I usually fix PCs. They are cute and cuddly and parts are cheap and durable. My hands clean easily with soap and water if I pick up some dust. Not so with oily machinery.
My wife and I bought an unfinished house on a small acreage. The plan last year was to landscape the yard but it rained for all but two weeks. It was all we could do to control the weeds on mud. This year, I was home for a conference and made an impression on the weeds but did not have time to finish the job. When school got out, the weeds were in seed already. No time for poison. I needed a mower ASAP.
A decent John Deere mower can be had for almost any job. A low-end riding mower was advertised for $1300 but was sold out. We found a used 111H (this model was first made in 1981…) for a lot less and it ran like a charm when the owner showed it off. According to this site, ours was made in 1983.
Just like buggy software some problems arose. First the battery was weak. To start the thing I needed a booster close at hand. A grease nipple was plugged… arggghhh. I had made only a few laps of the yard when a belt broke. Then I discovered that a spring used to tighten the primary drive belt was missing. A bit of shopping in two places got me the parts and equipment I needed about an hour before a thunderstorm arrived. I was in a rush to head for the garage to get out of the rain and took a short-cut through a low spot. I made it but the mower was stuck axle-deep in mud. The next day, I lifted the drive wheels and my wife shovelled gravel under. With a big push from a neighbour we backed up onto higher ground. After that, the beast hummed. It was not designed to whack 2 foot high weeds but it did the job. I got a bit of a workout just hanging on to her rocking over our rough ground.
Now, at least, I can see the ground and do the work to fill the low spots and trip the high spots. That should keep me busy for a couple of weeks. The plan is to plant seed in the summer and water it frequently. If we get the normal August rains, we should be fine by the fall when I return to teach one more year. By next season we should have a reasonable lawn and garden started for my retirement.
I cannot say enough about John Deere equipment. Even though I am unfamiliar with it and have no manual, it was easy to fix problems the previous owner ignored and my local dealer had the parts. I was fearful of the price of parts but they were very reasonable. The machine starts and runs very well. The engine has been replaced so the machine will likely run as long as I do and we paid only a couple of times what the old walk-behind mower cost us. My Father had one that lasted about 20 years when it was sold still as good as new. It is amazing to think that some in IT replace PCs with few moving parts every three years just to prop up the monopoly… This mower which is full of moving parts will likely serve well another 20 years and is likely 26 years old already. It cost me less than my current PC.