It’s getting on toward that time of the year when things begin to sprout and when we face the sometimes-daunting task of keeping ahead of our 28.82 acres, more-or less.

As I recently reported, I became hell-bent on fixing two Poulan PP126 Weedeaters that have failed over the years.

Looking back, I think there two main reasons why I didn’t get to them earlier.  The first was my discovery that between Amazon and eBay the parts to get them running again were chicken-feed compared to the cost of new units.  I mean like $129 new versus $16 on eBay for a new carb, plug, and fresh fuel filter kit.  You can’t beat that with a stick.

The other reason I shied from working on them *(other than not previously owning assorted small Torx bits since the T-25 bit seems to be everywhere on these machines):  They failed in July or August when it was simply too hot to spend any real time in the shop.  Between a sprinkler on the roof, coats of white elastomeric roof coating and the dehumidifier, those problems have been watered down, painted over, and partly dried out.

Now?  Remember my Fix-It shop report a week or two back?

Behold the Beast!

(On my suspiciously clean workbench, no less!)

I would have snagged a couple of “before” and “afters” but since young boys (if 70 is young, lol) are not especially patient, we can just skip to the aftermath of two minutes of testing:

See that pile of brush on the ground?  Zing!!!  Done beautifully.

Why, if I could give the Poulan Pro PP4000C Brush Cutter Trimmer Attachment a six-stars rating (they top at five), I would.  Especially when shotgun-wedded to a (pardon the long link here) $20 Renegade Blade 1 Blade 8″-44t (Green) Viper/Hybrid – Brush & Brambles Specialty Carbide Brush Cutter Weed Eater Blades, 203mm Diameter: which is like walking through brush with a Skil saw running.

15-stars between ’em, but if you have land, and if you have brush, and if you have a weedeater you can recover and get rolling, this is one hell of a fine answer to problems you never knew you had.

Elaine’s Approach to Yards:  Smarter

While my approach to any manual labor seems to involve either Amazon or Harbor Fright,, Elaine has evolved a more “environmentally sensible” approach.

This winter, she noticed that a lot of birds are roosting in the ficus bushes in front of our 180 (degree) room, which is our cold-weather afternoon toddy outpost.

It occurred to her that a) birds eat year-round.  And she feeds them over the winter so could they b) be tricked into doing some edging for us?

Behold!  She Who is Wise has amazed me again!

This is a fine example of how people’s minds work differently.  Elaine will look at a tree stump in the front yard (where a big tree was taken out) and decide it would make an excellent place to feed the birds.  And then along came the squirrels and, well, wildlife have kept all the weedeating away from this tree stump:

So now, she’s working out which areas to trim and is slowly leading the birds along to their new scratching grounds.

By the way, that one plant, unscathed by the animals, is a delicious wild onion species locally called ramps.  Bird and deer leave them alone.  Smell like onions when cut and years back I tried some in a soup and?  Just like onions.  Green ones, but a bit more delicately flavored.

I keep looking at her feeding stump and want to turn it into a “man solution.”  This would involve cutting it down will the always ready big chainsaw, and then tossing a purpose-built “stump-brning pipe” on top of it.  Half a bag of charcoal and come back in a day or two and the stump will be gone.

She won’t hear of it.

Fire Gardening

Got one more project to go this spring – and that’s working up the plan for “fire gardening.”  I like the idea of taking one of those weed burners you hang on a propane bottle and blast the living daylights out of weeds and unwanted plants between rows.

I was all set to weld-up the (save the good plants) shield I was going to tack weld onto the weed-burner nozzle.

But then I get a recall notice from Harbor Freight that the propane trigger might stick in the on position so bring back the new one.  Since we don’t live near enough an HF store, that will mean going through the phone-gauntlet to customer service and who knows how that all will work out.

But two really useful ways to get an upper hand on yardage this year:  Either cut down everything that offends you with the runaway saw-crazed noise-maker.

Or, like Elaine, just be a little more generous and judicious with food placement and do more with less.

But where the fun – and massive tool budget – in that?

Write when it looks like a golf course…

george@ure.net

Power in the Greater Depression (Ch. 8)
Personal Income, Shopkeeper's Paradox