I’ve been doing LOTS of garden work over the past 2 weeks. Raking leaves has become one of my favourite pastimes. It’s mindless work with immediate gratification. You start with a section of the yard with lots of leaves, then after some effort you have a tidy, green area. I’ve also come to realize that our property is bigger than I thought it was. I guess I’ve never walked around all of it before (believe it or not). Because of the early winter, our gardeners were unable to remove the leaves last fall.

So Saturday morning I loaded up 12 full yard waste bags into the truck, and headed for the Waterloo dump. Saturday morning is a bad time to go to the dump I found out. A long line, but when I did get to the gate, the guy working there gave me a card that let me pass freely because I was just bringing highly compostable yard waste.

There has been one part of our backyard that has bothered me for a long time. We have a chain fence (for the pool) that separates us from the 2nd tee of the golf course. The fence line is really thick with grass and weeds, and it looks bad from the deck, and worse from the 2nd tee. So I wanted to get that fixed once and for all. But this would require a new tool. A weed whacker/whipper snipper or whatever the technical term is.

At Home Depot, I found the section, and bought the cheapest gas model I could find. I thought it was pure gas. When I got home and read the instructions, I realized it was a 2 stroke oil/gas engine. The instructions told me to mix the oil with 1 litre of gas. I did that, and tried to fire it up. No dice. I read the instructions on the oil container, and it said mix with FOUR litres of gas. Great.

After 20 minutes of minor chemistry and drain/refilling, I tried again. No dice. My deskjob arms were starting to feel it. And I was getting a blister. Shortly after this, one of my neighbours saw me struggling and came over to help. I had done all the things he suggested, and he observed “hey, lots of people pay alot of money to get that kind of arm workout in a gym, and you get it for free”. That didn’t make me feel much better.

I relented and re-read the troubleshooting section of the manual, and saw the “engine flooded” section. I tried the remediation steps, and then on the final step, boom, my power tool was alive! I immediately hiked down to the fence line, opened the gate, and started chopping.

I now have one more of the annoyances I’ve ignored for years resolved. And I took down the Christmas lights too.

A pretty good day. My daily morning weigh-in also validated that hard work pays off. I’ve lost nearly 12 lbs in 10 days. In approximately 161 days, I will completely disappear.