Friday, June 22, 2007

Working on the Edge

My new Neuton cordless electric lawn mower with the edger/trimmer attachment came on Tuesday.

Wednesday I put it together and mowed the lawn. Yesterday, I read the instructions (yes, really!) and found out how the edger/trimmer works. But with the thunderstorm we had yesterday, I had to wait till today to try it out.

Started with the backyard path, which was pretty overgrown. What kind of a line I could get?

Better than with the string trimmer I once borrowed from a neighbor.

Even so, in some places, oops!

Then, around to the front.

Uncovered the brick edging I'd forgot I had along the walkway to the front door.

Then I tackled the public sidewalk. Can't say how this mower-attached edger compares overall to your typical hand-held string trimmer on that job. That one time time with my neighbor's machine, I got so annoyed at not being able to keep the line on the back walkway even, I gave up and did the front sidewalk with my dad's old yard knife, by hand.

Wish I could say my new edger cut through all the overhanging turf in one pass, but nothing doing. I suppose it's no surprise-- the string only extends out 3" or 4" at the most, and in some places the turf, including grass, was 6" thick.

So my dad's old yard knife (a cut-off and sharpened stainless steel dinner knife) batted cleanup again.

Then there was the everlasting issue of having the string break and having to undo the spool housing and find the end and poke it through the little hole then put it all back together again . . . Yeah, par for the course for string trimmers, but don't you think they'd figure out some way that wouldn't be necessary all the time?

Eight hours, several new calluses, a bodyful of sore muscles, and a sunburn later, I was finally sweeping up the last of the mess.

And I look at this job and I think, "Eight hours? For what?"

For a job that's Just Supposed to Be Done, that's what. It's not exciting or sexy like pulling the carpet off the stairs and finding good hardwood underneath or laying tile with perfect grout joints. Edging the sidewalk is like emptying the dishwasher or doing the laundry. You get no kudos or credit if you do it; in fact, you're a lazy slob if you don't. There's even a local borough ordinance requiring homeowners to keep the grass and so on off the public footpath. Don't wait for applause, just Get It Done, and about damn time, too.

And before you know it, it'll be time to do it again.

I've got some Dutch ancestry in the usual American mix, and something in me still admires the industrious huisvrouw of old who was out scrubbing her doorstep at 7:00 o'clock every morning. I still sometimes wish I could be that on top of everyday housekeeping and yard care chores. But it ain't gonna happen.

So big boring routine jobs like edging the sidewalk wait for some momentous event, like company coming or the purchase of a new power tool or God forbid, a citation from the local authority. I fear my Dutch great-great-great-great-grandmother would be sadly disappointed in me.

Though if she could see me using the new shop vac to sweep the dust off the sidewalk, I think she'd commend my ingenuity. So efficient. And very effective.


Aimee "Roo" said...

That's neat that you have a Newton mower. We looked into getting one, but were worried that the lawn is too big for the charge. I guess if it can last 8 hours there is nothing to worry about!

The before and afters look great!

St. Blogwen said...

Keep in mind, though, that for the majority of that time the thing was shut off while I was refeeding the string, wielding the yard knife, etc.! (Oh, yeah, and don't forget sweeping up, too.)

Still, the battery charge does seem to last pretty well. You can see on this post about how big my yard is, and judge yours accordingly.

I called Neuton yesterday, and they suggested soaking the nylon string, reel and all, in water before using it. Makes it more pliable, less susceptible to breakage. I'll try that before I tackle the flower bed borders.

Thanks for the encouragement.

Kate H., aka St. Blogwen :-)

Joe said...

I feel your pain! Just tonight I thought I would tackle the same job. I broke out my new edger that I got for Father's Day - the purpose-built kind with 4 wheels and a big metal blade - and proceeded to go to work. I expected the whole thing to take an hour. No such luck! I spent an hour just doing both sides of the sidewalk . And it looks like crap! I guess that's what I get for waiting a year!

I'm hoping that once I get it under control it will be easy to keep nice. Let's hope so...