Thursday, July 24, 2014
Tuesday, July 22, 2014
New mower on left - old mower on right - already on craigslist for $1200.
I had to wait until 1998 when I was 50 years old to get my first riding mower. I was recovering from cancer surgery and Lulu was feeling sorry for me. I got a Honda 1011 Rider with a 30 inch blade. When we moved to Tallahassee in 2004 - we decided to hire a lawn service for $45 a week - and we sold the Honda.
In 2010 we bought the brick house with the 1.4 acre lot and a bought a John Deere 48 inch wide belly mower. It has served us well. Usually I could mow the lawn in a little over an hour. In 4 years I used it for 125 hours - cutting the lawns of both of our Seminole Drive homes.
I always envied those "bump steer" mowers - the ones that have two tillers. Since we are now "cracker rich" from selling the other house - I decided it was time to get one of those little sports car types of a lawnmower. I have been shopping quite a while.
The official name of the type of mower is a zero turn. By pushing one handle forward and the other one back - you can turn on a dime. I remember as a kid - at the fair the farmers would do tractor square dancing. With one of these zero turn mowers you could be a ballerina.
Monday, July 21, 2014
This is Jackie and Tami's ranch home - high in the mountains of Virginia. I purchased that van in Florida for Jack. They converted it into a camper - with stove - frig - bed - toilet - AC - generator.
A propane tank helps power the house in winter. The synthetic wooden deck is really nice. We had supper there. In the tent is Jackie's childhood car - a 1980 Pontiac Fiero.
The barn has two tractors inside. The garden was in full bloom.
The white door is a private entrance to the basement. It could easily be a nice full separate apartment. the French doors into into a big hot tub spa room.
We ate breakfast at a quaint little country diner - note the sign about Rural Retreat.
Lulu's brother Jack Cox left the Tamaqua Valley early and moved south. He ended up in a town called Rural Retreat VA. It was once the Cabbage Capital of the world. Now it is just a small Appalachian town of 1400 people. Jack is a manager at a plastic plant just down the road.
Rural Retreat sits high in the mountains. In the winter it is a south capital - but during our visit - the weather was beautiful. It was clear and sunny and at night it dropped down to 48 degrees.
Jack has lived in this brick ranch home for 10 years. He is very handy - doing most of the work on the home himself or with the help of Tami. The main floor has real oak hardwood floors. It has a full finished basement with an exercise room and a bar room - plus two bathrooms. Out back - he built a deck of synthetic wood that is made at his plant. The deck is 3 years old and looks like brand new. No weathering - no paint - no wood rot. The house has several fireplaces and stoves for the long cold - snowy winter.
They have a garden and grow a wealth of fruits and vegetables. They have two tractors - one for mowing their large yard - the other one for plowing the driveway.
Rural Retreat is just a mile off Interstate 81 in Virginia.
On the way home from visiting Drew - Keith - and Jackie - we stopped at the newest Tesla charging station in Tifton GA. It is right along I-75 behind the Starbucks. There are 8 "pumps" where you can plug any electric car in to re-charge it.
Tesla has put up 96 of these free charging stations - free to owners of Tesla autos. By this time next year they plan to have almost every one within 50 miles of one of these stations. If we had a plug-in Prius - we could charge it there too.
It is really just a fancy thick extension cord. It can charge the car to 80% full in 20 minutes. Range is about 300 miles on a charge.
Tifton is less than 100 miles from our home. To go from Atlanta to Orlando - one could stop here to get a charge and complete the trip.
The Tesla starts at $70000 - although at the dealership most of them had a $90000 sticker on them. Tesla is a great car - fast - safe - quiet - luxurious - energy efficient. I would love one but cannot justify the cost - even with free "fuel."
Tuesday, July 15, 2014
Saturday, July 12, 2014
The eternal teenager has admitted she is a little elder than she looks. Lulu turned 60 today. I say that with pride because of how good she looks - and how funny she acts. She had led a very full life and it has only started.
Now that she is 60 and I am 66 - the age difference does not see too bad. When we eloped in 1971 - it was a scandal. I had just finished my first full year of teacher - and Lulu had a year of high school left.
Friday, July 11, 2014
Thursday, July 10, 2014
In Florida - we do not have to have the pollution equipment checked on our cars. We also do not have any inspection stickers at all. Before you start whining about safety - etc - accidents in Florida are like everywhere else. Accidents are caused by the nut behind the wheel.
If you are a backyard mechanic - you can alter your car almost anyway you want. If you draw the ire of a state cop you may be cited for something like windows tinted too darkly.
I took this picture of Jiffy Smog in Las Vegas. You drive up - they test your car - give you a sticker. There are all sorts of things you can do to trick the test. So it turns out being another waste of money. In my opinion - when someone says they are doing something to protect you - cover your wallet.
I guess those orange cones make it look more official.