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A long time ago, I was a child. (I started out as Cathy First from Colon, Mi.) For the past several years I’ve been an adult. A lot of things went on between those two stages of life; probably no more or no less than anyone elses. My husband and I moved to “da U .P” from southern Lower Michigan several years ago (yes we were trolls at one time). We owned and operated and operate Clementz’s Northcountry Campground and Cabins just north of Newberry, Michigan until May 2015. We have grown kids and grandkids (who all live downstate). My passion is life and all that Nature has to offer us and trying to photograph it in unique ways. Our intention in life is to see all that Nature has to offer us. We hope that you will be a part of our adventures as we cruise through our lives together. Come back often!

Saturday, May 30, 2009


Yesterday was another day of mowing.

I never thought that I would be mowing grass with long underwear on under fall type clothing. I even had my knit winter cap on yesterday. And my lighter weight winter gloves. And I still ended up with hives. At least it was too cold and windy for bugs to bother me! However, with all the itching from the hives, one was just as bad as the other.

It WAS a beautiful day though and if it hadn't been windy the 62 degrees would have seemed a lot warmer. I think all we have left to mow is the dog walk and then Dan takes the "green giant" (AKA the Green Machine) back to push mow the parameter of the lagoon.

The Green Machine is a push mower that is pushing the heck out of 30 years old! I purchased it at Kmart for about $60 all those years ago. I had this mower before I had Dan! It has some problems, but heck, if you were a 30 year old mower which is probably like 90 in human years, you'd spit and sputter a bit too...unless your engine was a Black and Decker!

Let me tell you a bit more about the Green Machine; first off, the "rubber shoot" is gone. That broke off years ago, so you do really need to be careful that no one is within a 1/4 of a mile of where you are mowing...or at least not on the OUTPUT side of the mower. The blades too are 30 years old...can't get them off to even sharpen them but they still cut and still throw out foreign objects with grand propulsion.

You should wear safety glasses when running this old mower. The rubber “shield” that is supposed to be on the back side of the “deck” has been eaten away over the years by those powerful, spinning blades. This happens when you pull a mower backwards; the rubber “shield” ends up slightly under the mower and the blades DO catch it. So, not only are objects thrown out the right side, they can also be hurled out the back side. This mower is not a mower for a sissy (which is why I don’t have to use it).

Starting this mower takes quite a bit of effort too (another reason why I don’t have to use it). The starter cord is a very hard pull. And sometimes when you do get it pulled out, it doesn’t go back in its “hole” willingly. If the mower has actually started, this cord, which doesn’t want to RE-coil SCREECHES. It is worse than 10 blackboards with 10 kids running their 100 fingers down those blackboards. I have shivers and goose bumps just remembering the sound. After a bit of cajoling the cord DOES finally retract and the screeching stops. I’m sure people close to town know when Dan is using this mower.

STOPPING this mower is a trick too. The throttle mechanism is gone so it has one speed which fortunately is FAST. You CAN adjust the throttle manually but it takes some doing and doesn’t always “stay put”. To shut the mower off you have to touch a stick (or some such object) to the spark plug…or jam the mower into some very, VERY tall grass (I tell ya, this thing has a mind of its own and could make some heavy duty windrows in a hay field if given the opportunity). AND you must be careful touching the stick to the spark plug or you will find out WHY it is called a SPARK plug…can you say ELECTRIC JOLTS?? Or should that be VOLTS??

The mower has had some minor mishaps over the 30 years. I think the worst one was when it ended up in the sewage lagoon…but it kept right on running! It was churning out water and having a high old time giving the performance of its life and showing off how long it could hold its breath. Dan uses this old mower to push mow the area around the one acre lagoon. It is a steep bank around the lagoon and the ground is very rough and uneven. Dan was mowing right next to the water and somehow, Dan lost his footing. It was either him or the mower. Conveniently, the handle bar on the mower was close enough that Dan could lean out and retrieve it from the water. I get a mental picture of that mower chugging along, across the bottom of the 3’ of water (and the stuff you find at the bottom of a sewage lagoon) which makes me think of Weekend at Bernie’s …when dead Bernie was walking across the floor of the ocean.

I have written Black and Decker and told them about this fantastic old mower. I thought maybe they might want to use it as a promo of some type; maybe we’d get a little cash out of the whole thing, maybe they’d want to put it in the Mower Hall of Fame. Ya know what we got?? A BLACK AND DECKER CAP!

We do have another push mower. I can start and stop this one and it is pretty safe to run, although it is pushing the heck out of 15 years old! When the Green Machine finally does mow its last blade of grass, throw its last foreign object, then the Red Rover will follow in its swath…and I’ll have to get a new push mower for MY work. Hopefully by then, WE will be retired!


  1. We were in the northern Rockies (Yellowstone) a year ago at this time and thought it an unusually late spring. Same thing again this year, with snow patches still down at relatively low elevations, the lilacs just starting to bloom and chain-up and ice-caution signs still up. And 90 degrees when we rolled into Spokane yesterday afternoon!

  2. I could handle 70 degrees by now!!

  3. I think we need to take up a collection or hold a fundraiser to raise money for a new mower for you guys!

  4. Anonymous9:00 PM

    Hi Cathy. I drive truck for a scrap company in GR,Mi.so when the Green Machine dies i would be honored to run it thur the shredder.Max

  5. Retired One...Dan gets a charge (sometimes a REAL charge!!) out of running that old thing. He "brags" about the old mower and dreads the day when it dies! But thanks for the thought!!! If ya do take a up a collection, get one of those self propelled jobs!

  6. Anonymous, now THAT is a thought!!! Dan would probably want a piece of its remains as a reminder of their hours spent together!


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