Mowing the lawn acoustically

I housesat for a friend for about a month this summer, and he had a grassy lawn and a push mower. (Grassy lawns are out of style in Portland, where the trend is to kill the grass and replace it with native, mostly edible, landscape, but my friend hasn’t quite got there yet. He does have a nice garden with a lot of berries, though!)
Friend advised me that I could borrow a power mower from neighbor if I didn’t feel like using the push mower. I vacillated…push mower is quieter, healthier for me and for the earth, simpler to use…but power mower gets it done quick and without so much effort. And as I vacillated days went by and grass grew longer, and the prospect of doing it by push mower seemed more daunting. Then it hit me: do it a little at a time! Mow for 20 minutes a day, a small patch. If it takes 10 days to get through the whole lawn, that’s fine. Start over at the beginning on the 11th day.
Sure enough, that system worked great. I got 20 minutes of exercise every day without totally exhausting myself trying to do the whole lawn. I didn’t use fossil fuels or annoy the neighbors with noise. And the grass got cut — acoustically!
Yes, when you play an acoustic instrument, you use your own muscle power, usually through hands, feet or breath, to make something vibrate — a piece of wood, metal or skin, usually. And it is such a powerful thing to do. You might think the opposite, that real power involves plugging your guitar into a big amp and playing really loud. Trouble is, then you’re just flipping a switch. Playing electric music is like catching a football in a video game. Playing acoustic music is catching a real football.
Mew York-based jazz musician Taylor Ho Bynum is on an “Acoustic Bicycle Tour” of the West Coast, playing concerts from Vancouver to Tijuana, solo or with local ensembles, traveling by bicycle (he flew to Vancouver to start, and will fly back to New York at the end, but the West Coast tour is by bicycle). I caught his show in Portland last night,with the Portland Creative Music Guild, and it was wonderful — the music and the tour concept. Bynum plays acoustic music, and he is traveling acoustically. “I see the entire trip as a kind of composition,” he says. He also noted that this way he gets to actually see the cities he plays in, and the spaces between them, instead of just seeing airports and hotel rooms.
So, whether you play music, mow lawns, grind coffee (the hand mills are fun and easy to use and leave the coffee oils undisturbed and more flavorful) or whatever, try doing it acoustically, of your own power. You will get exercise, conserve fossil fuels, reduce global warming, and have a better experience.

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2 Comments on "Mowing the lawn acoustically"

  1. Anonymous
    06/01/2015 at 1:03 pm Permalink

    It is rather unplugged. My rock trio had an in studio radio appearance on KPIG last Sunday. Music that I’m accustomed to Les Paulverizing, masticating with a wah wah, then dropping it down the digital delay well. Unplugged on the radio I’ve noticed, seems to mean everybody can use their main instrument. Except for the guitarist. He has to play straight up acoustic. Either they have more faith in us than other instrumentalists or the system is rigged against us. Except for the girls. That’s not rigged. But it was expansive being forced to well, actually play guitar on our hard rock material. I’ve tried implementing more of a unplugged lifestyle but the Mrs draws the line at the acoustic garage door opener or acoustic laundry.

    I have a Nat’l Style 014. Don’t be surprised to see me at a beer and blues sometime. Memphis Minnie’s Levee Breaks is a lot more involved than Zeppelin’s take.

  2. chezztone
    03/10/2015 at 8:51 pm Permalink

    I now have an acoustic blender! Hand-pull model. Love it.

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