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Wednesday, 28 April 2010

Mowing the Lawn

After we recorded the house tour videos yesterday we went shopping for a garden items at Lowe's, because we had a 10% discount coupon, and needed garden items.

One of the great features of shopping with Beth is that we seldom disagree on what to buy. We have an item in mind, keep looking, and eventually see something that we agree on, or one of us doesn't care strongly enough to disagree on. At Lowe's we bought a BBQ Grill, a Gazebo, a fire-pit, and a push-mower.

Taking them in turn, we've looked at grills several times, and were still torn between using bottled gas, or linking the grill up to our natural gas supply. We decided on bottled gas, as that way we can tell how much we are using, and estimate how much the luxury of a BBQ costs us. We can also move the grill to different loactions, independant of the mains supply. We chose a small 30" wide grill, because most times it'll be just the two of us, and even this one will cook six to ten burgers at once if required.

For the Gazebo we wanted closing covers all round, and so far we've only seen ones with one side fully enclosed. As soon as we saw one at Lowe's with full side covers we decided to get it. It covers 10' x 12', enough to fit a full six seat patio set.

A fire-pit, for the benefit of my UK readers, is a big bucket for an outdoor fire, often with a grate over the top to contain sparks and help radiate the heat, purely for the pleasure of a real fire outdoor and the ability to toast marshmallows. Some houses have a fire-pit built into the patio but ours doesn't, so we've been looking for something simple and effective. Lowe's had exactly what we wanted for $100, so the decision was easy. We may only use the pit a couple of times a year, so we didn't want to go mad.

Finally the mower, my new pride and joy. We have two smallish lawns, too small for a sit-on tractor mower, but that still left a bewildering variety of mowers to choose between. First there's electric or petrol engine, and if you go with electric, mains or battery. Then there's cutting width, push or self-pulling, big or small wheels, red, black or green, and any number of other options. We settled on the cheapest petrol mower in the shop, a shiny red 21" Troy-Bilt petrol-powered push mower armed with powered by a 190cc Briggs & Stratton 675 chokeless engine, rated at 6.75 ft-lbs of gross torque.

We came home from Lowe's with a full car, but half of everything we needed. A mower and spare fuel cans but no fuel, a fire-pit but no logs to burn, propane tanks for the BBQ but no grill. However the next morning a delivery truck rolled up before 9am with our grill and gazebo, and then I popped out to fetch logs, and gas for the mower. By 10:30am I was back, just in time for a visit from our house agent whom we had invited to pop by to see how we were settling in.

An hour later I gassed and oiled the mower, tugged the ripcord, and gave the lawns their first trim of the year. I'd previously dug out various weeds, and after a trim the garden immediately looked better. There are a few small bare patches which I sprinkled with lawnseed, and hopefully in a week or two they will start to sprout and fill in the gaps.

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