It is odd how the smallest of things can suck the wind out of your sails or give you a heck of a boost.
Even though the area we mow is almost an acre (39,000 square feet according to Google) we use push mowers.
I mow the larger areas and Mrs ERJ does the delicate, fussy bits.
Mrs ERJ uses the older mower and I use the newer one. When Mrs ERJ's mower craps out, she get the hand-me-down and I buy a new, $150 (they used to be $99) push mower.
When the grass is growing great-guns, we cannot keep up but year-by-year we gradually manage to beat it back into submission as the growth rate slows in mid-summer.
Earlier this summer, Mrs ERJ advised me that her mower was getting difficult to push. The wheel bearings had worn bell-mouthed and the spindles were gouged from wear.
She advised me that it might be wise to purchase a replacement mower BEFORE hers puked. Part of her thinking was that we were approaching peak-grass and we ran the risk of becoming the mid-West's version of Manchu Picchu or Angkor.
I purchased the mower, assembled it. Fill it with lubricating oil and parked it in the barn.
Imagine my surprise when MY mower puked first. A piece of metal beneath the deck that served to duct the clippings became unwelded and was hit by the blade. That bent the metal to the point where it plowed a furrow in the ground.
Thanks to the ever-wise and lovely Mrs ERJ...
...it was a simple matter to gas-up the new mower and finish mowing the yard.
Still, that left me with an acre to mow (next week) and one mower that was running strong.
I attempted to replace the wheels on Mrs ERJ's mower but the width of the bearing is an odd dimension and the local farm store didn't have anything suitable on the shelf. I greased the heck out of the spindles and reinstalled the old wheels. I removed the blade and sharpened it.
Then I took a whack at fixing the mower with the broken ducting.
Due to the configuration of the deck, it was possible to drill holes and reattach the end with the broken weld with bolts. I sharpened the blade as long as I had removed it to work on the deck. I turned the blade by hand after reattaching and finessed the contour of the ducting with a BFH so I had clearance through the entire path.
After a quick test run, I now have three functional push mowers and a great wife.
I realize I am gloating but how many other men have a wife who wears out push mowers on a regular basis and has enough spares in the stable to last her another decade?
Life is grand!
I always wondered why football teams don't condition through the summer by mowing football and baseball fields with push mowers? Gale Sayers claims that he was totally ignored by his high school football coach until after he worked for his cousin mowing grass one summer in Omaha, Nebraska.
Speed is highly related to the strength of the muscles in the backs of our legs. Squats strengthen glutes but don't do as much for the rear quads. Pushing a person-propelled mower would be great for stamina, core-strength and back-of-leg strength.
And it is cheap.