The second time I had to abandon the lawnmower and head to the filling station to lug a gas can home I decided it was time to make the purchase. It had been brewing for a while and after I read that running a lawnmower for an hour emits as much greenhouse gas as driving a car 100 miles I could think of nothing else while pushing that noisy beast around our yard. I was going to give a reel mower (a human-powered lawn mower) a chance.
I started my research on Amazon.com because I do find the reviews very helpful. The Scott's Classic Reel Mower had around 650 reviews with an average of four stars. After reading a few good reviews I went to the bad, and found that the complaints were mostly about a plastic gear that broke for some folks, but they were a comparatively small group compared with those who raved about the mower. The $119.99 to ease my conscience was worth the risk of a plastic gear.
So like a kid on Christmas I busted the thing out of the box and a quick assembly later I was pushing the reel mower through the lawn and...uh...the blades were spinning but the grass wasn't getting any shorter.
Thirty Google minutes later I discovered that there is some adjusting that needs to be done, so armed with a flat-head screwdriver I tweaked four screws that align a fixed edge with the spinning blade that allows the grass to be cut with a scissor motion. Bingo, it cut beautifully and easily.
In fact, it may have been my best experience cutting a lawn ever. For starters, I could hear my iPod (though the neighbors probably weren't too happy to actually hear my singing) and at 26 pounds it is easier to push and maneuver than my gas-powered mower. It took the same amount of time and I didn't need to stop halfway through to refill the tank.