People seemed to get a kick out of my post about tips that my wife hates so I thought I'd keep it.
I should let you know though that she doesn't hate all these things. She seems to range from strong dislike to tolerance with a dash of "my husband is odd". I should create a "Spousal Colour Scale":
Red: Strong Dislike
"There is no way we're doing this. I'm afraid Chidren's Aid will come for the kids."
"Bad idea. Rework it and maybe try again later after I've calmed down."
"I think you're odd but it's not worth the fight so don't push it."
"I was skeptical at first but it was a good idea after all."
Push Lawnmower (Level Green)
I hate gasoline mowers. Pulling that crank over and over, flooding the engine, the noise: not worth it. Plus I don't like paying for gasoline and the hassle of running out during the middle of a job and having to go get more.
That's why when we moved to our current house with a small lot I thought I'd try out a push mover and it works pretty well.
You get a bit of a workout pushing these things so I wouldn't recommend them for large lawns. I'd also suggest not buying the cheapest model out there which is what I did and ever season I have to replace a bolt here and there.
These reel-style mowers are actually supposed to be better for your lawn because they don't flatten it down and they give a cleaner cut than gas mowers. On the other hand if you let your lawn grow too long it will have difficulty cutting and your lawn will look spotty. When ever I'm overdue for a mow, there's always two or three dandylion stems which the mower can't cut. When the plants get too tall the reel just folds them down rather than cutting them.
I also hose down the blades and gears with WD-40 before and after every use to prevent rust and to stop it from schreeching as the wheels turn.
The push mower does a good enough job but I think very soon I may buy an electric mower.
Yellow, Let It Mellow (Level Orange)
As I've mentioned before we live in an town where your water bill is determined by how much water you use so I'm always looking for ways to cut down.
This reminded me of when I was younger and we lived in the country with a shallow well as our only supply of water. With a shallow well conservation was very important because you can run out of water during dry spells which actually happened a few times!
One of the things we did back then was to only flush the toilet after the second time urinating. It may sound gross but it was pretty common actually. You may think that smell is an issue but it surprisingly wasn't and if it was that was usually a sign that it was time to flush because somebody didn't count right.
Flushing an average toilet actually uses between 6-11 litres of water! That's a lot of water that can be saved by only flushing when necessary.
Unfortunately, my wife doesn't think this is a good idea . I can only "forget" so many times and "I don't want to wake the baby" only works when she's sleeping. Therefore I need to find a compromise (she also doesn't accept using the hedges in the back yard).
Due to this we're looking into converting our toilets over to the dual flush type which have two buttons on them to flush: one for a small flush for "liquids" and the other big flush for "solids".
The dual flush supposedly only uses one litre for liquids which is great...but I keep reminding myself that "forgetting" to flush uses zero litres...
FYI: If it's brown, flush it down.
Clover Lawns (Level Green)
My back yard is mostly clay and it's heavily shaded which makes it hard to grow grass. Not even "weed and feed" chemical sprays worked.
After 3 years of trying I decided to check out a book on organic lawn care and learned about clover. It turns out that years ago a lawn full of clover was seen as desirable and not just full of weeds. Clover also deposits nitrogen in the ground which helps other plants grow. As an added bonus it requires less mowing than grass.
It occured to me that if I couldn't grow grass, maybe I could grow clover?
I asked a few of my relatives what they thought and the reaction was pretty much, "Why would you deliberatly plant weeds?". Well, in my opinion, clover is better than clay mud and moss.
So after everybody said I was nut, I went to Canadian Tire and bought a bag of white clover. I heard clover was easy to grow so I just spread it around by hand, especially in the really bare patches.
Well, within a few weeks, with hardly any effort at all, clover started to grow! In fact, as I write this, the clover is the only thing growing in my yard this early in spring.
I've heard of people converting their whole property to clover but for now covering at least now my kids can play in the backyard without getting covered in clay.
The treehuggers got something right I guess.