Dashing Diva: Becoming a Mowin' Master
Well, it's been awfully rainy around here lately, so I haven't been able to use my Dashing Diva as much as I'd like to, but that's the way it is in Kentucky in June. Hopefully it'll dry up out there soon because my lawn is out of control!
Before it started raining all the time, I was able to spend some quality time driving my zero-turn, and I'm getting better every week, so I'm excited to tell you all about it. Honestly, I was probably mowing even more than I needed to because it's just so much fun – plus it gives me some much-needed "me" time!
"Cutting Down" My Mowing Time
One of the big things that has improved since last month is my mowing time. Back when I had a push mower, it used to take me an hour and a half, or even two hours to mow my lawn, especially since I had to keep emptying the catcher bag all the time. The first time I mowed with my Dashing Diva, I did the whole lawn in about 45 minutes.
These days, I can do the whole thing in 30 minutes, from taking my mower out of the garage to putting it back – and that includes striping! The thing that takes me the longest is picking up all my kids' toys from the yard before I mow!
I've also gotten way better at mowing in straight lines. At first, I was pretty wobbly and unsteady, but mowing perfect rows has become so much easier. It definitely comes with confidence, and I'm way more confident than I was before. The steering is really smooth, and I just think of it like I'm steering a shopping cart. I've found that perfect balance between mowing slow and fast to make straight lines and smooth turns. I just have to remember not to get going too fast.
Earning My Stripes
I love to stripe my yard because it looks very polished (probably because I've been around my dad's lawn service all my life, and I'm used to that professional look). And after seeing my neighbors pay a lawn service to stripe their lawn every week, I'm excited to be able to do it myself. It took a little time to get it right, but I've been perfecting my stripes. Last time I did it, I even got a compliment from my husband, which is really saying something!
I talked to the folks at my dad's lawn service about striping, and I got some tips that really helped me out a lot. First, I learned how to line up your wheels so that when you turn, you put your wheel on the wheel mark from your last stripe. That keeps them all nice and even. I don't know if I'm a "pro" at it yet, but I'm getting there.
Another tip I learned was how to do a three-point turn at the end of each stripe. I'm pretty sure I haven't done that since I took my driver's test, but I'm getting the hang of it again. I haven't tried diagonal stripes yet, but I really want to! I'm going to try that soon. Hopefully I'll be able to tell you all about it in my next blog post!
Oh, and in case you were wondering, I only stripe my front yard, not the back. You can't really see the backyard from the road, plus my kids are just going to destroy it anyway. It's nothing new for me to walk out on my back porch and see my 5-year old literally digging up my back yard!
Here's another big thing I've learned since last time: how to mulch grass clippings with my Dashing Diva. I always thought you needed a mulching kit to mulch grass with a zero-turn lawn mower, but one of my dad's workers gave me a tip on how to do it without one, and it works great!
The first few times I mowed, I went back afterward and raked up all the cut grass because I can't stand the look of having grass clippings left over on your lawn after mowing. I was sure glad to learn how to mulch the clippings with my Dash. It saves me having to rake and gives my lawn some awesome free fertilizer every time I mow.
I start by mowing in vertical stripes, and I don't even worry too much about lining them up. Then I go back and do horizontal stripes real carefully so they look nice. By going over the grass a second time in the opposite direction, the mower mulches up the clippings from the previous pass and I don't have to rake.
After a couple of months owning my Hustler Dash, everything is going great, and much easier than I expected. It's easier to maneuver, makes my lawn look more polished, and it's awesome that I don't have to fill up the gas tank as often as I did with my push mower. I'm pretty sure I mowed seven or eight times before I had to fill it up again.
But my favorite thing about it is how quick it gets the job done. I can get all my other jobs around the house done, spend time with my boys, and still have daylight left over after the mowing is complete. At this point, I feel like mowing is 30 minutes of "me time" I get to have all to myself. Sometimes I actually wish it was a little longer!
My neighbor pays someone to come and mow their lawn every week, and it's great knowing I can do it myself. The monthly payment on the Dash is no more than they pay for their professional landscaping service – maybe even less – and unlike hiring a lawn service, I actually get to keep my lawn mower when it's done!