Picture Snob

December 6, 2010

Snow throwers are so very helpful in the north


As much as I dislike the noise of a gas powered machines(unless I happen to be using them in which case I understand the need), a snow thrower is a great boon to those in Massachusetts and above. My son-in-law uses his as soon as the snow flies and avoids the problems with getting the car out of the driveway and clears the sidewalk for the kids. The whole family goes out to simaltaneously play and work to make getting to school and work possible.

Removing the snow also avoids the problem of the snow melting some during the day and then freezing again at night, or a freezing rain coming and making walking a real hazard. So I have come to accept the usefulness of the gas engine. So if you live where snow is a problem, you might consider this gift as a holiday surprise for whoever takes care of the shoveling. It's a four cycle engine that runs on gas and involves not gas/oil mix. The handle collapses for easy storage and the chute is clog resistant.

At Murray 1695537 21-Inch 190cc 4-Cycle OHV Briggs & Stratton Snow Series Gas Powered Single Stage Snow Thrower

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November 1, 2010

Putting the Rototiller away marks the end of a season


There's always a finality about taking the rototiller out of the garden and walking it down to the garage where it can safely stay until next spring. The days have been so lovely, the moon is almost full, the second planting of ground cover has sprouted and I have more grapes than ever before. There is a sense of completion about this end of the year activity and it's good to take time to rest and enjoy what's been accomplished and consider what still needs to be done.

One of the things that needs to be done is to change the oil in the rototiller before storing it away and to clean the tines and oil moving parts so that it's ready to go in the spring. It's so much better to do the work in the fall than have to try to start it in the spring with old oil and let it run to warm it up and then do the work while the garden soil is calling to be worked and the seeds are asking for a moist rich home. I also either drain the gas tank or add a fuel stablilzer to the gas so that it doesn't get stale and form a varnish like material that clogs the carburetor. The fuel stabilizer has saved me a lot of headaches with the power mower, weed trimmer, and rototiller. It's cheap and totally worth it.

At Briggs & Stratton Fresh Start Fuel Stabilizer Plus 4.2 Oz 5041H

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July 21, 2010

Fiskars Softouch Garden Tool Set makes weeding a pleasure


One of my favorite times in the garden is in the evening. It's so peaceful and relaxing. I wear long sleeves and pants to keep off the mosquitos and sit down by a vegetable row and start pulling the weeds. These tools are a godsend. The are light aluminum and have a soft padded handle that's easy to hold. I work my way down the row, scooting along. Obviously this is not for clean new pants, but some of the old comfort lightweight cotton, frayed and damaged and unruinable.

If I'm very ambitious and the plants need it, I put a trowel full of compost or fertilizer around the root and dig it in. I have to say, it's a great feeling to finish a row. Maybe the Evening Grosbeak is singing and the air is soft and cool. I stand up and look at the row with pleasure. All right, so I know that in a few days, the next cycle of weeds will start and in a couple of weeks I'll have it all to do over--that is, unless I put a heavy mulch around the plants. But it's hard to beat for beauty, a nicely weeded cultivated row of lettuce or beans. Maybe it's all those micro organisms in the soil that are supposed to make you happy. Maybe it's a job that's well done. It makes me feel great!

Everyone knows Fiskars makes great tools and these are no exception and there is a lifetime warranty so how can you go wrong.

At Fiskars 7067 3-Piece Softouch Garden Tool Set

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June 28, 2010

Mr. BBQ 18-Piece Tool set is a perfect gift

Here's a good idea for Father's day. He already has a grill and this nice set of tools completes the pictures.

  • Be prepared in all grilling instances with this loaded, 18-piece tool set from Mr. BBQ
  • Includes a 4-in-1 spatula, knife, fork, tongs, basting brush, 8 corn holders, and 4 skewers
  • Whip it out to host family and friends at home, or pack it all up in the included aluminum carrying case to take on the road
  • Durably made, the set comes backed by a 5-year warranty

It comes with a carrying case if he wants to take it on the road! Have tools; will BBQ!

At Mr. BBQ 18-Piece Tool set with Case

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June 24, 2010

Stihl trimmer works long and hard and lasts and lasts


I had my trimmer about 10 years and am so grateful for it. I have to admit it is sometimes hard to start. The choke is necessary and many pulls are needed before it powers up in the spring. But once it's going, it is easier to start the next time and it makes short work of the weeding around the garden fence where I try to keep the grass down so that weed seeds will not blow into the garden. I like to keep the area around the faucets cut down and now that I have another building on the place, I keep a path trimmed for easy walking.

I once bought a steel cutting plate, but I confess I've never used it. I got scared of the trimmer bouncing back on my shins, but the string and the plastic blades seem to do all the work that I need done. It is possible to be careful around plants so as not to scar the bark of young growing trees and the trimmer tips nicely at an angle so I can take edges down to dirt. I can get the stone path to the house totally free of grass.

This spring I started it up and after much pulling realized I needed a new spark plug. That's after ten years of service and that's what i call a good machine.

At Stihl trimmer

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June 21, 2010

Fiskars Garden Fork is made for turning compost


Since it's mid-July, your compost pile is probably piling up. Now is a good time to aerate it to assist in the breakdown of all that material. A good fork such as the Fiskars Compost/Mulch Fork makes short work of such a task. If you're doing this chore with a thick tined fork, you've got the wrong tool for the job. Save that fork for soil work such as turning your garden over in the spring. This fork with all steel construction, will pierce through a pile of compost or hay easily. I know, I know, it's a lot of money but don't cheap out and buy the inferior one! You'll end up bending the tines or the handle and then buying this one eventually anyway.

My compost pile is high with weeds I got from the neglected places in the garden and will need to be very hot if the weed seeds are going to be killed. Keeping the pile turned is one way to insure that everything gets composted.

At Fiskars Garden Fork #9666

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June 10, 2010

Dig Hose Thread Watering Timer programs quickly and easily


This is the second generation of Dig timers. I still have the ones I first bought after ten years or so of use. I liked them because they kept working! The programming on the first timers was a ilttle tedious. There one dial which you had to use a small plastic tool to turn(or a dull knife when you of course lost the small tool) that was set for duration. Unfortunately, you had to set the time at the actual time you wanted irrigation to begin by pressing a button. So if you wanted to water, say at 2am when you would not waste water to evaporation, you had to be up at that time to press the start button and then, you had to press a button to stop the watering, an hour, half hour, two hours later. That was a drag. But the timers worked so damn well and lasted for so long that I still have and use them.


In fact, since I couldn't find them at OSH anymore, I was looking online to buy another, when I discovered the new model which is much sleeker and much easier to program. This has two dials, one for duration and another for how ofter you want the irrigation to come on. Simple! My kind of programming. Furthermore they have solved the problem of late night, early morning watering. By holding down the start button, you can delay the time to start by as much as six hours, allowing you to set the 2am watering at 8pm!. You can change the irrigation duration and time by changing the dials, but to change a delayed opening, you have to take out the batteries and leave them out three minutes before starting all over. That is the only down side programming.

At Hose Thread Watering Timer

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June 7, 2010

Loving care and a three tined hoe makes for garden success


That love and care can make houseplants thrive is now unquestioned, but garden plants thrive on the same love and care. I am always stunned by the response I get from row vegetables after I have gone over the row, weeding and loosening the soil around each plant. Often within a day, they are perked up and have grown! If I add some manure tea after the weeding, they soar! It's one of the things that makes gardening such a joy--seeing that response from plants you have cared for.

The weather here has been so wet and cool and cloudy that everything in my garden has been sitting there waiting out the winter. Today is the first day of full sun and warmth. It is such a good feeling to get out into the sunshine and the garden and start working. Birds are singing away. There is a Bullock's Oriole nesting nearby, and a Western Tanager as well as lots of robins, including one robin who keeps fluttering against my windows, trying to either scare or mate with his own image.

One of the tools I use to weed seedlings is a three tined hoe. It scratches the soil and tears up small weeds. You can work really close to seedlings with this hoe and also hill up the soil around the seedlings. Most plants like soil around their base. It helps support the plant and sometimes, they will make more roots higher on the stem.


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June 1, 2010

Dramm Soaker Garden Hose promises to solve soaker hose problems


If you have ever tried soaker hoses, you know some of the problems with them. They are supposed to seep water onto a bed, but very often there is a geyser sprayer up into the air. Or, if you're on uneven ground, the lower section of the hose will seep more water or geyser while the upper area is hardly watered. Then there is the problem of the hose clogging with silt and becomming non functional after a few years, or breaking at a weak spot and needing to be patched. I have soaker hoses with leaks wrapped in inner tube and fasteded with poly pipe clamps. That was a good fix until the price of the clamps soared to 59 cents.

To get the most out of soaker hoses, you need to start with a good brand like this Dramm Soaker. It is double walled to prevent the geyser effect and to avoid uneven watering. It's a good practice to slightly cover the hose with soil or to put a mulch over it. That protects it from sun and conserves the water from evaporating or geysering. I use soakers in my strawberries which always need a lot of moisture and bring one side down along a carrot bed which helps those seed to germinate. Once the garden gets going, I have another section of soaker which I attach to run along the new seed beds since the growing plants get watered only every other day in hot weather and the seed beds have to be kept moist constantly.

This Dramm soaker has a life time guarantee and is fitted with nickle brass couplings which won't crush or break easily. The Dramm soaker hose is more expensive, but it's highly recommended and gets great reviews.

At Dramm 17010 ColorStorm Premium 50-Foot-by-5/8-Inch Soaker Garden Hose, Black

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May 25, 2010

Strathwood Recliners mean high end comfort


Hopefully sometime in the hustle of digging, planting, fertilizing and getting your garden ready to produce, you'll find time to sit back and enjoy the spring. We've had a cold spell that shocked the tomatoes and nipped some leaves with frost, but I've watered them and given them manure tea and they will make it, especially now that the weather has warmed up. I had planted the first planting of corn and a row of beans, and they have not shown themselves yet. I'm hoping they still will come up.

All the cold weather vegetables are fine. The peas are growing; carrots, broccoli and beets have germinated. It's been their kind of weather. I have yet to plant the squash family or the cucumbers. So it's in the interim between plantings that the thought of just sitting and enjoying the sun, the lawn and the garden comes to mind.

These Strathwood recliners are truely wonderful. Strathwood is known for it's great line of outdoor furniture and these recliners adjust to an infinite number of leg and back positions so you can find your most comfortable position and change it when you wish without getting up. The recliner has a sturdy steel frame and flexible fabric seating. It is really easy to set up and take down, comes in a wide variety of colors and some models have a canopy cover to protect you from the sun. Sweet! Time to relax and enjoy!

At Strathwood Anti-Gravity Adjustable Recliners

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