Summer is waning, but I continue to mow lawns. The revenge of the lawn has trumped all my efforts to stunt its growth by cutting the grass too short.
The wonder of the place where I live is that we are scourged with a green, rapid-growing lawn.
Don’t get me wrong. I like the lawn. It actually looks great right after it is mowed. Then it just starts growing like crazy. I might almost get into the practice of mowing frequently, but the noise associated with power mowers offers no joy.
As I get older, that noise becomes more annoying. I am not sure if it is because of hearing loss, which would seem to mitigate the problem, or the fact that it seems inappropriate to have to tolerate noisy tools.
A hundred years ago, most of the tools that we used in daily work were hand tools and they were quiet. Granted, lawn mowers were push reel mowers that required a lot of physical labor. It seems that we have traded physical labor for faster and simpler, albeit noisier, tools. (Yes, I know there are modern, very efficient hand mowers, but they are not for really big lawns.)
It is odd to me that in 2010, power lawn mowers do not have better mufflers. Am I missing something here?
As one who has shot a lot of video, it is always fascinating to listen to the playback audio. If there is no talking on a video, there is always the background noise of trucks braking, hoards of motorcycle marauders and even just tire noise from relatively quiet cars running down the road. If you live in an area where this does not happen, you are blessed.
In my never-ending battle with the lawn, I have enlisted a new weapon in my war.
I bought a set of noise canceling headphones last year. Early on, I thought that using my iPod on the mower would let me get some music into my head while passing time on the mower cutting the several acres of lawn that I have. The sound level of the music had to be so loud that this plan had to be abandoned.
Noise canceling headphones were on my agenda, and when I found a new set on eBay for about $20, this seemed like a risk worth taking.
The headphones completely cover the ear and make things fairly quiet.
Then the little switch is turned on and much of the mower noise just disappears.
Noise canceling headphones produce sound that is inverse to the background noise of whatever is in the area and both sounds actually cancel each other out. It is not perfect, but it does work quite well. I find myself turning it on and off to make sure that it isn’t the music that is masking the 18 horsepower gas motor with the dinky muffler. It is amazing and lets me keep the music at a level that does not further deteriorate my hearing.
When I get done with the lawn, I find myself keeping the headphones on. Off the lawnmower, it looks pretty dorky, but then again if the headphones fit …
Questions for Tom Gocze should be mailed to The Home Page, Bangor Daily News, P.O. Box 1329, Bangor 04402-1329.