Of Birdnetting, Lawnmowing, and Mistakes in the Garden

We all make mistakes in the garden on occaission. In fact I do it on a regular basis. Usually my mistakes are those where I forget to do something or I intend to come back and finish something but run out of time to get back to it. My biggest mistake is typically taking on too much for what my time allows. Last night when I was out mowing I made a couple of mistakes that led to a lot of frustration with my mower. Let me be clear, the blame is on me and not on my mower!

I noticed my issue while beginning to mow the front yard. I turned the mower to go up hill when all of a sudden everything came to a halt. The blades would run but for some reason the mower's transmission would not go. I was stuck. I looked around the mower and saw a stick poking up into the underside of the mower. It was leftover from a pruning I did the other day. I removed and and proceeded to look underneath the mower to see what was wrong when I noticed something wrapped around one of the wheels. It was bird netting that was loose in the yard. Somehow I had run over it and it wrapped itself up into a very thick rope wrapped around the wheel. I thought maybe this is why it all stopped. So I cut and removed the bird netting with a knife and got the wheel clear.

Bird netting roped around mower axle
Bird netting after being wrapped around the axle of a riding mower.

I sat back upon the mower, turned it on, and ... went nowhere. There was something still amiss. After reexamining the underside of the mower it was then I noticed that the drive belt was completely off. The stick that I had left lying in the grass had popped up into the belt area and leveraged the belt off the pulleys. I should have cleaned up my mess from pruning. I lowered the cutting deck and tried to realign the belt onto the pulley system with little luck. After quite a bit of frustration my neighbor came to help and we watched a video on a cellphone about how to replace the belt under my mower. Gradually darkness came and flashlights were necessary. Apparently Troy-Bilt put in a handy little lever that (had I read the manual) could easily release the tension on the belt for me to wrap it around all the necessary pulleys. Manuals are given to us for a reason!

As complete darkness surrounded me I turned the mower on and it ran, it moved, and I began one last trip back to the shed with the mower to put it away. It was too dark to finish mowing but the flashlight would at least let me get the RZT mower back to its home in my shed. I looked down at the ground through the darkness and noticed that an unusually high amount of grass was shooting out of the mower. It took me about 15 feet to realize that I hadn't raised the mower deck back to its normal height!

Scalping a lawn. Desired height on bottom of picture.
I managed to scalp a pretty nice little pathway through the front yard. While this might be a great technique to help remove an area of the lawn for a new garden or to actually create a real pathway with paving stones this was not what I wanted! Hopefully the grass will endure this disgrace and return to its former glory. Always mow the proper height for your grass and of course check the mower cutting deck!

What mistakes have you made in your garden lately?

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