Published August 2, 2022

Trials and Tribulations of Yard Work

Written by
Tisa Peek
| The Dakotan

North Dakota summertime brings a unique sense of urgency and pride when it comes to taking care of a yard. Maybe it’s because we have a limited season to enjoy the aroma of fresh cut, magenta, green grass, or it’s the season of competition on who can maintain the ultimate manicured lawn. Whether one lives in a subdivision or ranch yard, the struggles of yard work are real.   

Let me tell you, the challenge of keeping up a lawn began over thirty years ago, for myself. Historic equipment and tools have evolved to battery operated weed eaters and blowers. I don’t know if it is because I am mechanically inclined or because I acquire ‘used’ equipment, but this cowgirl’s years of experience can give you some interesting observations.  

Raised by a lineman and reminded every summer that my dad’s should look as pristine as the other NSP, back then EXCEL Energy was Northern States Power, lineman’s yards.  Not only did I have the task of our own three-acre yard and trees to maintain, but my dad invented a yard service for my brother and myself. The obsession stuck and here I am, still contemplating all summer how to keep the lawn mower, weed wacker and all fingers and eyeballs intact. 

The weed whacker may be my most favorable piece of equipment. From North Dakota to Wyoming to Texas and back to NoDak, I hauled a Husqvarna powered weed wacker. It would never start when you wanted it to. It was NOT push button or battery operated. No, it was pull start at least thirty times in the heat of the day, while holding on to the throttle at its magical starting point, just to get rolling as the string runs out.  

It required a special blend of mixed fuel. The additive bottles were either empty or I mixed the concoction improperly. It was still the kind of wacker you could bang hard enough on the ground, that if you had it strung properly, it would lengthen. I didn’t always get that lucky. Many days, reluctantly, I had to turn off the orange lever and take of the head of the threader mo-bobber and lengthen by hand. This trick still comes into play with my next, life changing, weed wacker.  

We all knew the Husqvarna weed wacker’s days were numbered. My uncle finally said, “Why don’t you try one of those battery powered ones?”  In disbelief that something so life-changing for my lawn game existed, I quizzed the next ten people I knew that had lawns. Sure enough, the next Mother’s Day, I became the proud owner of a DeWalt, battery operated weed wacker.  

Life was good, or so I thought. I learned the hard way, to always have one of those DeWalt batteries on the charger. Even when I was blissfully whacking away and had the luxury of not going from one fence to the other with it running the entire time, I would run out of battery. It never failed, someone in the household always turned off the power adapter switch to ‘off’ where my battery was charging. Ground zero, again. And, when we were up and running, I learned it runs out of string even more quickly than the deceased, Husqvarna. 

 Trying to get the end of the stringer mo-bobber was like learning a new language every summer. Some neighbor or drive-by would get the wave from, yours truly, so I could keep on whacking. With their assistance, I learned the DeWalt whacker is just too simple. The end cap doesn’t have to take come off to string it. Who would’ve thought? 

Thought I had it mastered after the last whacking session, but the banging didn’t work, and it wasn’t strung correctly. Again, ninety degrees and I stop every ten feet to hand string more length into Mr. DeWalt.  

Now, let’s get started on Mr. DeWalt’s cousin. My own cousin snuck out this amazing blower mo-bobber that could clear their driveway, garage, pickup bed, barn, deck of dust and debris in NASCAR speed. Enough power came out of this thing to blow my eyebrows off. You guessed it, a brushless, 20-volt DeWalt blower. Did I mention, battery operated? Yes, this was the new tool I was buying my husband for Father’s Day, knowing one hundred percent, I was the underlying new owner. Explaining my excitement for the new tool to my friend in Wyoming, she said, where have you been? Even Beth Dutton knows what a DeWalt blower is…. You know, to clean up the messes. Well, it can be used for dusting off snow as well. Purchase-justified.  

The only thing DeWalt I don’t have is a lawn mower. Now, because I’m still pre-historic; we don’t and never will own a robot-mower. The damage my son and I perform on our ‘way-used’ zero turn mower, I don’t even know the brand, but you get parts at Ace Hardware, is phenomenal. Easily said, we are winning this competition. The deck needs reattached every other mowing. I don’t know how it happens, but my elder neighbor always knows when it happens. My son or myself come over with the crowbar and the ‘look’.   

Our elder neighbor is a Vietnam Vet with a lot of stories, experience and always smells like a cigar. He isn’t afraid to bang as hard as I do on the weed wacker end and is missing a few fingers to prove it.  He helps replace the belts we break, on a regular basis, when my husband is gone for work, mostly all week. The least we can do is have the yard looking inviting.  

Maybe we cause more harm than we are worth, but I’m working on negotiations with DeWalt as we speak. I hear they need a spokesperson. While I’m at it, heading to the Ace Hardware, I heard they have a sale on Roundup. 

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