My Lawn Tractor

tractorSoon after we moved to the country, my wife and I made a deal. She would leave the mowing to me and I would leave the gardening to her.

It was a simple arrangement, one that both satisfied and annoyed each of us; like almost everything in marriage.

We reached this agreement on the day I bought my lawn tractor.  It began shortly after she said, “Show me how it works.”

I told her no.

I said the tractor was mine and I didn’t want her on it.

Sure, it was a totally macho thing to do but I don’t care what anyone thinks, I have given up enough guy stuff in my life to earn one little thing back.

When I was single, I controlled the refrigerator.  I stocked it with only the essentials: beer and day old pizza. Now that I am married, I share the refrigerator, which means that it holds only skim milk, low fat Greek yogurt, asparagus and kale.

When I was single, I limited my living room decor to a rotted couch and a beat-up TV. Now, I cannot tell you what my living room holds because the instant I get a grasp on it, it changes.

Like I say, I have given up enough ground, so I drew the red line of death all the way around the lawn tractor. It was mine and I was not going to share.

You see, I love that tractor. I love the reassuring drone of its engine.  I love the gentle sway as it rolls over the swells in my lawn. I love nothing better than a cold beer on a warm sunny day and the rumble of my tractor puttering across a sea of green. We have ten acres, half of which is lawn, so there is a lot of time to love that tractor.

I know a huge lawn absurd. Everyone tells me so – but they have yet to see a kid backpedaling to catch a pop-fly across the vast greenness of my lawn, nor have they spent a morning strolling across a mist covered yard with a warm mug of coffee.

Sure it’s silly, but I’m going to keep on being silly as long as I can.

But here is the problem….

When I left the gardening to my wife, I thought she would, you know, garden. Instead she gardens, as in the plural of the word and she does it everywhere.

She constructed an archipelago of gardens across my sea of grass. She has imported rocks to build shoals of hedges into what should be clear sailing.  She has done to my lawn what she did to my refrigerator and my living room.  She made it hers.

When I first objected to the obstacles – she just smiled that sly smile of hers and reminded me that the tractor was mine but the gardens were hers and because of that, I should steer my tractor around her gardens.

And as the obstacles grew, so did my grumbling.

Then it happened.

I hit a wire fence she had placed around a remote lilac bush. The rotors gobbled it in but were unable to choke it back up.  The belts screamed and the engine coughed a cloud of blue smoke.  I though my beloved tractor was having a seizure.

I took it into the shed and dropped the mower deck so I could unravel the wire from the blades.  After an hour, I called my wife out to the shed to show her the havoc she had caused.

“I told you where I put that fence,” she said.

“How do you expect me to see it in the tall grass?”

She just shrugged.

“You know what?” I said, “You need to appreciate what it is like to mow around all that stuff.”

She just smiled that smile of hers.  It is a grin I should have seen coming for a very long time.

“Show me how it works,” she said.

Author: Almost Iowa

62 thoughts on “My Lawn Tractor”

  1. Coming over from The Green Study, Greg, and SO glad I did.
    Since I am Really Iowa, I appreciate this whole piece (and how gentle you actually are with your wife here. **shhh** I won’t tell).

  2. This is a great story, I really enjoyed it and I can empathize just enough to feel you pain. Sooner or later, the defense strategy fails. My line of death is drawn around the garage. I may retreat to the “workshop” but if that happens, I’m getting a pad lock.

    1. Of course, I think it is in the wedding vows. I pronounce you wife who gets to boss your husband around till death do he part and you husband who gets to be bossed around till death do you part. Maybe you don’t remember that part.

  3. I couldn’t agree more with Maggie and everybody else who chimed in on you getting your posts published. They do deserve a wider readership! And why are there no photos of the gardens? I want to see them! My poor BH has just re-shaped some beds and connected two which were separate from one another because, you know, mowing.

    1. I am thinking of starting a series called, My Stuff. This would be included.

      I just asked the Missus if I could post a picture of her gardens. She was mortified, “they are a work in progress, she said to say.” 🙂

  4. I felt such a sap for not seeing that ending coming, after knowing at the beginning, as you want your reader to know, that your wife will get on that tractor at some point. Very funny!

    Re: submitting your work–Since I’ve told you that before, I of course agree. I will say that, if this is the piece you push, pls email me.

  5. What a noble soul you are! My husband took one look at lawn and garden and defined them as not his problem. There again. We don’t have a tractor.

  6. I hope you and Dan Antion are following each other’s blogs. (And that you never make the mistake of a foursome get-together; your wives both being forces not to be reckoned with).

    That said – you might be me in a previous life !! I wouldn’t ho fir your idea of living room decor but WE had 10 acres that needed moeing and a tractor like yours, and I had the privilege (not chore) if hours out by myself watching the clouds, smelling the trees, and being away from Mom’s nagging. I am my Father’s child!

        1. Agree, Sammy D., Dan and Almost Iowa are blogs to follow! They both could write best sellers with their relationship stories, not just with people, but things! Christine

          1. Like I told Barbara, I am thinking of starting a series called, My Stuff. It would be about my relationship with stuff….. which is really about my relationship with my wife, the cats and Scooter and oh yeah, let’s not forget Stan.

    1. Naw, what attracted me to her was that she had a broken down Ford Ranger pickup. I needed the spare parts. As with everything in our relationship, she used my pickup for spare parts. I then bought a newer F150 pickup and never got to drive it once.

  7. My grandmother once warned me to never do anything on the farm that I don’t want to do everyday for the rest of my life. Those words were advice to her when she married a farmer in the 50s. (Or late 40s???). Anyway, I consider them very wise words and I try to avoid learning how to run the equipment…doesn’t always work.

    1. Wise advice. I would learn how to operate most equipment on the farm, at least then you will know how to shut it off or disengage it in an emergency.

    2. Loved that. Some moms used to advise their daughters not to learn how to type for the same reason–who wanted to be stuck being the secretary?

  8. I feel riddled with guilt you know…save for breathing I leave all ‘green’ matters to my wife 100%. As Kipling might have said, ‘You’re a better man than me.”

  9. Almost Iowa, this is a hilarious and brilliant column from “the (good-natured) battle of the spouses” files. Your wife’s garden sounds like a gerrymandered voting district! 🙂

    1. gerrymandered voting district!

      I heard of a district line that cuts across a queen-sized bed. You have to wonder how they knew the Democrat slept on the north side.

  10. LOL! What goes around comes around. In marriage – how often is it back to where it started – eh?! 🙂 My hubby LOVES his tractor (and it is of the green variety also – as in JD!) He calls it work to mow the lawn – I know otherwise….

    1. Thanks for your kind words. I sent sample essays to a number of local newspapers and didn’t even get the courtesy of a rejection.

      1. Their loss! Truly, I can see reading this in a home and garden magazine, or country/rural living… Reader’s Digest! even a woman’s magazine like Family Circle (if that’s still in publication!) As I was reading this is reminded me of when I used to read Organic Gardening by Rodale Press… the editor had the same tone and sense of humour.

        This is good stuff. I’m very lucky to be able to read it here, free of charge and free from ads. 🙂

      2. You need to pester them again, and then again, and then again. My first newspaper gig took 2 years of pestering. Also watch if there are any staff changes. Nothing like grabbing a new Editor who’s keen to leave his/her mark and bring something new to the paper. That’s worked for me twice.

          1. You know that I am in full agreement with all of the above comments. Your writing deserves print publication. Keep trying. I am sorry you did not even get the courtesy of a response.

        1. Very true. As the writer of Electrica in the Desert reminded me, many submissions don’t even get read these days–at least not by the editor they were sent to. So keep sending.

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