05 January 2009

A pine needle isn't that big...until it invites its friends.

As always: click on any picture to enlarge.

Upon buying our new home, we knew that our walk-behind mower was not going to hack our 1-acre property. We left it in Oregon with our renters. Once here, though, Dug was constantly in Philadelphia until Christmas break. Dug's friend, Chris, heroically stepped up and with his riding lawnmower, took on our post-Ike lawn. As their family and ours cleared tree limbs and anything too big to mow, Chris drove around our slightly wooded lot. Three hours later, our lawn was at the "HOA-approved height."

Stinkin' HOA. By the way, we got our first non-compliance letter! Every house in our neighborhood has a rather large lighted address number sign beside the road. (about 6' wide x 4' tall) The previous owners, for whatever reason, had decided to plant little shrubs at the base of theirs. It must have looked cute in the beginning, but they failed to check the "Mature Height" for these bushes. Yaupon Holly grow to 15-30 feet! They were having to prune them back into a ridiculous shape. (To understand, try this: put both hands in front of you like you're trying to get someone to stop their car, palms facing away from you, fingers held together but your thumbs are sticking out making "L" shapes. Now imagine in the middle of this shape is our house number and your hands are the shrubs.) Why would someone create work for themselves like that? It was ridiculous. The shrubs weren't happy. They wanted to grow tall, but half of their shape was pruned into a right angle. Luckily, at this point they had only achieved four foot in height. The non-compliance was that the address sign wasn't visible from the street. Our solution: rip the dang stuff out. No more pruning, no more worrying, no more visibility issues. Problem solved!

Back to my original post:
Dug knew that in the summer he would have to mow the lawn about once a week. Three hours every weekend to mow the lawn? Not going to happen. He did his research and found the Beast. I'm serious. It is as wide as a small car. The Turf Tiger by Scag. Rowr!! (Notice the tiger stripes on the wheel well. Methinks this takes the "tiger" theme a bit too far.) This baby has a six-foot deck (That's the mowing width. Don't feel bad, I didn't know either.) and can achieve 12 mph. It's a zero-turn, which means that he can do pirouettes in place atop his grass-eating monster. With this baby, our lawn only takes an hour. We even found a nice place for the kids to get a ride. (See Princess Cutie Pops, there?) Behind him is the sweeper. It's picking up the pine needles that fell between the first mow and now. Which brings me to the real point of this post, beyond the introduction of our Turf Tiger!

Below, you'll see various needle/leaf piles dumped by the sweeper. What do we do with them? No yard debris bins here. You either throw them in bags and put them on the curb or...burn 'em! Back in Oregon we could only burn three days in April each year. Here in Texas, living in the county, we get to burn whenever we want! Woohoo! Bring on the bonfire!

Here's Dug, feeling that special feeling that men do when they are staring at something that they have lit on fire. Look at those boys. You know in their heads they're thinking, "What else can we burn?"

What we didn't realize is how long it takes an acre's worth of pine needles to burn. Three hours later, the piles were finally reduced to one glowing, smoldering heap. Periodically, until we went to bed, Dug and I would go out and turn the pile and it would catch aflame all over again. We would stand and stare, there is something almost mesmerizing about fire, especially at night, and then go back in.

I'm liking Texas...


Kallie said...

glad to hear you are liking Texas. We have a mower like that (not same brand). I think it is Jeremys favorite thing to do on nice days. I have drove it twice once crashing into the kiddie pool and once laughing so hard I could stop or steer so needless to say I am not allowed on the mower... Kallie

Tricia said...

Dug gets going on that thing and it's all smiles and this crazed look in his eye. I say whatever helps to get the lawn mowed.

I can totally imagine the same thing would happen to me if I were given that sacred position of "driver." (I'm definitely going to have to try though, aren't I?)

mej said...

You get to burn things. Who wouldn't like that? :)

I like Oregon, they have Sweet Potato Fries :) well, that is, until I ate the last one.

MotherGeese said...

holy cow that is a serious mower!

Tricia said...

look mej! i'm just trying to see the good things here and you have to go and bring up bv's sweet potato fries? cruelty in its pure form!

g - you should see it in our garage! outside it looks big. in there it looks gigantic! it takes up an entire bay of our 3-car garage!

mej said...

you shoulda said, "look mej, i'm just trying to see the 'bright' side of things" then you could've said, NO PUN INTENDED :) WA TAH!!!

Tricia said...

your comedic ability knows no bounds. i literally laughed out loud. :-)

ames said...

Um, you might want to check out this website about TX burning laws:
=D But if you are allowed to, can we bring our needles over? hahaha. There sure are a lot of 'em this time of year, even in our little yard.

Tricia said...

thanks a lot miss rainy parade! but luckily we are outside of a municipality, in the county and our burning is to dispose of plant waste generated on our own property. pbbbbttt! (i did check that doc out though) ;-)

Quentin said...

I'm with you on the HOA. Next time you have a fire, through a be...errrr...glass soda bottle in it, let it get hot then spit on it. Wah lah...sophomoric fun!!!!Also non dairy coffe creamer or instant potatoes...verrrrrrry flammable. Heh heh FIRE! FIRE! Heh heh heh