During the last few weeks of December and early January the only noise you'd hear on the weekends in my neighborhood was the sound of disgruntled Saints fans. Here lately there has been the sound of Mardi Gras music and parties around the fire pit.

With a couple of weeks of springlike temperatures that old familiar hum is back. The sound of lawn mowers and weed whackers doing their damage to the mostly brown landscape around me.

My yard hasn't really grown that much since the final cut in early December. By my lawn I mean the grass in my lawn hasn't grown that much. The weeds that seem to be able to survive any freezing temperature have returned in full force and since my neighbor decided to cut his yard, my wife decided that I have to cut mine.

Getting the lawn mower to crank for the first cut of spring is always a challenge. There are some things you can do to make that first crank and cut a positive experience. It is also a great way to make sure your mower is ready for the real mowing season.

One of the first things you can do is to remove the spark plug from your mower and check to see if it is cleaned. Even if it's not really dirty a quick little scrub over the contacts will only make your  mower run better. It's always a great idea to clean the under carriage of your mower deck too. The grass and dirt of long mowing season just becomes dead weight and can clog up the works when the real cutting starts.

Other maintenance that really needs to be done is the changing of the oil. You also need to change the mowers air filter too. It's also a good idea to examine the cutting blade. Often times the blades can become bent, cracked or broken over the course of the mowing season. If you know what you're doing it's a good idea to sharpen that blade as well.

The final check should be for any lose nuts, bolts or fittings on the mower and the control panel. There is nothing worse than seeing your pull rope handle fall off the machine and into the cutting path. Yes, I have done that.

So, here's to happy mowing. We had our two month break and now it's time to get back to the weekly grind of sweating and cussing or yelling at your kid to get that yard mowed.

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