Tag teaming it on the mowing

Tag teaming it on the mowing

I’m not happy the remains of Hurricane Fred recently went through our area and caused the grass to jump up a few inches overnight. After two weeks of enjoying a late summer dry period where we didn’t have to mow, the grass was now looking worse than it did in the spring. Joe and I were tag teaming it on the mowing. He started and then I took a shift.

Hurricane season is not looking good for people who mow their own grass. A second huge storm system has already dumped more inches of rain in our area. When will it end?

There are more negatives to mowing than just the frequency of it, though. When I’m mowing, I am always carefully scanning the area ahead of me for ground hornets. Hornets don’t like mowers. You can usually get by without injury on the first pass over their nest with the mower, but after that second pass, they are going to be waiting for you.

The grass was so thick from all the rain that the mower was leaving big clumps of it laying in the yard. Joe got out his heavy-duty leaf blower and was breaking up the clumps and spreading them around.

I was on my third pass through the yard when I spotted them — a swarm of ground hornets spreading out along the grass in a menacing formation. They were ready to kill to protect their nest.

That’s it, I’m done, and I rolled the mower to a stop. The mower was still running (I had to keep one hand on it, or it would shut off and be hard to restart) and so was the leaf blower. I tried to contact Joe through mental telepathy. You never know when that is going to work, but this time — no good. So I took my one free arm and started making little buzzy bee flying motions with my hand. I also was making a buzzy bee noise, but nobody could hear it.

Thank goodness no cars drove by while this was happening.

Joe came over to investigate. If you need a hornet assassin, he’s the guy to call. Brandishing the leaf blower, he aimed it at the hornets.

“Go ahead. You can mow,” Joe said. “I’ll keep them away.”

I was not really impressed with his technique, but I looked and didn’t see any hornets. Onward, and what a relief! I made it through the first pass unscathed. As much as my gut was telling me that holding off a swarm of bees with a leaf blower was a bad idea, it had worked.

I pushed on through the yard and then back to the hornet nest area. Joe held his position with the leaf blower, pointing it at the nest. I was feeling confident because this pass with the mower certainly had to be farther from the nest, providing less of a chance those frightening hornets would get me.

I was mowing on through, feeling the force of that powerful leaf blower working to keep me safe, when — “Ouch!”

It felt like someone had stuck a hot poker into my right ankle. I hobbled in pain.

Joe was immediately super concerned and full of empathy.

“Don’t stop now. You can keep going. I’ve been stung mowing plenty of times,” he said.

This is true, but I’m not that tough. I headed to the house, contemplating all the positive things there are to paying a lawn care service to mow your yard. Let someone else take the hit from that hornet’s nest for you.

Now I’m really looking forward to fall and winter and the break from mowing. But until then it’s Joe’s turn to mow, and I’ll hold off the bees with a leaf blower.

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