It’s now officially spring, which unofficially means I have to get cracking or the yard will swallow the house inside of a month.

I had a load of things I wanted to do this weekend, not in the least mow down the foot-high weeds springing up in our yard. Why scientists can’t engineer a strain of weed to look like grass, I don’t know. But weeds will spring up to knee-high in just about a week while our grass is still dormant and brown. Oh well.

I had to put off mowing on Sunday, since the tail-end of the storm that had produced tornados elsewhere in the county was still loitering and keeping the grass wet. I figured it was the perfect time to dig into the nice, soft earth and pull out a few feisty bushes that thumbed their nose at me after I had “killed” them last year. That, and finally dig out that stump in the middle of the backyard that had been staring at me since we moved in. To my surprise, I actually succeeded in getting the stump out, but not before giving my back a good tweaking. I had to kind of crawl-drag the stump over to the woodpile in the back in the end, but that’s what it took to be triumphant.

So I slept with one of those nifty hot wraps, and I woke up feeling no worse when I went to bed, which meant that as long as I stood perfectly upright (or what feels like perfectly upright, but looks more like a half-straightened paperclip) and swung my right leg around instead of lifting it up like a normal person, I could move around quite handily. (This is what comes of not staying in any kind of shape.)

But the day was beautiful, the yard was a wheatfield in the making, and I couldn’t count on having a chance to mow next weekend. So I pulled out the lawnmower, gritted my teeth, and gave the starter a yank. Puh, puh, puh. Yank. Puh, puh, puh.

Okay. I primed the engine again and yanked. Puh, puh, puh. I thought maybe it just took a lot of tries after being stored for the winter. (Yank; puh, puh, puh)*(~25). That’s when I came upstairs and my good friend the internet told me something that probably everyone else knows, but having never winterized a gas-engine before, I didn’t. You have to drain the gas out of an engine the last time you use it in the fall, or the gas goes bad and can gum up the carburetor, which is really expensive to fix. Oh.

Since my back was already whining about all of the yanking and jostling, I thought about calling it an expensive $200 lesson and getting another lawnmower, but I can’t throw money around like that, and beside, I’m trying to work on that whole “giving up too easily” fault. So I did a little more digging around, and someone suggested emptying the gas tank, priming the lines as clear as you could, letting it dry out, and trying a new tank of gas. So I did that. For good measure, I got high-octane gas and one of those cleaner additives that’s supposed to help clean out carburetors and fuelinjectors. I tightened the gas cap back up, and gave it a yank. Puh, pabrrrrrrrrrr! Huzzah!

So, half an hour later, swinging around the yard like Lurch and watching for the false steps from the dips and holes we have, I have officially begun the season of yardwork. Yay!