My wife is happy now that we have tile rather than carpet downstairs. I was content with what was there before, but I’m happy she’s happy. As for me, I’m thrilled that, when I mowed the tallish grass today, my new DR Field and Brush Mower didn’t leave clumps of cuttings all over the lawn.
To Laurel, this earns a big yawn. But she wasn’t the one who had to keep going over the lines of grass clumps produced by my old side-discharge, three blade, non-mulching mower. I’d remow some clumpy cuttings, which would merely shoot the clump over five feet or so.
I felt like the Oregon equivalent of Sisyphus, doomed to mow and remow grass clumps for eternity. However, the good folks at Vermont’s Country Home Products have come to my rescue. I’ve owned three of their Field and Brush Mowers, to which can be affixed a nifty lawn mowing attachment, and they keep getting better and better.
You’ve probably seen them advertised on television. A guy is shown walking behind the self-propelled mower, whacking down saplings and brush with ridiculous ease. I can testify that this is pretty much the reality now, but my first DR Mower had a small engine, bicycle type wheels, and no reverse.
I’d enthusiastically rev it up, get a running start, and plunge with reckless bravado into a six foot high thicket of dead blackberry vines. I’d then not so enthusiastically work on wrestling the machine backwards out of the vines, cursing the absence of a reverse gear.
That was fixed with my next DR Mower. And it had a bigger engine. However, several frustrations remained. The lawnmowing attachment left the aforementioned giant clumps when the grass was high, and changing between the field mower and lawn mower attachments was a twenty minute ordeal. Numerous bolts and springs to unfasten, plus dealing with a belt that would barely fit over a protruding engine part.
All in all, a bad design that marred an otherwise well-fashioned machine. So after spending seven years with DR Mower #2, this winter I decided to treat myself to a DR Mower #3. Sort of like “Big Love,” but my tripartite mower polygamy was sequential rather than simultaneous.
Several months ago I uncrated the new machine and with some trepidation set out to affix the lawnmowing attachment. It went on in just a couple of minutes. Love at first attachment! Since then I’ve put in about four hours of mowing time. Side-discharge, until today.
When I put on the mulching part—a plastic gizmo that fits over the discharge chute. The instructions said that you shouldn’t cut more than a third of the height of the grass if you want to mulch mulchily. Though the lawn was about six feet high, I said to myself, “Screw that advice. Let’s roll!”
Because Mower #3 is more powerful than #2 (the engine has a pleasing throaty sound and you can easily do wheelies), I’d been noticing that with my usual mowing pattern, it had been shooting grass clippings way up into the ground cover and other plantings next to the lawn. If I reversed the pattern, then it’d shoot the clippings into the middle of the lawn, where they would clump together like mad with the grass so high.
Hence, the decision to become the Mad Mulcher this afternoon, breaking the 1/3 cut rule. Fortunately, the mower worked great. Hardly any clumping at all. What there was came mostly from the large rear wheels, whose knobby tires accumulate clippings until they fall off in a clumpified heap.
Mower #2 did that too. I can live with it.
So if you’re thinking of getting the new and improved DR Field and Brush Mower from Country Home Products, which probably means that you live in the country, have a home, and need some products, I give it a thumbs up.
It seems solider and a bit heavier than my old machine. Takes a bit more work to turn it. If you’re small or sort of frail, this probably isn’t the mower for you. The handlebar controls have been enlarged. I’ve got pretty big hands, but it’s kind of a stretch for me to operate the grips.
It’s nice to have a brake on the right handlebar now. Except, I forgot to use it recently and ran into a tree while on a downhill mowing run. Bent the front left wheel support pretty good, so much that it was rubbing against the mower deck.
I considered running the support just as hard into the tree from the other direction, but figured I shouldn’t press my luck. A sledgehammer, piece of 2 X 4, and some energetic blows accompanied by “take that, George Bush!” did the trick. It’s nice to find out that our President is good for something.