At the beginning of the summer I issued forth a challenge…the Push-Reel Mower Challenge. Remember that? I was going to try to mow our yard all summer using only a push-reel mower. It was a good and worthy challenge, some might even say a tantalizing one (okay, just me because I have no life). Unfortunately for the environment, I was not up to it. I only managed to use the push-reel three times this summer. I’m giving myself a grade of suck minus for this one, folks.

That’s the lowest grade I’ve ever gotten, and I gave it to myself.

Okay, so here’s the deal (get ready for the excuses). After I issued the challenge we found a house we wanted to buy and had to quickly put our house up on the market. We desperately needed to make the yard look more presentable so we wouldn’t be dealing with two mortgages. I think our push-reel does a good job mowing, but it’s not the tidiest way to go about getting the job done. Second, we went on vacation for two weeks. When we returned, we found a jungle awaiting us. Our dandelions were actually roaring. Out came the gas mowers once again. Third, the house we bought came with a lot of grass. Horror of horrors, we actually had to buy a riding lawn mower (well, we didn’t have to, but I would still be mowing today if we hadn’t). Before we took this drastic step, I tried mowing with the push-reel mower, hoping to use it in some areas – it didn’t work. The grass was too long. So I tried the push-gas mowers. Tragically, after an hour and a half I died (at least that’s what I told my husband), with most of the yard left to do.

I’d really wanted to be good to the earth, to conserve and nurture, but this was too much for me to handle! So what’s a girl to do? Granted, I kind of like whipping around on my riding mower now, though the hills are a bit daunting (that whole tipping over thing, you know), but I don’t want to keep this up. The rider mower (Bubba) uses a lot of gas. We needed a better solution, which I soon provided. It was an answer to all our problems and inspired by a genius that stunned even me. I said to my husband, “We must buy a goat.”

He laughed at me.

So we didn’t buy a goat, but what we are going to do is create a huge vegetable garden, reduce the size of the yard where practical, plant a giant flower garden in a large space by the house, and fill in smaller areas around the yard with any plants we can find (preferably big ones). Plus, there’s one area we will probably only mow every other time. I’ll have my oldest boy do some of the mowing with the push-reel once the grass is down to a manageable length. We’re also composting like crazy to reduce our waste and to help us do all this gardening we’re planning to do. I even set up a clothesline of sorts in our laundry room so I can continue to hang clothes to dry instead of using the drier.

Can’t you see I’m trying! I’m really trying!

So how did your challenge go this summer? Hopefully better than mine. Did I disappoint you? I kind of disappointed myself. But all I can do now is move on and try to improve.

Or better yet, buy a goat.