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Everywhere I go I find a pal

Everywhere I go  I find a pal Everywhere I go  I find a pal

Peter Weinschenk, Editor, The Record-Review


I need to ask you a favor.

I want you to buy a Husqvarna 430XH robot lawn mower and tell me whether it works.

If you give a thumbs up, I’ll start saving for the purchase.

Over the weekend, I performed routine fall maintenance on my decade-plus old Dixon commercial walk behind ZTR lawn mower. I changed the oil, replaced the spark plug, changed the oil filter (that wasn’t easy), took off the blades for sharpening and chiseled off all of the stuck-on grass underneath the mower. That’s when I noticed rust holes in the large, metal deck.

The holes won’t stop me from using the machine to cut lawn next year, but they did start me thinking about the machine’s eventual replacement.

That thinking got me wondering about battery-powered, robot lawn mowers.

I wouldn’t think twice about being the first guy in Edgar to have such a machine. But I would feel queasy being the first person in Marathon County. That sounds greater than my risk tolerance.

I wouldn’t so much mind being the village idiot who bought a useless lawn robot. But being the county knucklehead in chief is more daunting.

That’s where you come in. You need to be the first person to buy the 430X. You can have all of the glory. I’ll be content to be second in line.

I am definitely feeling the robot mower draw me into its orbit.

The concept is intoxicating, really. Could there be anything more dreamy than a robot lawn mower? Saving three hours a week during summer? Think of sipping a beverage, feet up and watching the gizmo run around the yard snipping grass. Think of extra trout fishing. It sounds delightful.

I just wonder whether the darn thing will work.

My lawn has some steep inclines, plenty of trees and other obstacles and the occasional divot. I saw a five-year old video where an early version robot lawn mower got caught in a sinkhole and, pathetically, was unable to free itself. That did not look good.

I expect today’s lawn robot can handle all of these trouble spots, but, then again, I’m not sure.

I am justified in being skeptical here. The Weinschenk family was an early trial household for a robot interior vacuum cleaner. That was ridiculous. The machine gathered very little dirt and the set-up was a major hassle. The robot got stuck, especially under the couch. It was a bummer. We were hoping for a Star Wars droid. We got something like a dustpan on wheels. The machine quickly got stuffed inside a closet.

One day, you won’t be able to hear gaspowered lawnmowers on still summer evenings, only the dull buzz of electricpowered lawn-bots cutting the tips of grass with razor sharp, whirling discs.

That’s the future. I am ready to go there. I just need you to go there first.