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Adding livestock to our micro farm

We’ve done a ton of work to this rental since we moved in last June.  It’s my parent’s rental house, so we take extra care of it and do our best to make improvements that are both attractive and help us live a more self-sufficient lifestyle.

The main thing we’ve done is tear up the planting beds that were home to five-foot tall weeds, and replaced it with a pretty nice vegetable garden.  We’re in the process of tearing out some bushes (that while beautiful, smell like urinal cakes and attract flies) and replacing them with blueberries.  I’ve planted a mini drawf apple tree in an area of the yard that is under-utilized.  We’ve planted a raspberry bed, and are constantly working on new ideas.

One of the things I’ve been throwing around for awhile now is the idea of livestock.  Well, we took the plunge, and I’d like to introduce you to Flossy:

Flossy is the only kind of animal that Troy’s allergies can handle.  She is the metal kind.  She doesn’t shed, and she doesn’t create any dander.

Flossy does a great job on our lawns and keeps them well-maintained and tidy.  She is a bit slow, and some people would consider her “old-fashioned”, but we sure do love that girl.

I’m guessing by now you’ve realized I’m a giant dork and named our lawn mower “Flossy”.  Flossy is a Scott’s Reel Mower Classic that was purchased by my sister at Goodwill.  My brother-in-law often has to travel for work, and last year he was moved across state for about six months.  He had a short-term rental house that required him to mow the lawn.  And they didn’t provide a mower.  My sis found Flossy at Goodwill, and when they were done with the rental, Flossy came to live her life out at our house.

Flossy does a fantastic job mowing our lawn.  There are three different settings: short, medium, and long which allow you to customize how short you cut your grass.  This model didn’t come with a bag, but from what I’ve read, the bags are more trouble than they’re worth.  Additionally, leaving the clippings on your lawn helps to act as fertilizer to keep it healthy.

We also have a power lawn mower, but I always find myself using Flossy.  For one thing, she makes very little noise and as long as I’m paying close attention, I feel safe having Jack in the yard with me while mowing.  I would never have my crazy-curious boy next to me while using a gas-powered mower.

What I told Troy: “please take some pictures of me mowing the lawn”.  What Troy heard: “please take unflattering pictures of my ass”.

Once spring has come to regions that have been had a long winter, everyone and their mother starts mowing their long lawn on the first sunny day.  You’re probably familiar with the sound of a neighbor’s lawn mower being started, mowing about 1 foot, and then stalling out on long grass.  Lather, rinse, repeat for the entire yard.  Flossy on the other hand is powered by ME, so while long grass does make me use swear words that seem to only be found in the IKEA catalog, I’m able to get through long spring grass just as quickly as those with power mowers.

“Oh Splurkengerken this lawn is long”!

The other obvious plus to an old-school mower is that I’m wasting zero money on gas.  With the price of gas these days, that will save us a ton of money each “lawn mowing season”.  Additionally, Flossy isn’t off-gassing gasoline fumes while mowing the lawn.

A great side effect that I wasn’t expecting while using Flossy, is the fact that I get a wonderful work out while mowing the lawn.  Accomplishing two things while only doing one is huge in my book.  The first time I mowed using Flossy, I sent my friend Anne a text that said “my arms are so tired, that I can’t even text or knit”.  I’m sure she then spent the next few hours questioning why she was friends with someone who was clearly SO cool.

Flossy does have some downsides too.  She is slow.  As in powered by you.  She isn’t great for weeds, and if your yard is huge or hilly, you’re going to be exhausted at the end of it.  We have a small, flat yard, so Flossy is absolutely perfect and saves us boatloads of cash.

Looking for your own metal cow?  First, try Goodwill or post a “wanted” ad on your local Freecycle.  If you prefer brand new, home improve stores do carry these, as does Amazon.

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18 comments on “Adding livestock to our micro farm”

  1. I think your ass looks awesome.

    • I stumbled upon this page by accident, but I will say your backside looks just fine. Keep the manual mower, and your derriere can only get better from here.

  2. Those pictures have the exact same angle as 90% of our recent vacation photos. I am now obsessing about the size of my ass as perceived by the rest of the world. Thanks, Brendan!

  3. Love it! Been trying to talk my husband into getting one. He refuses. I promised to do all the mowing. He still refuses. So we’ll see! 🙂

    • Do either of your have seasonal allergies? I used to sneeze/snot my way through mowing the lawn, but the reel mower doesn’t kick up enough stuff to impact my allergies. That could be a selling point!

  4. Great post, Sarah! Growing up we had the BEST push mower…and old school edger…what I would give to have those now!

  5. I love the workout and money saving at once!

  6. We used to have an ancient mower like that when I was a kid! I discovered it in our shed one summer, and managed to gouge our neighbors for a few bucks by mowing the teeny tiny patches of grass in front of our row homes. I wish I knew what ever became of that thing. I could stand to work a little of my unflattering ass off, and our lawn is in dire need of cutting…by the time hubby gets around to it (the gas lawnmowers are ”his” toys, and he doesn’t share well,) that grass might just be tall enough to get lost in.

  7. I bought one of these push mowers when I first moved to Texas, only to find that the grass here just bowed under it and sprung back up. I wasn’t able to get it to actually cut the lawn. I also found that it was too hard for me physically as my lawn is not even so I donated my push mower to a nice young military family with a tiny patch of lawn and purchased an electric mower. It’s still not easy for me to mow, but at least the grass does get cut that way.

    • Do you have the electric mower that charges to cut, or do you need to keep it attached with an extension cord while cutting? I’m so intrigued by those mowers!

  8. I’ve always wanted one! However, I would be swearing like a trucker because our yard is HUGE for being in town (and our freaking property taxes show it!). It takes me 2 hours just to use our John Deere riding mower. It would take me days to mow this lawn with Flossy. My husbands mower should be here in a week and I am officially retiring as the mower of the family! Since he hasn’t been able to mow since being in a wheelchair. He just spent a pretty penny and ordered a RC (radio controlled) lawn mower. I’m so happy I can’t stop smiling. 🙂

    • Good god, 2 hours on a riding lawn mower? I implore you to not get a reel mower then! Goodness that seems like forever spent on mowing. My hat is off to you!

  9. I love, love, love our push mower! I will never go back. The combo of quiet and no gas exhaust is just tops. I love it!

  10. Just found your page through Pinterest ~ So glad to see SOMEONE ELSE mowing with a reel & in rain boots (mine have peace signs) ~ hubby laughs every time I start trompin’ & mowin’…now I can prove to him ~ I AM NOT THE ONLY PERSON THAT DOES THIS! – Love your page

  11. I have a 9 year old, and a pretty big yard, I’ve told her in the past that I’m going to get one of these little mowers so she can help me mow the yard… who knows if it’ll happen, but I still think it’s a great idea! She however is not very fond of the concept!

  12. We inheirited an old reel mower with our rental house and I love it! My neighbor keeps offering his gas mower after he sees my summer “workout” but I just remind him that he has a baby sleeping at home! I was wondering if you know of places that would sharpen the blades? I haven’t been able to find much in the small college town we live in, and online searches show DIY home sharpening kits. Have you used these? I just found your blog on Pinterest and love it!