It was a redundant day in the neighbourhood when Mortimer Snert arrived at his house after an excruciating day at the job he loved oh so much. It had been a long day and Mort was ready to kill something. Leaping out of his truck, he looked around for a target. The first thing he saw was the neighbour's dog, which was performing a task on the front yard. He thought better of that, since the neighbour was watching from their front porch. The neighbour would be a good choice, although Mort had decided long ago that this particular person was really not worth spending the rest of his life in jail for killing them. So he was left with no other choice than his front yard. He had tried for several years now to grow a decent front yard. In fact, he had a semi respectable yard when he first moved in, and it lasted up until the incident with the flaming lawnmower meltdown. After that, Mort had sworn off landscaping and resorted to growing weeds. And quite a healthy crop he grew. In fact, his weeds were so prolific that he received a letter from the city, saying cut your weeds or we will. So this started the growing the new grass episode again. As we previously mentioned, Mort had tried on several occasions to grow grass recently, and not just any old grass, he decided if he was going to go to all the trouble of fixing the stupid yard, he was going to do it right, and grow fescue. The first attempt ended rather abruptly when the neighbour cut their grass shortly after he had rototilled, and spewed crabgrass and clover seeds all over his yard. The next time, Mort killed all the weeds, made sure they were dead, and then planted the new grass. The next day it rained. For two weeks straight. When it finally stopped, the new grass started sprouting. It quickly became apparent that the stuff that was growing and the stuff he had planted were two completely different things. Mort was bent. Carefully uprooting one of the plants, he took it to the store where he had purchased the grass seeds. The lady who waited on him was oh so helpful. That's watergrass, she told him. What could be done? Well, you sure couldn't spray it with weed killer, because that would kill off all the fescue. About the only thing that could be done would be to pull it out by hand. Returning to his yard, Mort started pulling it out. It didn't take too long for him to figure out the whole damned yard was nothing but watergrass. He called the lady back. It should die off when it gets hot, she said. Some consolation. So he spent a few hours every day after work ripping out watergrass and nursing along what little fescue actually survived. His yard looked like it had mange. And then, without warning, summer hit. It went from being in the 70's to being over 100 every day. The lady was right, the watergrass died right off. As did the fescue. No amount of watering helped it out. So the yard turned brown and crispy. The only advantage was that it was too hot for even weeds to grow. As summer wore on, the front yard began to shrink. It was the strangest thing Mort had seen in a long time. The ground retracted from the curb by at least an inch, and the same amount along the driveway. Huge crevasses appeared in the center of the yard. He was amazed. This went on for 3 months. Finally the heat broke and fall occurred. The weather cooled off enough for the weeds to start growing again. It was about this same time that our story began. He had done research on front yards and such likes during the summer, and had found that the best time to plant fescue was indeed, right now. So leaping in the truck, Mort headed to the local garden store. Snagging a shopping cart, he headed down the weed spray row. Finding the correct stuff, he loaded up 5 gallons of Kill Everything In Sight Weed Spray. And an industrial weed sprayer thingy. Returning home, he wasted no time in spraying the front yard. With all 5 gallons. When he finished, the yard looked like it had been rained on for 3 days. The label on the stuff said Mort should see results within 24 hours. It was getting dark now, so he expected to see the weeds get a little wilty the next day when he got home. The next day when he went out to go to work, the yard looked like it had been incinerated. There was not a speck of green anywhere in the yard. In fact, there was not a weed left standing. The yard looked worse than it had all summer. So Mort went to work. He decided that he would let the yard sit for a while to see if any new weeds would come up. They didn’t. So one fine saturday, he decided that it was time to rototill again. The last time he had done this, he had borrowed the tiller from his dad. This had not been a pleasant experience. First, the thing was about as old as Mort, who certainly was no youngster any more, second, it had no rings, and used more oil than it did gas, and third, the tilling thing was on the front. He had practically killed himself with the thing, and had decided at that point that if he ever did this again, he was going to rent a tiller with the thing on the back. So heading to the rental store, Mort prepared himself for what was ahead. The store had the exact tiller he wanted, a Troy Bilt, which was supposed to be the best. The man helped him load it in the back of the truck and Mort headed home with it. He was driving carefully to keep the tiller from sloshing around in the back of the truck. He was almost home when he turned a corner, and heard a loud crash, followed immediately by breaking glass. He looked in the mirror just in time to see the tiller, which had gone galloping around in the back, smash out the back window of the camper. Mort was not too happy. Reflexively, he jammed on the brakes, only to have the thing make a huge dent in the front of the bed. Mort was now bent. He managed to make it home with no more damage. Opening the back of the truck, and sweeping out all the glass shards, he unloaded the tiller, which weighed a ton. He checked the oil and gave it a drink of petrol, and pulled the string. Nothing happened. He set the choke and pulled again. Nothing. Over the next hour, Mort pulled the string until he got blisters. His arm was in danger of falling off, and still the thing showed no signs of starting. Now Mort usually had a decent amount of patience, but all of a sudden it all went away. He was furious. First the thing had smashed up his truck, now it was rubbing it in by refusing to start. He was not going to deal with this kind of crap. Grabbing it by the handle, he slung it into the back of the truck. Slamming the back door, he made his way back to the rental store. He was certainly none too pleasant with the man at the rental store. The man was apologetic to Mort, and unloaded the thing. Once he got it on the ground, he made a statement about it being odd that it didn't start, it always had, and pulled the string. Instantly the engine spring to life. Mort was livid. The man offered to help him load it back up. Mort made mention of subfreezing temperature in hell, the man understood. Maybe later, Mort said, after he calmed down for oh say a month or so. A week passed and Mort's yard was still crispy. So on saturday, he headed back to the rental store. The man that was there last time saw Mort pull in and hid. So Mort got the same tiller again, and the man that was there this time started the thing for him just to show him it really did work. So he got home, unloaded the thing and pulled the string. This time it started right off. Positioning the thing, he engaged the tines, then put it in gear. Now he had never run a tiller with the thing in back, and his first impulse was to hold onto it. That was a mistake. As soon as he tried to hold it back, the tines dug into the yard, the front wheels reared up and it went off across the yard at a rapid rate, dragging a very surprised Mort. Now being a rental device, it was also not in the best of condition, and the transmission would not disengage with him dragging along behind. Back and forth across the yard they went, the tiller with a big grin on its mechanical face, and Mort, thrashing behind it for all he was worth, trying to get it to stop. Finally it hopped the curb, and lost enough traction that he got it stopped. By now, half the neighbourhood was outside to see what was happening, and there was Mort, in the middle of the street, swearing at a rototiller. One of the neighbours made a comment about Mort doing That Yard Thang again, and for the most part, the crowd dispursed. Hossing the thing back into the yard, Mort tried it again. With much the same results. This time, however, when it reared up, he turned it loose in disgust, expecting it to stop eventually. To his surprise, as soon as he let loose of the thing, it settled right down and set about churning its way across the yard, tilling like it was supposed to. Mort was beside himself. Getting up behind the thing, he grabbed it, only to have it rear up again. This was certainly strange, he thought. It behaves exactly like you would not expect it to. Then he remembered the first time he had tried to run a floor machine. He had seen these other guys do it, and for the most part, they ran them with one hand. When Mort tried it, the thing dug in, flung him across the room, and smashed a huge hole in the wall. This tiller was exhibiting the same tendencies. Then he remembered the troy bilt ads that were on tv years ago, how the troy bilt man could run his tiller with one hand. Mort always thought that was a bunch of crap, but he decided to try it out, the way he was doing it now obviously wasn't going to work. So positioning it for a third time, he took a deep breath, engaged the transmission, and guided it with one hand. He was shocked. The thing was behaving perfectly. At the end of the row, he nudged it lightly, and it turned and went back the other direction. Mort was pleased. Now one must remember that the yard he was tilling was the same one that had shrunk over the summer, and so tilling it was a bit like tilling up a parking lot. The tiller had its moments, to be sure, but Mort discovered that if he just let it do whatever it wanted to, and if he just pointed it in the right direction, everything would be just fine. he ended up going over the yard 4 times, to get it like he wanted it. Finally it was perfect. He took the thing back to the store. Returning home, he fertilized the new yard. Waiting for a couple of days for the fertilizer to sink in, Mort went shopping for some new grass seeds. He found a place that had new improved seeds, and bought a huge bag of them. Returning home, he planted the grass, watered it, and crossed his fingers. Now Mort had bought enough seeds to plant the yard at least twice, since he fully expected some kind of disaster. However, he was pleasantly surprised. The new grass took right off, with no weeds or anything. It was now becoming late fall, and all the grass in the neighbourhood was getting that toasted winter look. Morts was just as green as ever. In fact, the colder it got, the better the grass seemed to like it. Then it got real cold. Even the weeds croaked off. But Morts grass kept right on growing. Mort was happy.