Saturday, November 13, 2010

Suck those Leaves!

Once again it's time to rake those nasty leaves. With me, raking leaves has to come in a close second to shoveling snow. Actually any kind of manual labor is not high on my list. You know how I roll - I like to sit back with a big tumbler of JD, some pork rinds, and a good Mary Higgins Clark novel.

But sometimes you do have to get outside and do shit.

So a couple weeks ago my son and I agreed to find something on TV we could both watch. So channel after channel, description after description led us to a infomercial entitled 'Never Rake Again'. Ok, I would like to never rake again. Carter agreed that we should never have to rake again. So here was this nifty device called the WORX Tri-Vac that would not only pick up the leaves but mulch them in to tiny microscopic pieces and also blow them into the neighbors yard. 10 bags of leaves could actually turn into one? I could actually have the fun of vacuuming my entire lawn in a matter of 30 hours?

Remember last year I had come up with the device - 'the leaf diaper' - well, I did not sell too many of these devices. When people found out it was basically a giant piece of plastic and a giant rubber band they demanded their money back (see photo below).

As Carter and I watched the inf0merical we became more and more intrigued. Sue even came in at one point and said, "You never have to rake again?". And then before we knew it Paul DiMeo showed up to promote the product. He was picking up styrofoam cups, cheesecurls, small animals, and even leaves! I figured if Paul DiMeo was saying it was a good product, well it had to be a good product.

I had never ordered from an infomercial before. So after about 20 minutes of the operator trying to sell me other crap I was home free and the WORX Tri-Vac was on it's way. The operator tried to talk me into expedited shipping but I told her the usual 3 months delivery time was fine with me. And then don't you know that it arrived in about 5 days? She must of liked the tone of my voice and cut me a break on the shipping.

So today I used it for the first time. Since all my leaves are in the back of my yard I had to go out and buy another extension cord. So it took about 125 feet of extension cord. Paul DiMeo also lied to me because I do have to rake again! You can't just wander around a 1/2 an acre with this portable shop-vac. I had to actually rake the leaves into piles. Oh I'm sure if you have one tree and you're too lazy to put in 10 minutes of raking then this would be true to the commercial.

The device basically sucks up the leaves and then they go through a blade that mulches them. One advantage for me is that it was great not having to make about 12 - 15 trips to the road. I only had to make 3. And we are talking a large garbage container on wheels (not sure of the gallonage).

The good thing is it came with a 4-year warranty. I see this thing breaking down at some point but probably will only use it a couple times a year.

Here's a photo of me at work. See how easy it is to pick up leaves. You can work in the yard and still have a smoke. Just don't smoke the leaves - they are nasty tasting.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

A Fine Day to Dig

Once again it's time to start thinking about the garden. Last year I did a small expansion to the garden and planted Hot Banana Peppers, Basil & Oregano in the new section. The problem was I didn't expand the fence with the same fencing and some pesty rabbits got inside the garden.

I was just thinking today that my first garden was in 1994. Sue and I lived in a small bungalow in Harmony, NJ. This was our first place that wasn't an apartment. The house was small, quaint and reminiscent of a trailer home (only square). We were told it was a converted 'chicken shack' but I believe the chicken shack was converted (to a closet off of the kitchen) and the rest of the house was built around it.

You may have heard this story before (forgive me; I'm old). The garden that year was one of the best I could remember. I had about 8 plumb tomato plants and it probably yielded 20 tomatoes each before the summer was over. During that summer we took a trip to Disney World. When we left the tomatoes weren't yet ripe but once we got back (after a week) I had 90 ripe plum tomatoes!

So this would be my 17th year of gardening! Over the years I've come to realize that I can't grow green peppers. Of course it probably took me 15 years to realize this. Either I get 1 or 2 from each plant or an animal eats the plant before they can even grow. 2 summers ago I decided to put up a heavy (er) duty fence than the one I had up (which couldn't really keep a turtle out of). This was after a rabbit (or rabbits) ate all my peppers plants. Or it could of been the groundhog we had that year. I didn't see this horrendous action so I'm not sure what the creature was.

This year I have plans to grow a lot of Jalepenos, tons of Tomatoes, and some Basil & Oregano. I have ideas to create my own salsa. Now I just have to find a canning course.

Digging is not my favorite part of the planting process. This year my ipod made things go a little smoother. Some Dave Matthews, U2 and BB King made things right.

Growing your own garden these days has a good payoff (if you have the yardage). Who doesn't want to be able to pick their own vegetables or herbs right out of their own back yard? And with tomatoes at $3.99 a pound it pays to grow your own. I paid .90 cents for one Jalapeno a couple weeks ago.

If only I had a greenhouse I would grow all year long. But that's where the canning would come in.

So, I'm about halfway done. I had to stop today because of the heat (it's currently 85 degrees). I probably won't finish til' next weekend.

Happy Growing!