Green with envy (and ferns).

Tuesday afternoon, my new John Deere arrived. I was as giddy as an eight-year-old on Christmas morning when the Lowe’s guys unloaded it from the truck and rolled it into the garage for me. I was ready to hop on board and start cutting the grass right away, but it needed gas and I figured I ought to read the operator’s manual first, having never used a lawn tractor before. I settled for sitting in the seat instead and playing with the controls.

Maybe I am eight years old…

We decided to wait until Saturday to cut the grass. Finally, the big day rolled around, so I broke out the manual–and realized there was a lot more work involved than simply filling the gas tank, turning the key, and pushing my foot down on the pedal. We had to level the mowing deck and adjust the wheels, a process that took a good 90 minutes. And then, when it was finally all ready to go, I fired it up, engaged the mower deck…

…and was greeted with the most godawful racket imaginable. It sounded like the engine was either tearing up the driveway or about to fall off. Well, that didn’t seem right, so we killed the ignition, rolled it back into the garage, and tinkered around with it some more, but “tinkering” really just meant staring at it blankly as if a solution would magically appear. We ended up rolling it back out to the lawn, started it up again, and the same thing happened.

“Maybe that’s just the noise it makes when you lower the mower deck,” Tara said, and before I could even reply, she hopped on and took off across the yard. As soon as she started moving, the grinding, screeching noise stopped.

Son of a gun…

I’ll admit I was a bit green with envy that my wife got to ride it first, but my turn came soon enough.

Obviously there’s a steep learning curve here. Once I hopped on and started cruising around the yard, I was able to get a pretty good feel for how she handles. It’s just as much fun as I’d imagined!

Not only do we have a big yard, but there are lots of trees and garden beds and ponds and all kinds of obstacles, and oh yeah, a slope, too. Which seems a helluva lot higher (read: scarier) when you’re on the lawn tractor and paranoid about tipping over. But she did just fine and our grass is now a respectable height instead of knee-deep in places. The whole thing took nearly two hours, but I’m sure a lot of that was just getting used to the John Deere. I suspect it’ll go more quickly next time, but it’s still going to require a serious commitment every week or two.

Small price to pay for a yard like this.

Turns out Dick has different themed garden areas, including high desert (cactus and yucca) and coastal rainforest (ferns and nettle). The man was apparently a landscaping genius, and we’re lucky enough to be able to reap the benefits.

We actually spoke to his wife, Carol, this afternoon. The ponds remain a big mystery: there are underground hoses and some kind of elaborate recirculating waterfall system, but we haven’t been able to figure any of it out. She said she’d have Dick come over sometime to show us how it all works.

That’s the nice thing about buying a house from somebody who didn’t die in it.

52 thoughts on “Green with envy (and ferns).

  1. I miss my riding mower. It died. T’was a sad day in the Kelley household. Now I have an electric push mower which is not as much fun, but gets the job done. I have to fix my lawn, because my plow guy wrecked it during the few times it snowed this winter. The ground never froze, sooooooo—-yeah. Have fun with your new toy!

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      1. True story. I have a 100 ft cord which takes care of my yard. Except when you accidentally run over it. Which “may” have happened once.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Green with envy — ha, ha, ha. What a beautiful yard! If it took two hours on the tractor, can you imagine how long it would take with a traditional mower? Can’t wait to hear about finding out about how the pond system works! Nice work!

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  3. If you think lowering your Deere’s mower deck is loud, you should hear my husband’s zero turn Bad Boy. (yes, that’s really the brand name) Glad you enjoyed your first mow. I envy your ready made landscaping…. that’s a beautiful bonus. Lilac. Bleeding heart. Ferns. Gorgeous.

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    1. Love the name Bad Boy! And I’m glad to hear loud mower decks are a thing. I almost knocked on our neighbor’s door to see if he might have any ideas on what was wrong, since he’s always out there riding his own lawn tractor. Glad I saved myself from that embarrassment!

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  4. Holy perennials! Your bleeding heart is already blooming? Mine are tiny with no flowers on them yet. Southern Wisconsin really must be in a different zone. I love it that Dick is going to come over and give you a tutorial on the pond. That’s so neighborly, even if he’s not a neighbor.

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  5. It’s a stunning yard…lush and gorgeous, Mark, and I’m thrilled to hear about your inaugural foray! Cheers and kudos to Tara for her gumption to hop on and go, go, go. 😉 Now all I need to know is what you’ve named “her”…the tractor, that is. Jane Deere? Do tell!

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  6. The first time I drove a tractor, I nearly drove it into a pond. So you are doing way better than me. (In my defense, I was 10.) Your yard looks amazing– the cactus made me laugh when I saw it on Instagram. How are the bugs so far?

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  7. YOUR YARD! I keep saying it with each post, but it just keeps getting better and better. I was about to say something completely inappropriate about how much I “love your former resident (insert name)” because of all the wonderful things he planted. You inherited an incredible piece of property.

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  8. I’m Green With Envy over how GREEN your grass is. It looks so healthy!
    I was looking at all the plant/flower pics and was thinking You are so lucky to reap the benefit of someone who knew what they were doing. (it’s rare) Of course you understood that already. You guys made the right choice on that house.

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    1. I’m amazed how green it is. We haven’t had a ton of rain or anything, and the summer humidity hasn’t kicked in yet. The soil is obviously nice and saturated from all that winter snow.

      We are so lucky to have had a second chance with this house!

      Liked by 1 person

  9. That is an amazing set of gardens you’ve got there – it by no means could be called a yard. Hope Dick shares his wisdom with you about the ponds so you can manage and maintain them beautifully, before Tara decides to start tinkering and re-designing things the way she wants them. I presume she is champing at the bit…

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