The old red riding mower at Illahee Preserve.
The Land Trust would very much like to wish a happy retirement to our old red riding mower. After many years of maintaining the property at Illahee Preserve for the community’s enjoyment, the mower is more rusty than trusty, so we’re currently seeking the donation of a replacement riding mower.
“I think it was probably engineered by Henry Ford,” says Rick Clendaniel, who’s volunteered his time to mow the Illahee Preserve property spring through fall for the last few years. “It’s 20 years old at least, and for a mower, that’s a long time.”
Riding mowers typically need maintenance every season — sharpening blades, tightening belts, and so on — but of late, Old Red spends more time in a mechanic’s garage than it does on the land at Illahee, doing its job.
“It’s always something,” says Rick. “Temperamental, flat tires, dead batteries, electrical gremlins. Quits on me halfway through the job. You get on this thing, pray, and hope it’ll run for the next two hours.”
The mower, which the Land Trust bought used when we opened Illahee Preserve, is 14 horsepower. That’s appropriate for a city lot, but for a property like Illahee, where the ground is rough and uneven and the grass grows tall, Rick has to be careful to drive very slowly so that the cantankerous mower doesn’t snap a belt. He says that a minimum 18-20 horsepower machine would be a better fit for the property — as would a mower that does not break down regularly.
One thing’s for sure: Old Red’s career is coming to a close, and its replacement is urgently needed.
Do you know any riding mowers that might enjoy a peaceful life at beautiful Illahee Preserve? If so, please contact us by emailing info[at]saveland.org