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Tue Sep 30, 2014, 01:44 AM

Which McGyver out there can tell me the cheapest best way to make a riding lawn mower?

I mean one suitable for an older lady with a lot about 1/4 acre. The one with a reel mower where the front tire of a bicycle goes wouldn't work for me. I'm not mechanical so it needs to be simple and cheap. Can't tether a goat because the dogs would attack it. Actually I'd love to buy a Yard Bug because it has a rear engine and nothing in front to block any vision. But they're a tad spendy too.

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Reply Which McGyver out there can tell me the cheapest best way to make a riding lawn mower? (Original post)
IrishAyes Sep 2014 OP
kentauros Oct 2014 #1
IrishAyes Oct 2014 #2
kentauros Oct 2014 #3
IrishAyes Oct 2014 #4
kentauros Oct 2014 #5
IrishAyes Oct 2014 #6
Fumesucker Nov 2014 #24
IrishAyes Nov 2014 #25
dennisdavid Aug 2015 #29
Eleanors38 Nov 2014 #7
happyslug Nov 2014 #8
IrishAyes Nov 2014 #10
happyslug Nov 2014 #14
IrishAyes Nov 2014 #16
happyslug Nov 2014 #17
happyslug Nov 2014 #18
IrishAyes Nov 2014 #19
happyslug Nov 2014 #20
IrishAyes Nov 2014 #21
happyslug Nov 2014 #22
IrishAyes Nov 2014 #23
MADem Nov 2014 #9
IrishAyes Nov 2014 #11
MADem Nov 2014 #12
IrishAyes Nov 2014 #13
MADem Nov 2014 #15
tinrobot Dec 2014 #26
IrishAyes Dec 2014 #27
sendero Dec 2014 #28

Response to IrishAyes (Original post)

Tue Oct 7, 2014, 12:15 AM

1. How about a 3-wheel cycle and pulling the reel mower?

Seems like it wouldn't take much McGyvering to create such a set-up

Alternately, how about a scythe?


Mowtown classic: the best operators can scythe five square metres of rough grass to a smooth sward in 70 seconds Photo: CHRISTOPHER JONES

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Response to kentauros (Reply #1)

Mon Oct 13, 2014, 09:07 PM

2. Thank you.

I like the idea of the scythe, but at my age - almost 69 if still sturdy - my toes might be in danger. So might my extremely irritating neighbor on the south side. He's a belligerent old bully who takes my rejection of him very poorly. Sometimes he can be beyond nasty and sometimes I can be tempermental. Bad combo.

If I were competent at handling it, your 3-wheeler towing a reel mower would work great. Unfortunately I'd probably wind up cutting down all sorts of things I've worked almost a decade growing to maturity. The yard's almost a 1/4 acre but I didn't landscape with an eye to easy mowing. I'd navigate like a drunk Woody Allen, the world's worst driver. I need something slow and steady with a clear view of what I'm doing in front. When I told my kids I had eyes in the back of my head, that was a lie.

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Response to IrishAyes (Reply #2)

Mon Oct 13, 2014, 10:02 PM

3. You're welcome :)

To be honest, I can't think of anything else that would be both easy to operate and easy to rig up. An alternative idea I had was to hire someone to mow for your, but not with money. Do so with food, like a good meal.

Another idea would be to get rid of the lawn in favor of "wild growth" like the wildflowers (and "weeds" of a meadow. There's bound to be plants out there that don't need mowing due to not growing high.

This site, Native American Seeds, is rather Texas-centric for native species, though they do have good planting/growing tips and resources/links. You might also call your extension agent or see if there's a community gardening group in your area that could help further.

Oh, and you could still get a scythe (even just the smaller, hooked and handheld type) to carry around with you. It would make for an intimidating sight!

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Response to kentauros (Reply #3)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 11:10 PM

4. Yes, I do have certain neighbors who'd benefit by seeing me with a scythe!

I'd love to switch to meadow mode but need to think it over awhile first because I have dogs, and they're harder on flowers than grass.

And I'm afraid there are no men around here who'd mow w/o $, and if they did they'd expect more than a meal. Because it's such a rabid teabagger area - boy, I can sure pick a retirement spot, can't I? - I'm lucky I can even hire one to mow. When an ancient oak rotted at the base and threatened to fall over on the house, one of the area's main tree trimmers refused the work expressly because of my politics - which I don't discuss at all hardly ever unless I'm cornered, btw. That was an expensive job, too, as you can well imagine.

So I really want to figure out some way to sit and mow for myself because I don't know that I'll ever be able to afford a Yard Bug, no matter how much I like them.

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Response to IrishAyes (Reply #4)

Sat Oct 25, 2014, 11:37 PM

5. Maybe go to an estate auction,

or see if any of the local golf courses have any mowing equipment to sell used. Or see if the county will do it!

That's too bad about the local businesses and people being so prejudiced. You'd think, being money-loving teabaggers and all, that it wouldn't matter what the politics of someone would be. Money is money, and it is their god after all. I hope you were able to get your tree taken down, too. I got many hours in tree feeling growing up because we had an oak disease take out almost all of our trees. It's tough (and dangerous) work.

Yard maintenance crews might also have used mowers, though if they're getting rid of one, it likely doesn't work at all. Ask at any of the mower maintenance shops in your area if they have anything used or refurbished. Or if they know how to set up something like you originally asked

It's too bad robot mowers cost so much. I've just read about models that can mow up to five acres!

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Response to kentauros (Reply #5)

Sun Oct 26, 2014, 11:55 AM

6. Yes, if there's anything I covet, it's a robot mower. Truly.

My yard's only a quarter acre, but that's common in the more rural communities. While your suggestions are excellent and welcome, let me put my location in clear perspective: the nearest Walmart of any kind is 60 miles away, and the NEXT-closest is over 80. I do go to nearby auctions etc. In fact, I'm a notorious curbside shopper for clearly discarded but still useful (to me) odds and ends left in open view.

The main trouble with auctions, however, kinda sorta rests partly on my own shoulders. Not having a vehicle means I can only go so far as my short little legs will carry me. Then too I've noticed that the better stuff tends to get brought up later than sooner. It's hard for me to spend all day there. I've seen some dirty tricks pulled too - as when the auctioneer will indicate something he knows I don't want is up for bids when all the time it's something different so his buddy doesn't have to bid against me. Most of these guys are a little too big for me to thrash and they know it. So my hands are tied even if my mouth shoots off. Probably the worst danger for me, however, is that I almost always find something I want but don't need, and that's what I bring home.

BTW, thanks for asking.... yes, I did find a willing tree trimmer at last. The majority of my paid projects around home now go automatically to the Amish, who don't care about my politics (or anyone else's either) one whit. And a little of the animosity has abated in a few other quarters too. So life here in general isn't unbearable for a liberal, congenial introvert largely content with her own company. Even though nobody around here has ever heard of a WHAT?! A Yard Bug, neighbor! I tend to address many people as 'neighbor' because I don't always know their name, even after almost a decade.

One of my friends is a bit of a McGyver type, though. I know if I can find a good design for what I need, he can at least reproduce it.

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Response to IrishAyes (Reply #6)

Tue Nov 25, 2014, 05:15 PM

24. A Snapper Comet is pretty close to a Yard Bug in fuction and they are all over the place down here..

The Snapper is actually even more elemental than the Yard Bug. Everything about it is simple and straightforward and I see some awfully decrepit ones still cutting grass. It's designed so that you can tip it up and it stands on its rear so you can work on the blade and under the deck with ease.

We have a Farmers Bulletin published by the state Agriculture Office that has this sort of classified ad section for mowers, tractors, livestock and so on in it, it's a free publication you subscribe to and free to place ads, it might be worth checking to see if something similar exists in your state, you could even write a want ad for a mower.



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Response to Fumesucker (Reply #24)

Sat Nov 29, 2014, 08:46 PM

25. Wow - thanks!

I'll look for one somewhere nearby. We have a dinky little radio station that has a 'tell and sell' type program that works pretty well. Or I can ask my handyman to keep an eye out for one for me. He's such a real friend - in our winter weather I didn't want to walk all the way to a particular church that was holding a Thanksgiving Day dinner, so he offered to take me there in his truck. Sadly, all his family smoke like chimneys and I'm deathly allergic, so I can't go there. Anyway, he was earlier than expected, and for the extra 5 minutes it took me to hustle myself out the door, he just shoveled my walk for me. Everybody should have a friend like that. His wife's one of my best friends too.

Sounds like the Snapper would be a great alternative for me. That's what I need - something simple and sturdy. And not too expensive.

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Response to IrishAyes (Reply #25)

Fri Aug 14, 2015, 07:55 AM

29. agreed

agreed

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Response to IrishAyes (Original post)

Fri Nov 7, 2014, 11:33 PM

7. How bout an old electric transport, like a golf, shopping.

 

mobility-handicapped models? These are often sold cheap by home medical equipment companies. You could pull roller (push mower)-type blade unit(s) after the cart, as a tractor might when tilling. Because of the cumbersomeness of this set up, you will miss certain areas, which will require cutting by other means.

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Response to IrishAyes (Original post)

Mon Nov 10, 2014, 01:34 PM

8. Look into a donkey, some Game Department them away for free as wolf protection

 

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Response to happyslug (Reply #8)

Thu Nov 13, 2014, 10:28 PM

10. Oh I LOVE donkeys - my party's symbol after all.

I'd have one if they were allowed in town - and as you say, if it was raised with my dogs. I love mules even more, but they're way too big and noisy. If I lived in the country still, I'd have at least 2 of each. They're really good to people who treat them well.

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Response to IrishAyes (Reply #10)

Fri Nov 14, 2014, 12:30 AM

14. Check your town rules, In the City of Pittsburgh the only restriction is five Cats and/or Dogs.

 

Those animals can be dogs or cats. The city has NO restrictions on owning horses, or other domestic animals including "Fowl". The city does prohibit "Fowl" from escaping your yard.

No person or residence shall be permitted to own, harbor or maintain more than five dogs or cats or any combination thereof within City limits. This section shall not affect any person or residence whose number of dogs, cats or any combination thereof exceeds the limit of five prior to the effective date of this section and upon elimination of dogs or cats by adoption, death or any permanent removal from that person or residence, owners exceeding the limit of five are not permitted to obtain additional dogs or cats. This section shall not affect kennels and catteries that have been granted a kennel/cattery permit by the City Animal Control Department nor shall it affect kennels registered with the Pennsylvania Department of Agriculture.

http://ecode360.com/13708554


The City does state "No person shall ride or drive any animal drawn conveyance on any street or sidewalk within the City.." but does NOT address the issue of ownership. In fact I can make the claim that law does NOT prohibit riding a horse or donkey for it clearly states "No person shall ride or drive any animal drawn conveyance..." i.e no wagons, but nothing about riding an actual horse.

This is typical of most laws, they prohibit such animals on the streets BUT not in your yard. To be safe I would get a letter from your Municipal Solicitor that the donkey is legal before I buy one (or get an attorney to write something up that such horse ownership is legal).

Law on Riding an animal powered conveyance:

No person shall ride or drive any animal drawn conveyance on any street or sidewalk within the City, except such as the Superintendent of Police may permit in a parade or other special event, or except that the Director of the Department of Public Works may authorize horse drawn carriages on designated streets in the Central Business District at designated times.

http://ecode360.com/search/PI0000?query=Horse&guids=13706789


Laws on Dogs and cats:

http://ecode360.com/13706789

Law on Fowl:

No person being the owner or in charge of any chickens, geese, ducks, turkey or other fowl shall permit the same to run at large upon any public place, unenclosed lands or the premises of another.

http://ecode360.com/13708681


The City does prohibit hitching your horse to a "Tree or Plant":

Hitching of animals. No person in a park shall tie or hitch a horse or other animal to any tree or plant.

http://ecode360.com/13704101#13704101


or any animal to a "Tree or Plant":

No person shall permit any animal owned by him or under his or her control to damage or destroy any tree or shrub on public property, nor shall any person fasten any animal to any tree or shrub.

http://ecode360.com/13704297#13704297


The City does PROHIBIT non domestic caines and felines:

No person or residence shall be permitted to own, harbor or maintain a nondomestic canine, a nondomestic feline or hybrid within the City limits. This section shall not affect any animal owned by a person living within the City limits prior to the effective date of this section. This section shall not apply to any educational, institutional, zoological garden or circus.

http://ecode360.com/13708542


http://pittsburghpa.gov/animalcontrol/owners.htm

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Response to happyslug (Reply #14)

Fri Nov 14, 2014, 11:40 AM

16. Good points all.

Sad to say, when the guy on the corner lot opened an illegal vehicle repair shop on his premises and the neighbors showed up to protest at a town council meeting, we were told essentially that what he did on his own property was HIS affair and not ours. So naturally I popped off. "Fine! I guess that means I can run all the livestock I want on MY place too!" The town's attorney stood up and shouted "NO, THAT'S ILLEGAL!" Around here legality depends on family ties and bribes.

The town's attorney hates me anyway, for a variety of poor reasons. For instance, the local regional OATS bus driver (now deceased) tried to stop me from writing reports to authorities describing his dangerous behavior - he hired her to write a desist letter to me. I emailed her that my actions were protected under whistle blower status, and she emailed me back that if I wished to respond to her, it would have to be through my own attorney. I responded with a rather blistering email in return explaining that I didn't need ANYONE's permission to address her or anyone else on the planet, and that if she really wanted a piece of the fight between her client and me, she'd better count the cost first.

She never addressed me on behalf of her client after that, but you can bet she'll take a swipe anytime she gets a chance.

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Response to IrishAyes (Reply #16)

Fri Nov 14, 2014, 04:00 PM

17. That is why you should ask her for a letter stating WHY and ask her to please site the ordinance.

 

Look if your Municipality has posted its ordinances on line. Many have.

Now, all Municipalities MUST have their ordinances available to the public. Many are kept in whatever passes for their City Hall. Many are kept in the County Courthouse. The Key is you have to be ABLE to read them to know what you can and can not do. If the ordinances are NOT available, then they are invalid.

Please remember "Available" means it is available to the public during normal business hours. Pre-Internet it was often hard to find them, but they have to be some place. Thus keeping them in a back room of City Hall, that is only open 9 am till noon and 1:00 pm till 4:00 pm may be sufficient. Worse it may be OK, if only an handful of people know where it is, and those people are NOT the people working in City Hall.

Thus your best bet is to write a nice letter to the Solicitor asking if she can mail you a copy of the law that forbid you from having livestock and the law in regard to garages.

I would also walk down to City Hall and ask if they have a copy of the City Ordinances.

Please, if your municipality has a library, many such libraries contain those City Ordinances, thus to to the library and ask. I have found such libraries a wealth if data when it comes to city ordinances.

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Response to IrishAyes (Reply #16)


Response to happyslug (Reply #18)

Fri Nov 14, 2014, 10:56 PM

19. Remove this post immediately or I shall have it done for you.

Regardless of where I actually am or am not, you're beyond thoughtless to attempt to publish a person's general location in this very dangerous day and age. How'd you like it if I tracked down your street address and phone # and published it?

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Response to IrishAyes (Reply #19)

Fri Nov 14, 2014, 11:26 PM

20. I has been removed, but the data I stated was from public records only

 

It took me about five minutes to determined what I had stated. You will be surprised what can be found about people with just one or two keys facts known. That is all I did, I spotted certain keys words and from those words made the observations I did. Nothing more or less, but as I said I have removed the comments and observations.

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Response to happyslug (Reply #20)

Fri Nov 14, 2014, 11:51 PM

21. I'm well aware of the relative ease of locating people.

But I've been stalked before, and my basic position is that potential stalkers should have to do their own damned research, not have it handed to them on a silver platter. Some just might be too lazy to make the independent effort. You exhibited extremely poor judgement, and as you express no apology whatsoever - rather a tepid excuse! - I have no reason to imagine you've learned a damned thing from your severe misstep. Social awareness ZERO!!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, I most certainly am THINKING every scathing thing humanly possible about your entire 'performance'. Was that a misguided effort to help or just plain showing off?

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Response to IrishAyes (Reply #21)

Sat Nov 15, 2014, 12:03 AM

22. No, I just did some quick research and it caught my attention

 

And I wrote down what I had found. That is all. I had looked up Pittsburgh law and then looked up what the law that affected you and typed it out. That is all.

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Response to happyslug (Reply #22)

Sat Nov 15, 2014, 01:01 AM

23. NO, YOU ACTED LIKE A LOWLIFE JERK!

And I want you to know I said so before I block you in about 30 seconds from now. The more slimey excuses you manufacture, the worse you sound. And not just to me either. You had to advertise your boorishness all over the internet - at least on this website.

So bug off.

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Response to IrishAyes (Original post)

Wed Nov 12, 2014, 04:45 PM

9. When I lived in UK I just closed the front gate, opened the back gate, and let the sheep come in

and eat the grass/poop on the lawn. They always did a great job--the grass was always trimmed and the poops fertilzed the lawn. Do you have any neighbors with sheep who are willing to let them snack on your lawn?

I never owned a lawnmower over there--didn't need one!

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Response to MADem (Reply #9)

Thu Nov 13, 2014, 10:36 PM

11. This is a tiny rural town, but they no longer allow livestock at all.

That said, when I did have land in CA and AZ, I'd turn the horses loose to graze on the lawn. But I'm a townie now. Can't even have rabbits more than a couple as pets. And that wouldn't do with the dogs. But I appreciate hearing from you. Guess I'll have to buckle down and keep paying the lawn guy. Although I keep wondering if I could conquer my aversion to debt maybe enough to buy a lawn bug and pay the credit card what I was paying the lawn man. After a year or so I'd be ahead. It might come to that. They're just sooooo expensive!

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Response to IrishAyes (Reply #11)

Thu Nov 13, 2014, 10:41 PM

12. Could you plant a bunch of pine trees, and mulch under them until they get established?

That would take out a big chunk of the "lawn" and you wouldn't have to mow that bit.

Get it down small enough, and you can mow the lawn with a weed whacker! Do ten minutes a day! You have it done in three or four days! If you don't want to deal with fuel, get a couple of long extension cords and buy an electric one!

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Response to MADem (Reply #12)

Thu Nov 13, 2014, 11:00 PM

13. I just might. Pine trees grow awfully slow though, don't they?

I know if the needles get packed down tight enough, they don't present a fire hazard.

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Response to IrishAyes (Reply #13)

Fri Nov 14, 2014, 01:41 AM

15. The first few years they do--then they shoot up! I bought some four footers a few years back,

they're eight feet tall now!

Once that tap root gets established it's off to the races!

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Response to IrishAyes (Original post)

Mon Dec 1, 2014, 12:36 PM

26. Just buy a used riding mower on Craigslist

Trying to jury rig something as dangerous as a lawn mower is not something I'd suggest, particularly to someone who is not mechanical. You don't want to be playing McGyver with spinning blades.

You could find a used mower for less than $500, and it would be much safer and far more reliable than anything you could build.

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Response to tinrobot (Reply #26)

Tue Dec 2, 2014, 12:58 AM

27. Good advice. But many folks don't know how far out in the boonies I retired. There IS NO

Craig's list readership out here. Maybe in the small city 65 miles away, but it's all too inconvenient. There's a heavy price to pay for the relatively quiet life, and that's one of them.

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Response to tinrobot (Reply #26)

Thu Dec 11, 2014, 08:30 AM

28. That was my initial thought as well...

..... you can probably find a used unit for a few hundred dollars. It might need the occassional coaxing or minor repair, but overall probably the best solution.

Any kind of rube goldberg you could come up with would probably cost more and be more troublesome also.

I have a Husqvarna rider that I bought used at the local ranch store for $850. I've put over 200 hours of hard use on it, I've had to have one spindle replaced and have gone through a few blades (my fault, hit stuff). The thing starts and runs like a champ and with 2 acres to keep mowed I'm damn glad I bought it

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