Karen Baxter and her late husband, Brent, had always been city folks. But they were longing for a more relaxing change of pace, not to mention a nice place to raise their five children. So they bought a home in the countryside of Hillsboro, Oregon, roughly 30 years ago. Along with that new home came a big, beautiful yard and an even bigger pasture.
“We weren’t ready for what was required to take care of that much acreage,” Karen recalls. Fortunately, the person they bought the property from left his old riding lawnmower behind. That did the trick for a little while.
“Before long we needed a new mower because I was spending so much time mowing, and the one we were left with was wearing out,” Karen says, adding that she even had to make do with a push mower when that rider finally broke down. “My husband did some research and learned about the Walker. We bought our first one about 25 years ago.”
Karen says the cut quality was immediately obvious. She also liked how comfortable it was to ride on, which is why her husband set the mower up with a 20-gallon tow-behind sprayer to treat the pasture area for weeds.
“My first Walker sure was a handy dandy,” Karen says. “I used it all the time because it was so easy and such a time saver. That machine had more than 1,000 hours on it.” As a matter of fact, one of Karen’s children, son Jeff, says the machine actually had more like 5,000 hours on it. Then a couple of years ago, Karen noticed it wasn’t cutting quite as evenly as she’d grown accustomed to. “It was time for a new mower, and there was nothing I liked better than my Walker because it was so maneuverable,” Karen says.
New Mower, Same Genes
These days, Karen mows her pasture with a different manufacturer’s mid-mount zero-turn mower. “That does just fine at going back and forth and just blowing thick grass out the side,” Karen points out. But for her main lawn area, Karen uses her new Walker Model C with the GHS, the mower that is patterned after the original Walker Mower she first developed an appreciation for 25 years ago.
“There is nothing like the Walker for maneuvering around all of my trees and flower beds, and for actually manicuring the lawn,” says Karen, who opted for a 48-inch deck and electronic fuel-injected (EFI) engine. She also uses the hitch provided on the Model C so she could tow her sprayer around, as well as a utility cart she uses when cleaning up debris, pruning shrubs, and harvesting produce from her vegetable garden and fruit trees.
“I have always loved working in the yard,” Karen says. “ I guess it’s just part of my gene makeup. We used to have cows and horses, too. Now I have a half-dozen or so chickens.”
Karen also has a “weed-blocking wall” she constructs out of the grass clippings her Walker Mower vacuums up. She dumps the clippings around the perimeter of her lawn to help prevent weeds from migrating over from the pasture.
“I do a lot of spraying out in the pasture, too, because whatever weeds you let grow there might end up in the lawn,” Karen adds. Between the spraying and weed-blocking wall, Karen’s lawn is looking pretty good, aside from one little nuisance.
“The worst problem here is that I’m virtually surrounded by grass seed, at least on two sides of me,” Karen explains. “Those property owners are growing some kind of fescue grass, which I don’t like. I have mainly ryegrass. The seed comes into my lawn because of the heavy rains we get. And when they’re harvesting with the combines and everything is blowing into the air, that can be a problem, too. So when you look at my lawn, it looks OK. But if you get out in it and look really closely, you can see some of that fescue coming up. I just do my best to ignore it because there is just no fighting it.”
Fanatical Lawn Care
Karen isn’t one to ignore much when it comes to lawn care. She admits being a bit of a fanatic when it comes to the finer details. And when you’re a lawn care perfectionist, outsourcing the work can be a tough pill to swallow.
Karen spends a lot of time working in her yard. Her daughter once grew concerned that she was working too hard and convinced Karen to hire a landscaper. That didn’t go so well.
“I remember watching these guys out my window,” Karen relates. “I couldn’t believe it. They were using push mowers and it took them about four hours. It didn’t look good, either. Plus, it was going to cost me a pretty penny for them to spend so much time here. I told them as politely as I could, ‘Thank you for your efforts, but I’m just going to do this myself.’”
Karen could see where her daughter was coming from. There is always a lot of work to be done, especially in the spring and fall. There are always weeds and leaves to deal with, and always plenty of grass to mow.
“I especially like mowing because I can sit down,” Karen says. “All the rest of the work in the yard is stand-up, hard work. To mow the lawn is my dessert after having to eat the broccoli for dinner. Then I can sit back and say to myself, ‘Boy, that looks nice. I’m glad I got that done.’”
And more importantly, the work got done to Karen’s high standards.