Monday, June 30, 2008

Weed Eater Pain

When we moved into this house in 2003, I bought a weed-eater. The British would call it a strimmer. In French, it's called une débroussailleuse.

Estragon, or tarragon. One of two plants this year.

It's a big model, heavy, with a two-stroke engine, bad for the environment. But our half-acre was covered in two-foot high weeds and we needed something to tackle that. So we bought the big boy. It worked great for us. The weeds got whacked and the yard has been under control since. But using this big honking weed whacker for weekly trimming is next to impossible.

Lavender in the herb garden.

First, and foremost, there is the string. The nylon cord that actually cuts the weeds ran out. I have tried and tried and tried, but I cannot wind the replacement cord onto the spindle in a way that makes it work. In other words, once the cord is used, one is supposed to be able to tap the spindle on the ground and new cord should unwind automatically, be cut by the handy little cutter blade, and away you go.

Tomatoes, peppers, and eggplant, just starting out.

But no. Once the factory-installed cord ran out, I did my best to replenish it, but it just will not work. Plus, the darned thing is too big and heavy to do the normal yard trimming I have to do. Add to that that I have to buy two-stroke oil and mix oil and gas to fuel it. Yuck.

A red bell pepper plant. Long may it grow!

I got it out this weekend and re-wound the string. I started it up and did some weed whacking in the herb garden, and out on the side of the road along our hedge, where the weeds had gotten pretty thick. It was a pain, but it worked. But the string still won't self-feed.

The weedless roadside, after. I didn't think to take a "before" shot.

We're thinking of getting ourselves a smaller, lighter, electric model for everyday use. Well, not every day, but you know what I mean.

This is what the weeds looked like before, only next to the hedge.

I'm certain the neighbors are sighing, finally, he cut those darned weeds.


  1. Your newly trimmed roadside looks very nice! I can relate to your weed whacker problem. My husband gave me a very heavy duty edger a few years ago. OK, I admit it, I asked for it for my b'day. Dumb or what?
    Our back yard slopes slightly in two directions and trying to push this three wheeled Husky up even a slight incline is almost more than I can manage.
    I agree that electric yard tools are the way to go!


  2. It's almost impossible to replace the string in those weed whackers - I wonder if they make them that way on purpose, so you have to always get a new one! Mine is battery operated, like it a lot but I only get about ten minutes before the battery needs to be recharged.

    My lawnmower is electric, which I love. But I am a menace with it - turns out those orange extension cords aren't all that visible. I've already mowed through two of them......

  3. bettyann, one of the criteria for buying a house in France was that the property be relatively flat. We had enough of the hilly terrain in San Francisco!

    quinn, my hedge trimmer and chainsaw are electric, but the mower isn't. I'm afraid I'd have the same problem with the cords. And there are too many trees in my yard to deal with a trailing cord!

  4. I have always wanted one of these! Thanks for writing about it! Thanks for the article! It was a lot of good info.


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