I used to laugh at my grandson every time I was ready to start up my Massey-Harris 44 tractor. Graham, a 10-year-old with super sensitive hearing, would tell me to wait. Then he would race across the pole barn and grab the combination mesh face protector with hardcore earmuffs that I bought to use while running the Stihl weed trimmer.
Graham was after the hearing protection. He claims the loud grumble of older tractors, especially the Massey 44, hurts his ears. So, there he is, following me around the barn lot at a safe distance as I drive the old girl, wearing his face mask and ear protectors. Admittedly, the FFA boys at Delphi FFA did talk me into a chrome pipe instead of a muffler when they restored the Massey. But it just sounds like power to me.
Well, these days Graham gets to laugh at Grandpa. When I mow the yard on my garden tractor, especially if I’m going to mow around trees and bushes, I put on the same mesh-screen face mask and ear protectors. I probably look as dumb to him as he does to me when wears it.
Why do I wear the face protector? Because when I didn’t and mowed a neighbor’s yard with umpteen trees and bushes, it looked like I had been in a fight when I got home. Trying to get as close as possible so I wouldn’t have to use the weed trimmer, branches would knock my throttle back. That wasn’t so bad. It’s when they slapped me in the face that it hurt.
First, it was a cut on the lip, Then, it was what looked like a rug burn on the cheek that lasted nearly two weeks. Ouch — that one hurt! So, the next time, I grabbed the face protector. That kept limbs off my face. It didn’t do much good when I forgot how low a tree limb was and cracked my head on it trying to mow under the tree.
It also didn’t help when I drove into a flurry of branches and one poked right above the rim of the face protector, leaving a mark just above my eye. At least it wasn’t in my eye. That’s when I threatened to go to the helmet and ear protectors, with full plastic face shield, we bought for our son when he uses the chainsaw. Somehow, I couldn’t quite stand the thought of what someone would think driving by if they saw me wearing a construction hat and full face shield to mow the yard.
Maybe not mowing quite as close and using the weed trimmer a little more often is the best answer. But then Graham wouldn’t have anything to laugh about!