Old Tractors Versus New Crap: Part I

Rural folks know that lawns matter. They’re not for appearances. They exist to maintain territorial integrity of the homestead. People in the suburbs might not grok the deal but on a farm anything that’s not pasture, tilled field, or forest must be mowed. If you don’t keep vegetation in check, chaos ensues. First the unmowed area becomes a weedy habitat for ticks and critters. Soon it evolves into an impassible brush patch that houses chicken eating foxes and possibly partying teenagers. Eventually it’ll host packs of wolves which eat your cat and a wildfire takes out your garage. That’s the precise and irrefutable trajectory for homesteads with bad lawns! You’ve been warned.

As a result, country folks all have big honkin’ overpriced riding lawnmowers. Mine is new and shiny but I hate it. Why? Because it was specifically designed to be as big and honkin’ as possible while still being as cheap and wussy as they could contrive. It actively pisses me off.

Time for a Curmudgeonly Gem Of Insight:

“Corporate behemoths, liability issues, and a society full of pansies have colluded to create machines which actively piss me off. This happens when the purchasers of machinery are presumed to have the intellect of a puppy and the fortitude of a slug; in effect they’re like politicians. I am from a long line of tool using apes that all wanted their machines to be ever more awesomer so I’m not going quietly into that dark night!”

For example my new mower’s admittedly huge horsepower is a travesty. It comes out of a crappy little cut rate engine. How does it do that? By being revved like a Cuisinart that just mainlined thirty espressos. I call bullshit! High RPM is for sportbikes and powerdrills… not my lawn. Also, it’s ridiculously loud. Like a politician, it makes up for lack of substance by emitting an ungodly racket.

Fit and finish is of the classic early 21st century Wal-mart ethos. The whole thing screams disposable shit from China! Everything that’s not bolted down vibrates. Everything that’s not vibrating is made of plastic. Every part, should it break (and it will) is out of stock, expensive, hard to replace, and unavailable.

Also it’s laden with Nader gadgetry to keep anyone, no matter how stupid, from suing the manufacturer. Leaving the seat or going into reverse shuts down the mower deck. The transmission is dumbed down so much that there’s an arrow and you stomp on it to move. (I didn’t get the memo; when did homo sapiens devolve until a clutch is just too darned complicated for our tiny little brain?)

Did I mention that the tires are the smallest radius feasible? Did I mention that by “feasible” I mean barely suitable for a fat banker to roll around his irrigated suburban lawn. On my modestly uneven lawn it bucks like an ATV trying to inch around on skateboard wheels.

Furthermore if you try to climb the slightest grade or cross the tiniest pothole the thing will get stuck. It’s unmanly and a pox upon our society that a device costing a two grand and sporting twenty horsepower can get stuck on a ridge the size of a banana!

It’s not even very efficient. I get maximum decibels but far less work per gallon.

Also, I’m subtly insulted that the upper throttle position is a picture of a rabbit. Do I really have to live in a world designed for folks so illiterate and clueless that they need a cartoon character? Listen up marketing assholes everywhere “rabbits and turtles” are for nursery rhymes!

It does have a cup holder. That’s a good idea. Except it doesn’t work. If the tire radius was big enough that it wouldn’t spill my beer all would be forgiven. By God, when I mow my lawn with my stupid cartoon designated hydrostatic drive yuppie implement I want to drink and drive!

There is one and only one reason I use my lawn mower. It starts. OK, I’ll admit, that’s pretty huge. On the other hand its reliability has a shelf life. It’s depreciating by the hour. I’m pretty sure it’ll eventually shake itself to pieces. In fifteen years it’ll probably be such worthless junk that fixing it will be a waste of time. By then even the chickens won’t deign to shit on the seat.

About Adaptive Curmudgeon

I will neither confirm nor deny that I actually exist.
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7 Responses to Old Tractors Versus New Crap: Part I

  1. Damn, quite the optimist aren’t ya?
    That thing will be lucky to last five years.

    Everything is like that now.
    Pretty plastic covering up worthless crap.
    The thing is, you can guarantee that the bearings in the mower deck are the cheapest ones to be found on the planet, they will seize up if the deck its self hasn’t already rotted clear off the rest of the carcass first. I lost count of how many decent looking lawn tractors I have seen being given away for free for just those two reasons. That’s where they really get ya, the parts.

  2. Joe in PNG says:

    But I’m sure it has enough plastic pretty bits to make it LOOK like the muscular beast it isn’t.

  3. Wolfman says:

    I know they make brushhog style mowers for the little Ford (possibly even new ones), but does your little tractor have cultivator attachments? I know Pop’s 8N has the mount points for it, although I don’t know if he has the links or not. If it does, a little creative bracketry and you could undermount a pretty fair size mower deck, on a quieter and more efficient machine that can climb real hills. Plus, a lot classier…

    • I like my rear mounted finish mower. Makes the lawn look nicer than I deserve. If I had money to invest I’d hook up a trail mower and double the width. My other tractor has a belly mower. It’s awesome but both the tractor and the mower are shot. I don’t have a cultivator (belly mount or otherwise) but I intend to rectify the situation someday.

  4. KA9VSZ says:

    Yup. I just worked on my mom’s so-called “Ranch King Tractor” lawn mower and all of your observations ring true. On the plus side, I saw reminders of my late father’s handiwork: safety-designed metal shields torn like tissue paper and overidden safeties. At least the damn thing keeps running when you raise off the seat. I miss him. He even had all his fingers.

  5. Pingback: Post 2013: Materialism | The Adaptive Curmudgeon's Blog

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