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Home Repair and Maintenance


I broke down and bought a Craftsman 2-Cycle Tiller. They were on sale for $199.99, down from $249.99. They have been on sale all week for that price in their circular. But I saw a Sears commercial saying they were going to be having a big sale on garden tools, and stuff today (Saturday) only, all the stuff 20% off. I didn’t know if they were going to be an additional 20% off or what. So I went there this morning, and it was still only 20% off. I got the last one in stock. I didn’t pick it up right away. I had a class downtown, and didn’t want to leave it in my car. After class, I stopped back at Sears and pick up the tiller. The box was much bigger than I tought it would be. But it did manage to fit into my car. I brought it home and left it in the garage. My wife and I went on a bike ride. But when I got home, I unpacked the tiller. I already had some 40:1 fuel/oil mixed up, so I filled up the tiller. I followed the startin instructions and got it started. I let it warm up for half a minute like it said in the instructions.
I pulled some tomato cages out of the garden that had been laying there. I then tilled the whole thing. The tiller was pretty noisy, it sounded like a chainsaw. It didn’t dig real deep going forward. But when I pulled it backwards, it dug in pretty good. I tilled all the weeds and leaves into the soil. I had dumped a bunch of compost onto the garden last fall, and I turned that into the soil. The dirt was nice and dark. I think it will be good growing dirt! The tiller realy threw the dirt around, throwing some of it out of the raised bed garden.
I am going to let the garden sit for a few days. We are still getting some cold weather. But I will take the mini-tiller out and go over the garden again.
I want to plant some tomatos, and maybe some lettuce. I will see what else. Since it’s a raised bed garden, I can really load it up!

Yesterday my wife called to tell me that the Giant Sequoia seedlings I ordered last year from the Arbor Foundation came in the mail. Cool! It has been 10 or 11 months since I ordered them. I apparently ordered them too late for the spring season shipping. I was told they would be delivered in the fall, but then fall came and I was told they wouldn’t ship them in the fall, and would ship them in the spring.
Anyway, I got home changed, grabbed my Troy Bilt trimmer out of the the garage and set about removing the line trimmer, and attaching the brush cutting blade. I actually had to pull out the manual to remind me how to do this. I went out, it started easily, but would stall everytime I reved it up. I decided maybe it was low on gas. Or the gas old a little old in it. My small one gallon can of pre-mixed gas was empty. So I poured in a small bottle of 2-cycle oil, and filled the can up with gas. I shook the can to mix it, and then filled the Troy Bilt. It still stalled when I pulled the trigger. But after I let it run for a little bit, and start lightly on the trigger, I got it to keep running.
I cut down a bunch of sticker bushes, small trees, and vines. I was planning where to plant the three giant sequioas. Then I got my wife out of the house to figure out where to plant them. We came up with a few spots.
We opened the box. I thought I had ordered 3 Giant Sequoia trees, and they were throwing in a couple free American Red Bud trees with my order. When we opened the box, the invoice only showed 2 Giant Sequoias and the 2 American Red Bud. Maybe I was thinking 3 because I had already planted a single Giant Sequoia last year.
So now we only had to come up with two spots for the giant sequioas, and two spots for the american red buds.
We figured out the spots for the trees. I dug the first hole, and found a couple large roots. They were a couple inches in diamater. No problem! The maples or oaks or whatever these roots belong to, probably wont miss them. I cut em with my chainsaw.
I started to dig the second hole. The soil seemed different then elsewehere. I am not sure exactly where our sepctic tank is, but I decided it might be in this spot. So I covered on this hole. I went to a spot not too far away, and start digging. Nice black rich soil here. I dug the hole, and went elsewhere for a bit. When I cam back, there was water in the bottom of the hole. Hmm…probably from all the recently melted snow. Well, the tree will get lots of nice soil, and water here!
I used a post hole digger to dig the holes for the red buds.
I had my wife come out again, and hold the trees in place while I filled the holes with dirt. She watered them a little bit (except for the one where the hole was filling with water..we thought that one would do okay). I don’t thing she watered them near enough, so I came out this morning and watered them much more heavily. I know she is planning to water them again a couple times today also.

Last year I ordered a giant sequoia tree seedling, and planted it out in my yard. Okay, my yard is 1.6 acres of more trees (mostly deciduous). The tree seemed to do quite well. I ordered several more. I thought that they would come shortly afterward, but I was told they would come in October. Then I was informed they could ship them in October due to weather. That they would be come early this year. Well my wife called to tell me the seedings came in the mail.
Okay! I got lots of work to do tonight! I am going to pull out my Troy Bilt trimmer, maybe mount the bush cutter blade on there, and go out and clear some of the small scrub trees. There are a bunch of small maples growing in one area. I will hack them down, and plant one of the Giant Sequoia. I am not sure where I will plant the other two yet. There is another area where I had planned on planted one of them, but it will require even more clearing. Iwll get the chainsaw out, and hack some more stuff down. That would be two. I have another place where I might be able to plant the third one, out by the road. This will be fun! I always wanted to have REALLY big trees!

I have been looking at mini tillers. I would love to have a Mantis, but I don’t want to pay $300 for one. I have been trying to find a deal on eBay, or Craigslist, but nothing has come along. I have just a small garden, and my wife has a small garden. If we had a mini-tiller we might do more. Who knows? Anyway, I lost out on a Ryobi tiller at an auction a couple weeks ago. It went for $90, and I wish I had gone just a little higher. I have been looking at various attachments for my Troy Bilt trimmer. I can buy a TBGC garden cultivator attachment for $90 new at Lowes. But the motor is at the top, which works great for string trimming, but seems like it might be awkward for tiller. A Mantis has the engine right over the tiller. I have also seena 2-cycler Craftsman tiller at Sears for $200. I has the motor built in, and is a fixed purpose tiller. It’s on sale this week down from $250. But they are having some sort of garden tool sale this Saturday. At least thats what they said on TV. Whether the tiller will have a better price on Saturday, I don’t know. I wont be using the thing more than a couple times a year in a limited way. But it might be nice to have the regualr tiller than the tiller add on. Not sure if the Craftsman has more horsepower than my Troy Bilt trimmer. My Troy Bilt TB90 has a 31cc engine. The Craftsman only say 2-cycle, but I am guessing it has a similar sized engine. It also has variable speed with a centrifical clutch.
I guess I have a couple days to decide.

My bucket mouse trap works! I built it Monday night, loaded it with raw bacon, placed it in an area with mouse activity, but there was nothing in the trap Tuesday morning. I kept checking the trap, but there was never anything in the bucket. Tuesday night or Wednesday morning, I smeared peanut butter on the can. The whole utility room smelled like peanut butter. And I have had good luck with peanut better in regular mouse traps. But I didn’t catch anything. I started thinking the bucket trap was a bust, and I would have to set some regular traps, or buy some poison. But this morning I check the bucket, and found two drowned mice! The bucket trap works! And I have read that the more mice that your catch, they leave a trail up the board taht other mice will follow, and the trap becomes more and more effective!
I am going to draw up plans for the trap tonight and post them. I will also takes some pictures of my bucket mouse trap.

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