Back when I was using a weed-whacker with a blade attachment to hack my way through the briar jungles around our property, a couple of readers predicted that I’d end up buying a bush-whackin’ mower someday.

Yup.  The jungles are getting away from us again, plus Chareva wants to reclaim quite a bit of the overgrown field behind the house for chickens, fruit trees and gardens.  Rather than continue paying people to come out and bush-hog, we decided it was time to bite the bullet and buy something that will let us stay ahead of the growth.  So here it is:

Nothing like writing a post about a tick whose bite can cause a meat allergy, then heading out into the deep weeds the next day, eh?  As you can see, I tucked my jeans into my boots, as a reader advised.  I also sprayed my boots, pants, arms and shirt with Deep Woods Off.

Anyway, this particular model is called a Predator.  Pretty powerful little machine for the money.  The reviews were almost uniformly positive, although several people complained that the cables running from the engine to the handles hang loose, which means they can get snagged and yanked out.  So on the advice of the same reviewers, we wrapped plastic tubing around the cables and secured them to the side handlebars with zip-ties.

My only other minor complaint is the speed.  Even in fourth gear, it’s a slow walking pace.  I’d like to move a little faster, but I guess the slower speed is necessary to give the blades time to tear up all that brush.  According to the both the manual and the reviewers online, this thing will suck in and tear up saplings up to an inch-and-a-half thick.

Yes, it would have been nice to just mow down all that briar, even at a slow walking speed.

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33 Responses to “The Farm Report: Mega-Mower”
  1. Obadyah says:

    Looks like a lot of fun. Back in the day when I had a lawnmowing business I wanted one of these.

    If you had some cheesy promotional music and an a-typical narrator the video above could have been an infomercial!

    • Tom Naughton says:

      I’ll never make it as business tycoon. Here I am, mentioning a brush cutter I like, and I didn’t even check with the company to see if they’d cut me a deal.

  2. Jana says:

    Looks like you guys need some full time goat for your property.

    • Tom Naughton says:

      The goats we had weren’t interested in chewing down near the ground, only the higher stuff. A buddy of mine who lives in this area told me there’s a service that will put both sheep and goats on your land for awhile to clear the overgrowth.

  3. LeonRover says:

    Hey Tom,

    When growing up on an Irish farm, one of of my summer jobs was scything thistles.

    Sloooow and work.

    I can see that MegaMower is giving you a good workout, but Boy, are you really clearing those acres1

    Faaaast and work.

    I like your Farm Reports.

    Success & health in the enterprise.

    Sláinte

  4. Tanny O'Haley says:

    Get more goats. :)

  5. js290 says:

    No neighbors to lease goats from?

  6. Bruce says:

    My wife’s cousin has goats. The trick to get them to eat plants on your property, is to plant something you like and want to keep around. They may not take it to the ground, but they will keep eating it until the plant gives up.

  7. Stephen B says:

    I’d want something I could ride on.

  8. Kathy in Texas says:

    Makes you long for winter when everything stops growing!
    Get with the manufacturer and offer them the video (for a price) as a promo! All they can say is “no thanks”.
    Next year we are probably moving onto ~5 acres. I may be getting back to you for the info on that bad boy!

  9. tony says:

    Tom, you do a lot of work on your farm.

    You probably look forward to Mondays so you can go to your regular job and “rest.”

    • Tom Naughton says:

      Normally, yes. But I work at home two days per week (we share cubicles at the company office) and sometimes take a farm-work break from the software work instead of taking a lunch hour. Other times I take a disc-golf break. I like getting up and doing something physical, since the job means sitting in front of a computer.

      Today I took that new bush-whacker out to the briar jungle and leveled it.

  10. NM says:

    Apropos of nothing, you might be amused to hear that Gary Taubes quoted you in a speech he gave yesterday at the Seth Roberts Memorial Lectures. I think an approving-quote from Taubes is clearly worth a good lawnmower or two ;-)

  11. Drew says:

    Do you have before-and-after pictures of what you cleared?

  12. Erica says:

    Is it just me or is that video the one of Sara showing her goats?

  13. Wayne Gage says:

    Duct tape around the tuck of pants and boots will keep the ticks out. I use that when deep woods deer hunting.

  14. Wayne Gage says:

    Also if the sticky side of the tape is on the outside you will catch some bugs on the tape.

  15. Alan says:

    Tom,

    It sounds like the engine is running at a low RPM, possibly even at idle. I think it should be revving much higher. You can hear one run at full RPM here: http://vimeo.com/11300326

    Is the throttle open all the way and/or is the lever to control the throttle allowing it to open all the way?

    • Tom Naughton says:

      We’ve been wondering that ourselves. It’s doing the job, but it seems kind of quiet and the walking speed even in fourth gear is slower than what I’ve seen people doing online. I’m not sure how to check the throttle.

    • Tom Naughton says:

      Good call, Alan. I hadn’t checked the throttle — didn’t even know where it was until you mentioned it and I went looking — and while it wasn’t in idle, it wasn’t all the way open either. Suddenly fourth gear is plenty fast and the blades are even more ferocious about chewing up whatever they hit.

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