The Grass of the Field

During the first 3 1/2 years of living in Miaoli, Taiwan I tried to maintain the grass and weeds on my property with a heavy-duty backpack weedwacker. Yes, it got the job done, but it was heavy and hurt my shoulders, took 6-8 hours to cover my whole yard (It’s less than acre, but we live in the tropics, and things grow like crazy over here), and in the end the lawn wasn’t cut at an even length.

Options, Options

This past year, I thought of possibly buying a lawn mower during our summer vacation in Oregon and taking it back to Taiwan in my luggage (Hey, when you’re in a pinch you’ll come up with all kinds of creative ideas to get the job done). But it would have been too much trouble. A decent sized gas mower would have been too heavy and incurred heavy luggage fees. A used mower couldn’t go on an airplane because of issues with its previously used gas engine. And an electric mower, though lighter, probably wouldn’t be powerful enough for my jungle lawn. Naw, it was just too much trouble.

Biting the Bullet

So this past autumn season I went ahead and purchased a lawn mower from a farm equipment supplier up in the mountains. At first I winced at the thought of paying nearly $600 for a lawnmower, especially when I could get a much better one, for a cheaper price, in the States. But here we were, 6,000 miles and an ocean away from the land of cheap farm equipment, and I needed a better tool to get the job done.

I scoffed at the price of the $600 lawn mower, that is until I took my first 2 passes across the lawn.

It’s Worth It

There it was gliding smoothly across the ground, and not clinging to my back like a big smoking gorilla!  With a squeeze of the lever, it pulled itself along at rabbit speed. The grass was cut evenly, and with no swinging of my arms. The first time I used the mower to cut the grass it took only 2 hours instead of 6-8 hours! And after the initial cut, it only took around 1 1/2 hours!  I didn’t get heat stroke. I didn’t have a headache. My neck, back, legs, and arms were all much more comfortable than in the past. And though tired, I was amazed at how satisfying the whole experience was!

Lesson Learned

I learned an important lesson through this experience: Don’t scrimp when it comes to tools. The true value of a tool is based on the benefit it brings to the user, in relation to their environment, circumstances, and time, and not necessarily what’s on the price tag.

The Environment-  I live in an environment where the grass grows thick and fast, and if I don’t mow the lawn, poisonous snakes will take up residence in my lush and shady yard.  Then my children couldn’t safely play outside. Because of my tropical environment, I have to cut the grass on a regular basis. Children’s safety=priceless.

The Circumstances-  I injured the lower portion of my neck when I was 18 years old, and ever since then, when I carry heavy things on my shoulder (a backpack, one of my children), my lower neck and shoulder begin to flare up with sharp pain. Because of the pain I experience when I weed wack my lawn it makes me less willing to cut the grass. But it needs to be cut. Again, the benefit to my neck and shoulders justifies the cost. My health=priceless.

The Time- As previously mentioned it takes 6-8 hours to cut my lawn with my backpack weedwacker. And all that in the tropical Taiwanese sun, and with insane humidity levels. I often end up with heat stroke, blood rushing up to my head, and a massive headache, not to mention a great chunk of my day, gone. My time is precious, so a lawn mower just makes sense. Oh, if only I had come to that conclusion 3 1/2 year ago!! My time=priceless.

Say No to Cheap  Tools

I believe its in our best interest to spend more money on quality tools that we use all the time. In the past I might have been tempted to buy cheap tools, but no longer. Tools are made to help us accomplish our work with greater efficiency, ease, and precision. We can be more productive, avoid a lot of hassle or injury, and do an overall better job if we use the right tools. Shoddy tools often lead to shoddy work.

Gaining So Much More

Now, in addition to mowing the lawn much quicker, I can slow down and enjoy the sights and sounds of my children running around the yard, or swinging from the trees; the little bugs and critters scattering and jumping through the grass; or just stop and smell the fragrance of the freshly cut lawn.

Even though it’s work, it’s pleasant. Whereas I used to dread the growing grass, now I look forward to mowing it. Whereas I used to spend countless painful hours in the heat, now I get the job done quickly and happily. Thank God for good tools to get the job done. And thank God for the money to buy them.

Learn a lesson that took me 3 1/2 years to learn: Don’t scrimp when it comes to tools!

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