After yesterday’s weed-pulling-bonanza I decided to tackle the second massive job: mowing. I’ve been keeping the front of the house trim but the back of the house has gotten out of control. There’s just something so unappealing about mowing what I know is all weed. Ug. Anyhow… it took hours but I got all of it mowed and bagged. Total between the front and back I produced another 7 bags. Won’t our trash collectors be happy when they pull up to my house and find enough trash for a small apartment building. Ug.

After mowing and getting cleaned up I headed to Home Depot and purchased touchup paint (we’re finally getting our windows painted!) and yard-staples for the weed barried I laid down yesterday. Right now I’ve just got bags of trash sitting on top of it. When that is taken I’ll need something to prevent it from blowing away. Turns out that a box of 75 costs considerably less than I would have spent on the packs of staples so I went for it and will just leave them in the garage until my next weed barrier project.


Before leaving for the weekend I brought the basil in and watered it. I pinched off a few flowers that were growing on it. I hope it does well while we’re away. I also hope it rains or at least isn’t too hot so our grass is still green when we return. Not sure when I’ll get around to it but our grass looks like it needs to be cut. Bad timing I guess. Ug. It’ll have to wait. Finally, I went to the hardware store to take back the sprinkler and replace it with something like what I Had before. I’ll try it out when we return.


I went to the hardware store and picked up a new sprinkler. It’s one of those pulse sprinklers that make that ticking sound like you see on golf courses. The entire unit is metal which is annoying because it looks too valuable to leave out but which should stand up to vandalism (though if I don’t leave it out, when will it have to stand up to anything?). I put it out and adjusted the spray and found that I could hit the entire front yard without moving it. It wasn’t easy to adjust but I eventually got it adjusted. I checked on it after 20 minutes and there were still spots that looked like they were barely hit with water so I let it run for an additional 20 and checked it again and then an additional 10 and then gave up. I’m thinking I’m going to take it back and replace it with the sort I had before. I may give it one more try.

I also noticed that the basil needs more water. I’m thinking with the heat and dryness, once a week is insufficient. I’ll start watering more regularly and not leave it out in the sun as much as the websites suggested and see how it does.


The grass was looking a bit shabby so I decided to get out there for some mowing. I only mowed the front lawn but I also got the new string trimmer out and tried to use that. I followed the directions in the book to the letter and even used the oil that came with it to mix into the gas as instructed. First, it was very difficult to get it started. When it finally turned over I had to quickly jump to revving the engine to keep it running. Then it turned itself off after 20 minutes and wouldn’t restart.

I called the tech support number listed in the side of the unit. After waiting on hold for nearly 30 minutes total, the Ryobi technician answered. The first question out of his mouth was, what type of oil did you mix into the gas. I told him it was the oil that came with the unit. He asked me to describe it. I told him it was a black bottle with green writing and the letter G on it. He told me, without hearing more about my experience that he bet the unit stopped working after 20 minutes or so. I confirmed and he said it was because the G stands for garbage and the unit was ruined and needed replacement. I asked him for further detail and he explained that the G-Oil wasn’t viscus enough to keep the engine lubed at temp so the engine seized and the chamber was scared. (As a side note, the bottle says the G stands for Green. If by Green they mean they are using a grown-oil rather than a synthetic or a drilled, it should have greater viscosity than others due to the double bond between molecules in its octanes but who knows what Ryobi means when Ryobi says something is Green.)

I took the unit back to Home Depot as I was instructed to do by the Ryobi technician and before I even explained what was wrong they were offering to refund my money. I then explained what was wrong and they told me they hadn’t heard anything about it but that they’d exchange the unit if that’s what I’d prefer (which is what I wanted). Perhaps I’m putting too much faith in that technician (he did tell me some strange things about how I could get away with using up the remaining gas with the bad oil by adding good oil to it–a process which I have no intention of trying) but I figure I can give Ryobi one last chance. If if fails again with “good” oil I’ll trade it in for a different brand.

I should say, what little trimming I did do, it looked nice. It will be nice when I have the working trimmer to complete the job. I will have to get used to it, however, as it will take down anything in its path.

Stakes, basil, and soil

I decided to take a trip to Paulino’s to pick up some supplies. Dana had been there once last year but I had never been there. It’s an unobtrusive building in the middle of a mostly industrial area north of Denver. I walked around the store for nearly an hour before I returned to the front of the store and grabbed a basket. There were a few staff members wandering around the store but they were mostly talking to each other and during my hour they never approached me to ask if there was anything I needed. I came to the store needing long garden stakes (5 or 6 feet). I decided to also pick up three basil plants and some potting soil. I brought my items to the checkout, paid, and left without much in the way of communication with their staff. The supplies there were nice and seemed inexpensive and plentiful but the staff there wasn’t particularly engaging.

I returned home and staked up the roses which are starting to lose their pedals. Strangely the roses in the back of the house, which I’ve been completely ignoring apart from a trimming early in the season, are flourishing. After staking the roses in the front I went inside and transferred the basil plants to a beautiful silver three pot planter Dana bought me for my birthday last year. I added some miracle-gro potting soil and after filling in the empty space with soil, added water. I need to figure out where the plants should sit. For now they’re just on the counter in the kitchen but will need to be someplace with better light. Not sure what I’m going to do about that yet. I’ll have to work that out.

Ground cover

Dana come home midday and went plant shopping with Annie, our neighbor from across the street, at Paulino Gardens, Inc. They came home with a variety of fun looking plants and planted them in the circle around the silver maple in the front of the house. They look dwarfed by the tree but they should grow to fill the area and even drape over the edging stones. Dana also picked up paving stones and more ground cover stones at Home Depot to edge the north edge of the front yard and began laying those out.

Thunder Storm

Mother nature took care of our  evening watering so no need to run the sprinkler. To get out of the wet, Dana and I went to Home Depot, bought a shop vac, some supplies to spruce up the electrical in the former-basement-storage-room soon-to-be work-out-room and carpet and padding. We brought it all home and emptied the remainder of the stuff from the room. We cleaned the room with the new vac, laid down the padding, cut it to fit, and brought the carpet into the room. Photos on the Our-Yard page(even though this isn’t yard work per se). We’ll unroll, cut and stretch the carpet tomorrow night.

Home Depot run

After a quick lunch break, I went to Walgreens, Sam’s Club and the Sam’s gas station. I was going to meet Dana at Home Depot but she wasn’t quite ready to roll. I headed home and picked up Dana. She wanted to go to Home Depot to look at stones, outdoor and indoor carpeting, and planters. We ended up picking up 8 bags of small river stones, 8 stepping stones, and an outdoor carpet for the back porch. We headed home and got it all unloaded.