Tuesday, January 10, 2006

Small pleasures...

I'm a homeowner with a large lot (1 acre of citrus trees). There's always something to do around the yard. And I've never seen the sense of breaking out a saw when you've got a lot of sawing to do--that's why God let us invent chainsaws. So anyway, over the years, I've collected a fair number of powered yard tools. I've got a riding lawnmower, self-propelled mower (as "back-up" to the rider), gas line-trimmer, gas blower, gas power-washer, gas chipper/shredder, gas roto-tiller, and two gas chainsaws.

However, the problem with accumulating all these tools is that keeping them running becomes a job in itself. They certainly lessen the time I'd have to spend on the chores, but the time required to keep them maintained makes me wonder if I'm getting ahead by having these things.

Well, it didn't take too long in collecting all this stuff before the wise homeowner begins to understand--There are two kinds of power tools: Those you use regularly and those you don't. Since I figured this out some while ago, and I found that "cheap" power tools are more difficult to maintain than expensive ones, I've been buying the best tool I can afford for those that I use regularly (primarily the riding lawnmower, line-trimmer, and blower) and cheaper models for those that I use infrequently.

So, last weekend, I had trimmed 4 trees rather aggressively, and was left with a fairly large pile of brush to get rid of. On my first day of trimming, I filled up my green recycling barrel with trimmings (which was due to be on the curb the following morning), but was left with much more trimmings than could be fit in another barrel.

So, says I: "Time to break out the chipper/shredder."

And imagine my pleasure when on the first pull, the thing starts up and runs like a champ. Filled up a barrel with chippings (which equates to about a 7:1 volume of trimmings), and the only thing I had to worry about was keeping enough (but not too much) gas in the thing to keep it running.

However, balance was restored a couple of days later when my riding mower was displaying a horrible clicking sound as I tried to start it up (probably a weak battery), and I ended up pulling and pulling on the rope to the backup mower before I could finally get it started.

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