We’ve gone through a fast snow-to-mow transition. The sun is shining and the days are a lot warmer, so the grass is growing like crazy. It’s time for me to put the mower on the tractor and get the lawn mower running, too.
The tractor spent the winter under cover, and it got a thorough overhaul from John’s Combine and Tractor Repair in Lebanon, OR a couple of years ago, so it always starts as soon as you turn it over. Our walk-behind lawn mower that we use around the house had a tougher winter, being left out again. (Why do we always do that?) As usual, it started on the 39th pull, but the starter cord broke soon afterwards. I’m always amazed at how these el cheapo mowers stand up to abuse.
Our riding mower (or “lawn tractor,” as the manufacturers optimistcally call it) is not running. I don’t know about you, but I hate the dual-blade design of most modern riding mowers. The mowing deck is inaccessible and the belts are way too hard to install. I liked the old-fashioned kind better, with a single blade, the world’s simplest belt drive, and an overall shape that made it easy to tip the mower on its side to get at the parts.
In case anyone is wondering, a “lawn tractor” is not a tractor in any sense of the word. It’s just a riding lawn mower. If you want to do something other than mow lawns, you want a real tractor. You can get an old Ford 2N, 8N, or 9N tractor in good working order for about the cost of a “lawn tractor.” These 60-year-old tractors will give you a lot less trouble than the sheet-metal junk in the hardware store.
The undeniable tractor-ness of a real tractor was brought home to me several times this winter when we got 4WD vehicles stuck on the pasture when unloading feed. We had no trouble pulling them out with the tractor (a Ford 641 from 1957). A lawn tractor wouldn’t even have made it onto the pasture before getting stuck, but a real tractor has immense amounts of traction where other vehicles have none. Great big rear tires with plenty of weight over the axle and deep rubber cleats, plus the immense torque of the low gearing make all the difference.
Check out my for more tractor tips, and happy mowing!