November is the time of year that we all try to clean up our yards. For many people, that means bagging or raking leaves out to the curb. I prefer to mulch them and distribute the fine fragments of leaves onto woodland gardens in my back yard where they get turned back into soil with a fresh layer in spring.
That means I keep the mower running through the middle of November when the last giant leaves from the sycamore tree next door finally give up and fall to the ground. They are always the last to go. I love that tree for the shade it brings in summer, preserving part of my lawn in green posterity through the dry August heat (and sun) that turns the rest of the lawn brown.
There’s a trick to mowing leaves through November. The gas can I use holds two gallons. My goal is always to guess how much gas I’ll need to finish the season and not have a bunch left over to sit all winter in the cold. That’s when gas goes bad even if you put that preservative in it that is supposed to keep it from being ruined by time.
A couple springs ago I tried starting the engine in April with bad gas and it resulted in a repair bill. The mower engine had to be cleaned out completely, and new plugs installed. I trust my mower repair guy because I once helped him get a date with a woman he’d met at a bar. I told her what a nice guy he was and they went out on a date. That date didn’t turn out well, because he apparently he tried to pull her starter cord at little too early and that never really works. But he remains grateful for my help.
This year during my mower tune-up he clearlly told me to use mid-grade gasoline, and from what station to buy it. Yes, I should probably invest in an electric mower someday. The exhaust the mower emits and gas usage are not exactly a green solution to a sustainable lawn. But it’s a Honda mower and will probably keep working through the Holy Apocalypse, so I’m not going to trade it in.
However the lessons about bad gas have gotten me thinking about what kind of fuel I’m putting into my running, riding and swimming tank. It’s a serious business you know. Nutrition is the principal sustainability factor in racing and training.
I know one thing: Whole milk is off the menu for me. Talk about bad gas! I accidentally bought whole mile about three years ago and for three days thought my gut would explode. I had gas so bad it was almost necessary to leave work.
Coca-Cola is not good fuel for my tank either. For one thing, it runs a bit high on carbs and that makes me fat. So screw that. My exception to the Coca-Cola rule is when used with a bit of whisky or run. Then they’re high-grade fuel. And oh yeah, drinking a Coke on a long, hard bike ride in the heat is acceptable too. Fuel for the brain and body.
There’s no set formula for the fuel we put in our respective bodies, but it does pay to recognize bad gas when you see it. The side effects aren’t that great either. Bad gas equals bad news in mixed company, or otherwise.
pffffbbblllllt. That wasn’t me. I swear it.