Re: Things To Buy

1

My parents' neighbor was crushed to death in a hay grinder, but he was older than you and probably not that boring.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 5:51 AM
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2

I bet that hurt.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 5:53 AM
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3

Your friends should be using the do not disturb function on their phones unless that's just an iphone thing. It's great. It means the phone doesn't make noises upon receipt of whatever during set hours unless someone calls several times in a row in a "no, seriously" manner.


Posted by: Mister Smearcase | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 5:55 AM
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4

To be clear, he was crushed, not ground. Anyway, my dad always liked him.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 6:00 AM
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Yeah, I've used that a couple of times, but I'd like something that doesn't require anyone to do anything beyond installing it once.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 6:00 AM
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6

The clear answer to q1 is apple watches for all your friends.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 6:02 AM
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7

What's the best way for an unbelievably boring early-middle-aged suburbanite to squeeze the life out of himself in an industrial press?

Quickly?


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 6:03 AM
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8

The other day when the computing cluster here decided to send me seven thousand plus emails in less than twelve hours, my solution was to leave my phone in a different room overnight.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 6:03 AM
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9

We have an electric corded mower which is fine as long as your yard is small enough that a 100 foot cord lets your reach everywhere.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 6:05 AM
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10

Also speaking of unbelievably boring early-middle-aged suburbanite problems (UBEMASP) I now understand why "rage, depression, violence and alcoholism induced by the attempted assembly of a child's playhouse" is a trope.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 6:05 AM
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11

You need a Lawn Roomba.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 6:15 AM
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12

togolosh hates science, pass it on.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 6:17 AM
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Oops. Hates science, rather.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 6:17 AM
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14

12,13: I saw that and I'm firmly on the side of the astronomers. I think the Husqvarna version does not interfere with radio telescopes. Also Husqvarna is a much cooler name than iRobot.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 6:22 AM
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I use the Greenworks lawnmower and 14" trimmer. I have one large and one small 40V battery pack for both and we have a decent size back yard and small front yard. I can easily mow and trim the yard on both batteries if I start with them fully charged. And the batteries charge fairly fast if I don't start with them fully charged. I find the trimmer to be pretty powerful. Not quite as powerful as a gas but way more then a standard corded electric. I occasionally have to take down some 2-4' weeds with it.


Posted by: Jammies | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 6:24 AM
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16

Plus, every morning as you walked past it you could say "mow my lawn, tiny Batman!"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 6:25 AM
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17

14" trimmer

That's just bragging.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 6:25 AM
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18

16 to 14, obvs.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 6:27 AM
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If Jammies does say "mom my lawn, Tiny Batman", it's presumably to heebie and presumably in a different context.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 6:28 AM
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20

I don't have a lawn, non-euphemistically.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 6:31 AM
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21

"Mom my lawn" is a funny thing to say in any context.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 6:31 AM
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And, now, it is a thing I am going to be saying to myself all day, and annoy Blume by saying to her later. Mom my lawn, tiny Batman! Mom my lawn!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 6:32 AM
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No one has suggested an unpowered mower yet? It's healthful exercise and environmentally friendly. The only downside is that you do have to figure out how to keep it sharp. (My 76-year old father used one until a couple of years ago, but I think he gave up on it and got a gas powered mower around the time he needed a hip replacement. If you have all your original joints, you have no excuse.)


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 6:41 AM
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24

Get a reel mower.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 6:42 AM
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25

Fuck you, LB.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 6:42 AM
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26

Love my Black & Decker battery powered mower. It eliminates the annoyance and risk associated with keeping gasoline in the shed, spillage, etc. Also, push button starter.

Also good for getting the boy to do the work. I wouldn't trust pouring gasoline to a 9 year old, and no one under about 5 feet 4 can start a lawn mower that has a pull cord (a problem for my wife, and almost half of American women, also). With the electric, the boy has been doing the lawn since fourth grade. Hasn't chopped off a toe yet.


Posted by: unimaginative | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 6:43 AM
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I use the Greenworks lawnmower and 14" trimmer. I have one large and one small 40V battery pack for both and we have a decent size back yard and small front yard. I can easily mow and trim the yard on both batteries if I start with them fully charged. And the batteries charge fairly fast if I don't start with them fully charged. I find the trimmer to be pretty powerful. Not quite as powerful as a gas but way more then a standard corded electric. I occasionally have to take down some 2-4' weeds with it.

Is there a snowblower version of this? That might be INCREDIBLY SUPER AWESOME.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 6:44 AM
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28

You should probably try to get rid of the weeds before the snow falls or just wait until it melts.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 6:57 AM
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29

The Do Not Disturb function is must-use, although when my mom was in the hospital I had to leave my phone on all the time. After my mom died I thought, I never have to have my fucking ringer on again! Sorry, brothers! If you die, I'm good with finding out the next day.


Posted by: oudemia | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 6:58 AM
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30

Try shouting "Mom my snow, tiny Batman!"


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 6:58 AM
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I'm having trouble figuring out the OP1. What's the advantage of an email if your friend is asleep? Can't they just read the text in the morning? Are you guys such light sleepers that the buzz of your vibrating phone wakes you up? I'm a super light sleeper, and the phone is a few inches from my head, but I don't wake up to the vibrate buzz.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 7:11 AM
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Try shouting "Mom my snow, tiny Batman!"

And then sing it to Elton John:
Mom my snow, young tiny Batmaaaaan
Count the snowbugs on the momway...


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 7:13 AM
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No one will be surprised that I use a hand mower. Mine was made for Sears sometime in the 60s, I bought it at a garage sale.
It is sharpened like shears and scissors, by making the edge square and true and attending to the force pressing the reel to the knife. I have a small city lot, but my dad used one on a much larger property, and I would often do it instead as a teenager.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 7:13 AM
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34

I use a scythe to cut my lawn.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 7:16 AM
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35

If I had a scythe, I bet I'd cut my toes off if I tried to mow my lawn. If I had a lawn.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 7:19 AM
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36

I use a grass hook, the modern version of the scythe, quite a bit.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 7:20 AM
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37

I use Jose.*

*still old enough to remember when the gardeners were Japanese-Americans, though just barely.


Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 7:22 AM
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38

And hose B. (Ugh, stupid racist old joke about Mexican firemen, fill in the details. Sorry.)


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 7:23 AM
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39

I artisanally bite the individual blades of grass to the correct length while doing pushups.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 7:24 AM
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40

The sound of the push ones is so lovely! And these days brings back wonderful memories of when our boy was little and hung around with the building's handyman who was in his early eighties. I'd come home and the two of them would be perched companionably on the folded down end of Charlie's pick up truck, having a snack and a chat. Charlie used a hand push mower on the miniscule lawn. Also that apartment had Berkeley's best clothesline.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 7:25 AM
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41

I don't really have a good safe place for a mower of any kind. I should get a grass whip to tend things when the HOA lets them get out of hand. "Things" there equals "grass."


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 7:27 AM
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42

Our yard is paved. Could try that!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 7:28 AM
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43

I need to resign myself to the fact that I will probably never be able to afford a Tesla Model S, but if Tesla made battery-powered lawn mowers that look like the batmobile, I'd be all over that.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 7:35 AM
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44

Doesn't everyone turn their phone off at night and leave it in another room?


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 7:39 AM
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45

That would be bad for me because I use the alarm on my phone to wake myself in the morning.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 7:40 AM
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46

Our yard is essentially dirt, about 1200 sq feet plus about 800 sq feet that is a play set with wood chips under. We recently priced out doing something with the dirt, partly because it probably has some significant level of lead. It's ridiculously expensive- we thought artificial grass might be worth it but it was ~$10k. Sod was $2700 but the amount our kids run around on it would probably kill it after a couple years. Irrigation to keep it alive a bit longer was $4200. We just had to have the large tree in the yard trimmed before it dropped large branches on the house, and that was $1400. I'm starting to agree that we should just pave everything over.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 7:41 AM
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47

You all still have lawns??? That you mow???

We went natural meadow years ago!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 7:41 AM
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48

I'm considering painting our yard with swirls or something.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 7:46 AM
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49

I'll rake and trample my grass into tiny crop circles maybe. Surely the HOA can't bust me for that.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 7:48 AM
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47: I was thinking about recommending a goat. Bonus free goat milk if it's a lady goat. And emergency food in the event of the collapse of civilization.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 7:49 AM
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The other day during the ballgame Lowe's (IIRC) was advertising a battery-powered lawnmower (I think a bigger battery than Jammies'; maybe 54V?), which made me think, "Well, I guess that tech is now mainstream."

Reel mower here. We started with about 1500 sq. ft., but we're down to maybe 500 feet of grass.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 7:49 AM
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52

AISIHMHB, Heebieville has some city-owned goats for this purpose.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 7:50 AM
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53

Doesn't everyone turn their phone off at night and leave it in another room?

I switch it to Do Not Disturb, turn it off, put it in a lead box, then put the lead box in the neighbor's house.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 7:50 AM
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54

I don't actually ignore incoming texts really but I do kind of want to preserve that as a possibility and hence would not ever install anything that allowed ogged to know when I'd last used my phone.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 7:52 AM
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55

Everyone could tell 47 was a lie, right?

I just couldn't bring myself to admit to my gas lawn mower. Shame!


Posted by: peep | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 7:53 AM
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56

I own a small patch of grass that needs mowing about twice a year. A power mower would require more maintenance than actual mowing time; I probably should get one of those hand jobs.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 7:53 AM
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57

the amount our kids run around on it would probably kill it after a couple years

Unless you have 22 kids playing tackle football twice a week, I doubt this. Established lawns are sturdy as hell. That said, establishing one with kids around would be a challenge.

I'm very pleased to hera about Heebieville's goats. Last summer they leased some goats from MD to clear a knotweed-infested hillside as a demonstration project, and now there's local entrepreneur trying to get a service started.

I've always wanted goats, but have to concede that it's not going to happen.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 7:54 AM
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58

I wonder if anyone's done the math on what square footage one sheep can keep trimmed. I mean, isn't that the yard service of the future? A truck full of sheep, and the lawn guy comes and stakes one out in your yard every week or so, driving by to move the stake it's tied to often enough to provide full lawn coverage. He picks them up and drives them home to his paddock at the end of the day, and Bob's your uncle.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 7:54 AM
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59

58 pretty much pwned by 57.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 7:55 AM
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60

We have alarm clocks and a landline so waking and emergency calls from family are taken care of. The BH does leave his on in case the older kids might call in a pickle but it is definitely *not* in the bedroom.


Posted by: dairy queen | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 7:55 AM
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61

Plus you can dry the sheep poop and use it for fuel or crafts.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 7:55 AM
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62

Is installed sod considered an established lawn, or how long after it's installed would it be study? The landscapers suggested a year which would be impossible to keep the kids off for that long without installing an electric fence which is an additional cost.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 7:56 AM
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63

driving by to move the stake it's tied to often enough to provide full lawn coverage.

The sphere-packing problem pays off!


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 7:56 AM
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64

Fertilizer. God, Sifu, do you even lawn?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 7:56 AM
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65

56.last: I don't think those places treat their workers very well and I don't see what that would do for your lawn.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 7:58 AM
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64: but then what poop would I use for crafts?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 7:59 AM
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62: Seriously, maybe a temporary fence down the middle, and do one half one year, with the kids fenced off it, and the other half the next year? Is that insane? And maybe not sod, but shop around for trampling-resistant groundcover (something with deeper roots, I don't know, do I look like a horticulturalist?)?


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 8:00 AM
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68

I don't see what that would do for your lawn.

Well, it would certainly relieve my lawn-related stress.


Posted by: Spike | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 8:00 AM
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69

66: Your own, presumably, just like usual.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 8:01 AM
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70

I really wanted to get a reel mower, but everything I've read says that would be crazy for a lawn this size with trees (read: twigs) on it. 15 and 26 are helpful.

In NM, a guy in a pickup full of goats would come by occasionally to ask if you needed your yard chewed.

Also, yes, the text vibrate wakes me up, and that's even though I sleep with earplugs. So I guess you're not as light a sleeper as you think, Heebster. But the question was about other people: I don't want to wake them with a text, so I'd like to know if they're awake or not.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 8:04 AM
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You all still have lawns??? That you mow???

Every couple of weeks in the warmer months I mow my native plant garden, a.k.a. my yard full of weeds. I suppose you could call it a lawn, if you were being generous.


Posted by: My Alter Ego | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 8:04 AM
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72

69: That's got to really limit his diet.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 8:05 AM
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73

And maybe not sod, but shop around for trampling-resistant groundcover (something with deeper roots, I don't know, do I look like a horticulturalist?)?

In temperate climates, you can't really do better than grass for trample resistance*. There are ground covers that can handle a moderate amount of traffic, but if there were anything that was more sturdy and less hassle, it would already be widely used.

That said, your fence-split yard idea is pretty good. A year for sod is a bit of overkill, but it's certainly not just a month or two.

*I say this as someone deeply opposed to grass lawns


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 8:08 AM
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I mow my native plant garden, a.k.a. my yard full of weeds.

The mother of an ex-boyfriend of Dr. Oops' wrote a charming book on restoring a lawn to native plants, that made it sound like not much work and that the results were very attractive, low care, and durable. It's a pleasant read, and has left me with longstanding fantasies about what I'm going to do if I ever end up owning more than a flowerpot's worth of dirt.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 8:10 AM
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75

I recently discovered that hosta really suck at trample resistance.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 8:12 AM
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76

My mom just bought a Ryobi mower two days ago and tried it out yesterday and loved it.


Posted by: Virgalicious | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 8:13 AM
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77

I'm guessing giving it November through March to get established doesn't count.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 8:14 AM
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78

72: blueberries and steak one week, raspberries and bran the next.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 8:14 AM
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79

I say this as someone deeply opposed to grass lawns

I sometimes wonder if Full-Kotkin won't overtake all of us if we live long enough.


Posted by: idp | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 8:15 AM
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80

I don't want to wake them with a text, so I'd like to know if they're awake or not.

Wouldn't an email be just as likely to wake them as a text?

I always assumed that everyone muted their phones at night and have never much worried about what time I sent emails/texts. I guess I need to rethink that.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 8:15 AM
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81

Wouldn't an email be just as likely to wake them as a text?

I wonder how many people have their email set to push. I retrieve mine manually.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 8:19 AM
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82

No. Do not rethink that; Ogged is being a crazy person. People are responsible for their own phones.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 8:19 AM
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77: If the winter is mild-isn, Oct-April would just about do the trick. Grass loves autumn, and will keep growing/establishing well into December (unless winter hits hard and early). But if it's a rough winter, you could have a mess on your hands until midsummer.

Given the mulch/play area, perhaps fence off the 1/3 of the dirt nearest the mulch for 8 months, then do an overwinter installation on the mulch side. That would give the non-mulch side a full year before kids are on it during spring, and by May the whole thing is ready.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 8:20 AM
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84

being a crazy person

This is what being considerate is called in Texas, so I guess we're not really disagreeing.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 8:22 AM
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85

I'm torn between the ogged position the the heebie one. Because people are responsible for their own phones, but some people have to leave them on for fear of missing an emergency or important call.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 8:23 AM
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86

I no-kidding hate having to have a lawn. But given that I do have one, and have to keep it, I'm trying to make progress in getting the freaking thing to thrive--the previous owners basically rolled sod out over a crappy mostly-dirt lawn with essentially no preparation, so the first year we were in the place it just deteriorated like a bastard.

Hate.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 8:23 AM
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87

Let me more loudly recommend the book I linked in 74: Noah's Garden, by Sara Stein, for anyone thinking about what to do with a lawn, particularly a larger lawn. Really a good read, and it made turning your lawn into a patch of native grassland sound attractive and fun.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 8:25 AM
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88

Having a lawn is a drag (and I'm about to overseed with clover to get it to be more lush and self-sustaining), but oh my god are the other parts of my garden more work. AGGGHGH the number of weeds that popped up literally overnight last night. :(((((


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 8:25 AM
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I should clarify that our house is four kids plus a dog in the downstairs apartment plus kids and dogs come over to play frequently. I need to find someone who will take their sod back if it dies.
Which reminds me, anyone know anything about aquarium maintenance? I keep killing the kids' fish when I try to clean the water.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 8:25 AM
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90

One benefit of the $4200 irrigation was that it included automatic watering of the vegetable garden.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 8:27 AM
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91

Do you take them out before boiling it?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 8:27 AM
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92

You're suppose to take the fish out before you add the bleach.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 8:27 AM
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80, 81, 82: The question is what the defaults are, because the vast majority of users don't change the defaults (and if the defaults bother them, they'll turn the phone off at night - or put it in another room - rather than modify the defaults.

I *think* the iPhone default is noisy texts and silent emails, but I don't know (because I'm certainly one who fiddles with the defaults). And I don't know if Androids are consistent across brands/"flavors"/whatever.

That said, I think ogged's heursitic is the right one: texts are far more likely to cause disturbance than emails. I also think that heebs is right: "People are responsible for their own phones."


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 8:28 AM
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Yeah, 85 is true enough, I wouldn't text my parents late at night because they are old and insane and (though I've never asked them because I don't really want to know) I assume would never consider muting their phones for fear of missing some hypothetical 3am emergency call. But they are old and insane; I thought I could trust normal people to mute their phones when they go to bed.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 8:30 AM
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95

HOLY SHIT Oops dated the daughter of this woman? That woman (indirectly) taught me about sex when I was in 2nd grade.

Wait, we've talked about that book before, haven't we? Did the Oops connection come up?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 8:32 AM
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96

My parents are old enough that if I text them, I have to call them to tell them to check the text.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 8:32 AM
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95: Son, not daughter, but that's her.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 8:33 AM
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And now that I think about it, the iPhone in the house (not mine) does make noise for both, but a lot more noise for texts than emails. No idea if that's the default. My non-iphone makes different noises for texts and non-junk email, but not so different that one would be more likely than the other to wake me. I would have figured everyone has their email on push (surely the case if you've got work email on there?) but could be wrong.


Posted by: potchkeh | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 8:36 AM
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99

Wow.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 8:38 AM
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I would have figured everyone has their email on push (surely the case if you've got work email on there?) but could be wrong.

It can push but still not make noise - shows up on the sleep screen to see, but not to hear.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 8:39 AM
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101

I've refused to connect my work email to my phone. If it's important they can text or call me when I'm not at work. I'm not going to have my ordinary non-work life disrupted by work related emails if I can possibly help it.


Posted by: togolosh | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 8:40 AM
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102

Moss. It's green, drought resistant, and requires zero maintenance or expense. Likewise the types of crabgrass that grow short and sideways rather than straight up. Just put your lawn in the middle of a bunch of oak tress and don't clear the leaves so their acidity leeches into the ground. You can fly somewhere warm in the winter with the money you save and the environmental good karma/carbon credits you earn by not pouring fertilizer herbicide and other toxins into the water supply.


Posted by: No longer Middle Aged Man | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 8:43 AM
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103

I think the industrial press question has been given insufficient attention in this thread. It's certainly more appealing than listening to a bunch of old people yammer about their mobile phone alert settings.


Posted by: JP Stormcrow | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 8:45 AM
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Accidentally I set it up so that my work emails only go to my work machine, except when Mail isn't open on that machine (which is basically never). As a result, I can't get work email on my phone if I want to, but I almost never want to. The other benefit is that emails to that address - which is also my primary address for personal correspondence - aren't visible to anyone else. I don't need the privacy, but I like to have it.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 8:48 AM
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105

Ok, I bought the book. I hope it's good. My yard looks like shit.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 8:48 AM
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I certainly don't put any fertilizer or other crap on my yard! I know the reputation of lawns is that they take loads of work and chemicals, and I'm sure that's true if you want a pristine carpet of bright green fescue, but a merely less-than-perfect lawn seems lower maintenance in my climate than most things.


Posted by: redfoxtailshrub | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 8:49 AM
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Moss lawns are awesome, but have zero kid/dog resistance.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 8:49 AM
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If I don't mow my lawn today or tomorrow, my neighbors are prob going to complain to the city. I just need to get rid of that pesky grass.


Posted by: will | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 8:50 AM
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How are you supposed to take care of a lawn? We're not going to put chemicals on it, and there's rain, and the previous owner installed some buried something or other irrigation system. Do I have to do anything other than mow it?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 8:50 AM
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I have moss growing on my paved patio.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 8:51 AM
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106 is true.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 8:51 AM
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109: If you don't go out after dark and piss on it at least once a season, wolves will move in.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 8:51 AM
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I don't actually care in the least what my yard looks like, but I need to have some mechanism to not have the neighbors call the city and complain about my yard that doesn't involve any time on my part spent working on the yard. I thought this was a problem that could be solved by throwing money at it, but that hasn't been successful so far.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 8:52 AM
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that hasn't been successful so far

Why not? You don't just have a landscaping crew out once a week or whatever?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 8:53 AM
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||

Relevant to the blog's interests.

|>


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 8:55 AM
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I saw that when it was posted, but the one interviewer is so annoying that I skipped it. Short version for non-clickers: "Who wants to sex Mutumbo?" really happened.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 8:58 AM
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109: If you don't care exactly how good it looks, you really should be fine with nothing more than a weekly mowing. Maybe topdress it in the fall, meaning to sprinkle a topsoil/seed mixture all over (which will fill in bare spots and refresh soil nutrients a bit).


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 8:58 AM
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I think I posted that link earlier this year and learned I was not the first to have done so.


Posted by: Minivet | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 9:00 AM
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The high-use turf of the local athletic fields is pretty bad. I'm wondering if I should do a Kickstarter to get somebody to roll the fields in Schenley or by Alderdice. I don't know if that would work or not. I didn't even know it was a thing until I read the Harry Potter book where the gardener gets killed by Voldemort.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 9:01 AM
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don't care exactly how good it looks

I guess I do care, within limits. I'd like not to have bare patches and big lumps, and have it be fairly green.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 9:02 AM
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114: I can't find anyone who will do it. I've had a few companies out but they've only been willing to mow, and not deal with weeding/mulching/trimming of things which is really a huge part of what I need. Or, for the other "landscape maintenance" companies that I've talked to, all they want to do is monthly or seasonal fertilizer treatments and that sort of thing, which is not at all what I need. I've tried hiring companies and I've tried ads on craigslist. I'm sure there is someone in this city who would be willing to do what I need* for the some price, but at this point finding them seems like it would take more time than just doing the work myself.

* What I need is for someone to do everything that I would be doing if I were doing a decent job taking care of my yard. Mow/mulch/weed/trim/etc. I don't care about fertilizer, just basics so the yard doesn't give the appearance of abandoned property.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 9:02 AM
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Meanwhile I am on strike from doing the actual work myself, so I have literally four foot weeds in my front yard and angry neighbors. I will probably have to cave in this weekend and do something about it, but ugh.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 9:04 AM
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Do you have an Angie's List subscription? Surely you could find someone there.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 9:05 AM
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Moss. It's green, drought resistant, and requires zero maintenance or expense.

And has redbugs. Or at least that's what I was told growing up, about the Spanish moss.


Posted by: heebie-geebie | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 9:06 AM
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I really don't care much, but we're not allowed to go non-lawn in the historic district unless we turn it into garden, which our across-the-street neighbor has done and we had at our old house. Ours is grass and clover and violets. I just heard you can have the county extension office out to test the soil PH and that it doesn't take much change to make it inhospitable to dandelions, so I'd be willing to make that much effort. I use a reel mower. Lee had a plug-in one that came with the house but has died and she's thinking of getting another one because she won't use the reel mower and thinks I shouldn't have one more job and also that I won't mow often enough to make her happy. I guess she can buy one of these battery things everyone else has or wants, so there's added value here for me.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 9:08 AM
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Urple, do you have a neighborhood listserv or facebook group or anything like that? There are definitely people here who get that kind of work done, and that's how they find people to do it.


Posted by: Thorn | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 9:09 AM
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One sticking point has been my demand that the mowers use a reel mower, while they want to use their noisy/polluting gas powered equipment.


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 9:09 AM
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Have fun paying somebody to storm the castle.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 9:11 AM
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121: Is there a visible teenager in your neighborhood you could approach to do the work? The sort of minimal stuff you want is maybe a couple of hours a week, and while it's unconventional enough these days that you won't find a teenager advertising, you might be able to talk one into doing it. Bonus, you can probably negotiate a rate that looks cheap to you but generous to the kid.


Posted by: LizardBreath | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 9:13 AM
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How is 121 even possible? The sad truth is that in years of homeownership I've never done an hour of yardwork, because a crew comes out for $75/month and does absolutely everything. (For a while I left it feral and that was interesting but horrible -- we now have landscaping and it's great. Only a small patch of actual "lawn" in the back because supposedly the kids need it to play on.


Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 9:13 AM
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125: make tiny Batman mom your lawn!


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 9:17 AM
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I probably should get one of those hand jobs.

No one even noticed this? What the fuck happened to you people?


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 9:18 AM
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65 to 132.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 9:19 AM
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my demand that the mowers use a reel mower

Ha. Good luck with that.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 9:19 AM
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Oh. That was pretty oblique.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 9:20 AM
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I have a HabitRPG goal of making more subtle jokes.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 9:22 AM
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Not that oblique. Laydeez.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 9:22 AM
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You used to catch things like that, Jesus. Maybe we're all a little slower them days, hmmm?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 9:22 AM
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Is there a visible teenager in your neighborhood

If there are invisible teenagers in your neighborhood, you've got bigger problems than the lawn.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 9:22 AM
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I wouldn't be surprised if a business using only manual tools to combat the scourge of mower/blower noise did well here, but I'm not about to put any effort into testing that proposition.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 9:24 AM
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Maybe I'm just irritable from spending most of yesterday getting scratched up removing blackberries from my eyesore of a back yard.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 9:25 AM
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Oh, how terrible, you had a glut of blackberries and had to remove them, probably into your berry-distended belly, I weep for you.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 9:27 AM
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I'm sure that if you purchased a reel mower one of the crews would be happy to push it around for you if you pay them for their additional time.


Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 9:27 AM
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140: there is a local operation that explicitly markets on those grounds but even they use gas mowers on larger properties.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 9:28 AM
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By blackberries I mean of course blackberry canes, the berries themselves not being in season.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 9:29 AM
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143: I have a reel mower and have made that offer, but no dice. I also haven't actually insisted that everyone use a reel mower, that was just a joke (although I have made that offer to people because I would prefer it).


Posted by: urple | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 9:30 AM
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Urple's best bet is probably to have a landscaping company do everything but the mowing, and just pay someone to mow with a reel mower. There might be some professional pride for the landscaping guys in not using a reel mower.


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 9:31 AM
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145: I don't know how things work up there. Maybe the season starts early.


Posted by: nosflow | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 9:33 AM
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Reel mower here. We started with about 1500 sq. ft., but we're down to maybe 500 feet of grass.

I've tried a couple of different reel mowers, I found that the Brill mower gave you a very attractive cut but rapidly became useless if the grass was long.

By contrast, the Fiskars mower I replaced it with doesn't cut quite as evenly, but is much less effort and will still cut long-ish grass.


Posted by: NickS | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 9:33 AM
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A well-sharpened reel mower is as fast as a power mower on a truly flat, non-overgrown lawn, but almost no one has such a lawn, and those that do always use power mowers IME. I'll just have to wait for peak oil to resolve the noise problem.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 9:33 AM
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I don't know how things work up there. Maybe the season starts early.

Do you even Northern Hemisphere, bro?


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 9:35 AM
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Soap is supposed to be a good treatment for lawns.

There's some awful pesticide or fertilizer that Ontario banned. One of Tim's parents' neighbors can't bear to live without it, and he crosses the border to get it. So ridiculous.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 9:36 AM
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150: Outside of an Oxbridge college, I've never seen such a lawn.


Posted by: Bostoniangirl | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 9:39 AM
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he crosses the border to get it

Our home inspector was also a builder, and said that one of his clients around here was insisting on wood floors from an endangered species. Who are these people?


Posted by: ogged | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 9:40 AM
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OT: Best/worst comment thread.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 9:41 AM
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Outside of an Oxbridge college, I've never seen such a lawn.

Inside of an Oxbridge college, there's nothing to do but read.


Posted by: ajay | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 9:43 AM
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The ex insisted on having a lawn after the girls were born, so we had a work party to install one. It turned out that despite our best efforts, the surface became uneven very quickly, and maintaining a lawn without chemicals is ridiculously difficult if you don't have either loads of time to take care of it or money to pay for same. I probably won't feel as though the divorce is final until I have the last bit of it ripped out.

Friends of mine used Herniaria glabra as a lawn substitute. A+++ RECOMMENDED.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 9:45 AM
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155: Nothing like some casual antisemitism to punctuate the racism.

I have family in Gree/nsburg and it's nice enough, for an exurb, but there has always seemed a little, oh I don't know. It punches above its weight in interestingness.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 9:47 AM
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Herniaria glabra has diuretic properties--so be sure to put in some mountain laurel, too.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 9:53 AM
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maintaining a lawn without chemicals is ridiculously difficult if you don't have either loads of time to take care of it or money to pay for same

Is this a PNW thing? I never water, in 14 years I've never applied any form of chemical or fertilizer, and the grass is green and reasonably lush. I'm baffled by the idea that lawns are harder than what I've experienced. I mean, I worked at a golf course, I know what's involved in getting a perfect carpet, but I really don't think that my low-effort yard is hideous.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 9:56 AM
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I'm seeing a lot of poorly maintained turf converted to decomposed granite. An aesthetic improvement to my eye. I would do that for one of my sidewalk islands except that it would cost money to do. One day.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 9:57 AM
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sidewalk islands

You mean devil's strip?


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 9:58 AM
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Instead of grass we have ivy, or some ivy-like ground cover. I was hoping it'd be less work than a lawn, but I'm finding I have no clue how to maintain it. Even just getting leaves out of it is laborious.


Posted by: dalriata | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 9:59 AM
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Hmm, the hernia stuff looks intriguing. It's hard to tell from pictures, does it make the sort of surface appropriate for running or playing soccer, or it it too weedy and will catch your feet?


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 10:00 AM
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Yes. "Devil's strip" is a way better name. I do a nice job with the ones in front of my house, put lots of flowers in. But the side one I just can't maintain. I capped the sprinkler heads, so after one of us mows the spring growth, there won't be another growth spurt.

Then I have one of the poorly maintained grass areas that would be better as decomposed granite.


Posted by: Megan | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 10:02 AM
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160: Maybe partly a PNW thing. We get almost no rain during the summer, and the weeds are happy year-round, probably more when the grass is stressed. I didn't mind letting the grass get brown, but weed control was impossible.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 10:05 AM
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164: It's durable and won't catch your feet, but I don't know how well it would take the kind of wear you'd get from playing soccer on it. For the usual sort of walking and running around, it's great.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 10:07 AM
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Further to 167, it's also cushiony enough to be a nice surface for lying on when you're being a big old drama queen pretending to be injured, so in that sense it would be good for soccer.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 10:12 AM
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166: OK, I thought it might be something like this. The grass here is dormant all winter (duh) and grows pretty slowly in July and August. If the underlying lawn is decent (not too patchy), the weeds (mostly different grasses, plus ground covers like violets and clover) don't really grow any faster than the grass itself. Egged should have a similar experience, I'd think - maybe a bit browner in summer, but if he wants to drain Lake Michigan to water it, no almond trees will have to die.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 10:12 AM
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I'm going to mulch my entire back yard with almonds, to maximize my water use.


Posted by: Jesus McQueen | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 10:14 AM
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At the table next to me, two physicists are talking about inflation and scale.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 10:29 AM
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This must be the intellectual Chinese restaurant.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 10:31 AM
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They look less like hobos than I would have expected.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 10:33 AM
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We turned ~1000 sf of crazy wildflower garden into lawn (because maintenance was really a full-time job), and we wanted an end to that and play space for the kid. I mow twice a week during the growing season with a reel mower (one of these), and it takes 10-15 minutes each time. It's sadly patchy and totally uneven after the last winter's abuse, though.


Posted by: Nathan Williams | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 10:42 AM
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I retrieve email manually. My phone's never on anything except silent & vibrate. It wakes me up in the morning (whether for an incoming text or an alarm), but usually not in the middle of the night. Apparently my body has figured out when I want to be woken up. Which is kind of problematic because I don't use the do not disturb function in case of emergency, but it turns out that if anyone needs me for an emergency they are out of luck until about 6.

I like yards covered in moss and clover best. Overgrown ones with paths mowed in are also nice.


Posted by: E. Messily | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 10:50 AM
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174- The little child seat right behind the blades looks dangerous, too easy for a kid to get their feet chopped up. I'd keep the stroller and lawn care instruments separate.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 10:57 AM
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Regarding the mower, I have shared a Neuton with neighbors for five years. Last year the battery began failing before the lawn was done, but I'm cheap so just started doing half the lawn at a time and charging in between.


Posted by: metasarah | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 11:05 AM
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||Good to know that Moby started a Twitter presence.|>


Posted by: TRO | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 11:08 AM
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175.last gets it right. They're in the process of transforming a broad hillside in one of the big parks around here, largely for stormwater reasons, but I'm pretty sure the final result will be something like that, at bigger scale.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 12:37 PM
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Since fish are more interesting that lawns, I'd like to hear more about the water cleaning problem. I used just to change the FWB's water twice a week or so -- about half of what was in the tank -- until the test strips were happy and steady. After a month or two it would be fine. But "cleaning" it sounds weird. Just replace half the old stuff with fresh treated tapwater.


Posted by: NW | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 12:58 PM
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FWB

Fish With... Benefits?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 1:00 PM
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It's an open relationship.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 1:01 PM
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I change the water every 3-4 weeks when it's getting murky. Use a gravel vacuum to pull up some much from the stones on the bottom (hence the term "cleaning") until I've removed 10-20% of the water. Refill with tap water of equal temperature. Add treatments recommended for fish tank- enzyme for waste digestion, some stuff that clarifies the water by precipitating out excess organic crap. I only change the filter every few months.
I just got word that two more died, only 3 left.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 1:11 PM
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These are fresh water tropical- gourami, barbs, etc.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 1:11 PM
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If your tap water is treated with chlorine, aren't you supposed to let it air out or treat it for that?


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 1:13 PM
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If that doesn't work, the fish are lying about being fresh water fish. Add in a bunch of salt.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 1:14 PM
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We had the tap water tested at the fish store prior to starting a tank, they said it was fine as is.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 1:16 PM
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Do you have a telepathic cat?


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 1:19 PM
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I sort of figured the comment thread in 155 would get shut down and purged by now, but I guess not.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 1:24 PM
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Three to four weeks and murky is a terrible standard. Your fish will continue to die. You need tester strips or the full on bottles to tell you the ammonia or nitrate/nitrite balance in the water. Use those every couple of days at first, changing to a week once the situation has stabilised, and change the water 20-30% of it whenever the levels dip below what they should be. You're not keeping fish; you're keeping water, and if you get that right the fish will follow. Don't bother with all the various magic solutions that are supposed to right these imbalances. Just lots of fresh water. It needs to be clean all the time. Don't introduce more than two fish at a time or they will all suffocate in their own shit (which is what the test strips, essentially, are measuring).

It's been about seven years since we had the aquarium so I can't remember the details, but once we realised that water changes were the key to everything we ran for two years without any fish dying at all.


Posted by: NW | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 1:55 PM
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The thing is they're fine until I change the water, it's always right after changing that they die, no problems before then.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 1:59 PM
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Then it's the shock. If you change more often it will be less shocking.


Posted by: NW | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 2:18 PM
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And report back! Remember, NW has sex with his fish, so this is a subject he really cares about.


Posted by: Sifu Tweety | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 5:01 PM
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I think "koitus" is the more polite term, Tweety.


Posted by: Stanley | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 5:04 PM
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A man without an aquarium is like a fish with out its birth control.


Posted by: Turgid Jacobian | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 5:15 PM
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That was great.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 5:15 PM
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To the pun.


Posted by: Moby Hick | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 5:16 PM
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Turns out the pH is too low. 6 or slightly less, we have mollies which prefer 7.5 or minimally 7. I bought some buffer treatment and added it and the pH barely budged above 6 (I have high-range test strips at home so I can't measure more precisely than 0.5 increments- never know when your aquarium or garden soil might suddenly drop to 1.) Have to repeat treatment every 24 hours until it's 7 although the remaining fish might be dead by then.
Also we are supposed to be using a tap water pre-treater even though a pet store employee initially said it was fine based on their test strips, but the person I talked to today said that was crazy. I bought a bottle of pre-treater sufficient for 4700 gallons.
They said change 10% once a week, 25% once a month.


Posted by: SP | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 6:38 PM
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Yes. I was going to say the pre-treater was essential. You have to get the chlorine out. Lots of the prettiest fish come from acidic waters, and so are unhappy in our tapwater. This was one reason why FWB ended up with a lot of Danios, including some lovely longfinned ones. [cor! look at the fins on that one!]


Posted by: NW | Link to this comment | 05- 5-15 11:08 PM
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||

12 Angry Men Inside Amy Schumer looks good.

|>


Posted by: k-sky | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 12:19 AM
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Perv.


Posted by: JRoth | Link to this comment | 05- 6-15 10:29 AM
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