Tuesday, October 30, 2018

We Planted The Sign!

It has been a long time since Brooks gave us this beautiful plasma cut stainless steel address sign he made for us but we finally got it planted at the end of the driveway! It started out as a Christmas gift but we never got a chance to pick it up so it turned into a birthday gift for me in April and then a birthday gift for Norma in July! We finally pecked it up a few weeks ago.

I tested the dirt at the end of the driveway and found it to be hard packed with large rocks and very tough digging, it was going to take a younger back or some heavier equipment. We contacted the guy who is going to do our lawn cutting next year and he said he would be happy to dig the holes. And yesterday he did just that!

We (Norma and him) carried the sign down while I ran to the hardware store for some quick set concrete that we poured in around the legs and added water. That sign is not going anywhere.

It is a great addition to our house. Thanks Brooks and LindaLee!

It still needs a bit of landscape work but here it is!

Saturday, October 20, 2018

Lawn Mowing Economics And Donald Trump

We brought home our EGO 56 Volt Rechargeable lawn mower and our ECHO 58 Volt trimmer yesterday, giving our bank balance a $1,300 hit. Our friend Rae pointed out that we were paying our lawn mowing service just under $50 per hour for doing it this summer. This was emphasized yesterday evening when two of them showed to give it the last mowing of the season. I started timing when I heard the mower and trimmer start and they were done in a record eight minutes! The bill for this will be $52 after taxes. Two guys for eight minutes is sixteen minutes work which amounts to almost $200 per hour! Enough is enough, I could probably hire a lawyer for that!

The best move would have been to buy the equipment next April when we need it rather than now as that would have started the warranty period six months later. The woman who sold us the equipment explained that as there is no lawn mowing equipment manufactured in Canada, they have to buy from the USA and Trump had just put tariffs on this. If we waited until after the new year it would cost us at least 10% more.

I think buying our own equipment and hiring a $20 per hour guy is a better deal in the long run. Who knows, I might even push the mower around myself the odd time (it is self propelled so it might pull me around). I will not tackle the steep bank though, I have already fallen down it a couple of times.

I am also hoping the simplicity of the heavy duty rechargeable electric will pay off. No hassle with gas, oil, tune ups, etc. Plus the mower can be folded up and hung on the wall. 

Image result for ego electric lawn mower

Image result for echo 56 volt trimmer

The ECHO trimmer comes apart so a hedge trimmer or a blower can be added. Those items may be Christmas gifts for each other.

Friday, October 19, 2018

BC Legal Online Pot Sales Open For Business

Here is the link for BC's Government Online Cannabis Store. All varieties are home grown right here in BC. As part of the roll out, previous convictions for simple possession of small quantities of cannabis are being pardoned.

Image result for cannabis

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Mowing Equipment

We visited a local business (not big box) and have kind of settled on an EGO self propelled 56 volt mower for $800 and an Echo 58 volt multitool trimmer/edger that will also accept a hedge trimmer and a blower attachment for $340. Very nice high end units.

The trimmer is part of Echo's "professional" product line and they assure me it will do the job. Being able to add a blower and a hedge trimmer is a bonus.

We went with rechargeable over gas for several reasons. Ease of use is the biggest with no concerns of gas, gas mixing, fuel stabilizers, fuel storage, tune-ups, etc. With the rechargeable units, we just have to keep the batteries charged.

Expensive Lawn Mowing

We have about 2500 square feet of actual lawn, all of it level with edging to be done where it meets Norma's gardens.  We also have the steep bank at the back of which we keep a 3000 square foot section trimmed. This bank is done with a whipper snipper.

We used to hire Beau, Norma's "Lawn Guy" to do it. Beau was a hard worker and was willing to do any other tasks that Norma asked of him. He kept close track of his time, charging us $20 - $30 per week. He was here for at least an hour every week. We loved having Beau but after a few years he got what he called a "real" job and left us. We then hired a couple of guys who had a small mowing company who also did a pretty good job but charged more. They did the minimum and did not like it when Norma wanted extra work done. There was two of them and they were here for maybe half an hour and charged $40. They closed shop after two years.

This year we searched the want ads and found another mowing company. The very hyper young owner came and scouted out the job and we agreed to have him mow the lawn every week and to add the bank trimming every second week. He would charge us $45 for just the lawn and $85 for the lawn and the bank. Pretty expensive but we had no choice. It pissed us off how short a time they were here - two guys for ten to fifteen minutes for the lawn only and three guys for twenty to twenty five minutes when they added the bank. They outright refused to do any extra work for Norma. All three of these people provided their own equipment which they all kept in good shape.

I did a tally and discovered we had paid these new guys about $1800 for seven months of cutting! Wow! We started exploring other options. We found a guy willing to do the work for $20 an hour but we would have to provide the equipment. We figured the lawn mowing could be cut back to once every two weeks and we all think the lawn plus bank job can be done in no more than two hours. So about $80 per month for labour. or $560 per year.

I would like to go with cordless electric equipment simply because of the dependability and ease of use. My only concern is if the battery powered equipment will have the "oomph" to do the job, specially the trimmer for the bank. They advertise one hour battery life but Youtube reviews indicate this might be a bit of an exaggeration with reviewers reporting a more realistic 30 to 45 minutes of heavy duty work. Extra batteries are expensive, up to $300.  We will have to talk to some of the sales places in town to get some advice.

If we went this route the savings in the first year alone would pay for the equipment. The $1800 we paid this year less $560 for labour next year leaves over $1200 to buy equipment, This is going to be the way to go!

making money in lawn mowing

Wednesday, October 10, 2018

Old Friend Visits

The phone rang, Norma answered and a voice from the past asked, "How do I get to your place?" It was Al Cotton, our friend since the 60's! Al and I worked together in a Vancouver gas station in about 1963. We became friends and I actually met Norma in a roundabout way through Al. He now lives in Kelowna where he runs a sailboat charter business, Go With The Wind Cruises with his 26' MacGregor sailboat, Cat's Ass.

He had been on a solo tour of Northern BC but got chased down to the Island by too much rain in the north and decided to visit Vancouver Island's Long Beach. We enjoyed a couple of beer (only a couple - BIG change from the old days!), a pizza and endless conversation before our age caught up to us and we all headed to bed. Al was on his way to Tofino after breakfast. It was a short but great visit!

Monday, October 1, 2018

Laptop Arrived!

Purolater delivered my "new" reconditioned Dell laptop this morning and I have just set up Windows 10 Home on it. The condition of the laptop was listed as "Grade B" but I can see no flaws at all, it appears perfect. So far, so good.