Give up the gas, kick the cord – a push mower that works easily

When we bought our first home – on Bastedo Avenue – it came with an old reel push mower. I was young and strong at the time, and the lawn was not much bigger than our mattress so I thought, how hard could it be? It being our first place, I was anxious to learn all about homeownership, and lawn maintenance, and I set out to make the proverbial putting green of a front lawn. By the time we left Bastedo five years later PGA touring pros would stop there to practise before playing the Canadian Open.

I took the old mower to our next place on Strathmore, took one mighty push into the thick grass of that backyard, and nearly drove the mower handle through my stomach. It wouldn’t cut… not at all! Off I went to Canadian Tire and came home with a pretty decent little electric mower with a flip over handle. That mower served me well for the next 20 years – and another move – until it went the way of all mechanical things.

I purchased a small little electric to replace it, but truth be told, I’m not very happy with it. The cut is narrower which means I have to do more passes. The handle is longer and doesn’t flip over, probably for some safety reason or other. And of course there’s the question of the power cord. I’ve never been good with long cords, and I’m getting very tired of snarls and tangles and stopping to go back and untangle the thing.

This spring was so wet that it was nearly a month after putting on the top dressing before the lawn was dry enough that I could attempt a pass with the mower without the risk of electrocution! A month of perfect grass-growing weather. My lawn was nearly blocking the view across the street!

When I was a wee lad my father had a reel mower with a small Briggs & Stratton engine fixed to the top of it. It was self-propelled, and my father would walk easily behind the chugging thing as it  cut our huge lawn perfectly. I wondered if they were still available. It turns out they are, but they have been substantially redesigned – more for the purpose of cutting actual putting greens – and cost as much as a used car. Then I found Greg Todd.

Greg’s ad on craigslist claimed to provide a manual reel push mower that was guaranteed to be easy to use. No more gut stabbing sudden stops in long grass. The video on his website – carbontip-toe.com – shows him easily pushing the mower through the long grass at his cottage. Intrigued I looked up his number. It was a Beach number. I called, identified myself as from Beach Metro News, and Greg immediately said  that I could have looked up his ad the Beach Metro News Classified section! DOH!

We chatted – Greg is a consummate salesman from his years selling advertising for the Toronto Star – and set up a time when he could come around, demonstrate the mowers, and most of all, let me push the thing around myself.
Greg showed up at my house on the hottest day of the year – and we pushed his two models of lawnmower across my lawn, which was in desperate need of a cut. It was actually really easy to push.

“It’s touchless,” said Greg explaining that the spinning blades don’t ever touch the bar. You can adjust it “so there’s much less friction.”

Long story short, it worked! Simply. No sweat. No noise. No cord. No gas. And my wee dog Murphy sits quietly nearby without fear of being shredded by the big machine. I now have the satisfaction of getting a good cut on my lawn, a bit of a physical workout (I was at the point of hiring a lawn service) without the frustrations that went with it, and I’m doing something to help the environment.

One of my neighbours is a guitar player, and refers to my new mower as an “acoustic lawnmower.”

“Once prospective customers try out a NaturCut they realize that it’s possible to have lawn care that is fast, easy, low cost, quiet and environmentally-friendly,” Greg said. “For me it was a slam dunk… so much so that I have operated a lawn care service using NaturCut for the past two seasons. I’ve actually become quite fond of them and the way they perform.”

You can find Greg’s ad under Landscapers in our Classifieds section, or go to his website at www.carbontip-toe.com.  Or stop by Fridays between 3 and 7 p.m. at the Birchcliff Village Farmers Market and buy a $5 raffle ticket. Gregg is donating as First Prize a NaturCut reel mower; second prize is a lawn cut and trim by Greg himself. All proceeds will be going towards the Toronto Humane Society. The draw will be on July 15.


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