Using the Kobalt Cordless Mower for the First Time
And Coming Up with New Landscaping Plans Along the Way!

Kobalt 40v Cordless Rechargeable Lawn Mower

It seems fitting that I spent my Earth Day using our new Kobalt 40V cordless rechargeable lawn mower. Well, actually, I spent the past two days using the mower. As suspected, the two batteries included with the mower do not provide enough power to mow our entire 3/4 acre yard in one session. I think I can have a way around that though!

First, let me tell you about the new lawn mower. Remember a couple of weeks ago when I did a bunch of research on cordless mowers? Yeah, well, I did what I normally do. Research, ponder, wait too long and then buy it at the last minute. The kicker here is that this Kobalt mower wasn’t even on my list! But I was shopping at Lowe’s on Easter Sunday and made an the impulse purchase based on time, distance and lack of Easter basket.

You see, the closest Lowe’s to the Dream House is about a 70 minute drive. I’m normally an in and out kind of shopper but after making the long trek from the house to the store, I decided to browse a little. And that’s how I happened upon this lawn mower, sitting out in the middle of the aisle, practically begging me to take it home. I did a full shopping circuit around the store before I doubled back and put the mower on a cart. So I guess it wasn’t really a total impulse – more like a considered impulse.

Here are my initial thoughts on using a rechargeable electric lawn mower:

  • It’s oh so quiet!
  • The push button start is the best!
  • Chopped down grass like a champ.
  • It also chomped up leaves pretty efficiently.
  • Although not self-propelled, the mower is so light that it’s still easy to push.
  • I wish the battery level indicator was more easily accessible. To check the battery level you have to stop mowing and open the cover on top of the mower.
Kobalt Cordless Mower Battery

The Kobalt cordless mower’s battery in its charger.

All in all, I’m quite satisfied with the mower. I already suspected that I would need additional batteries to mow the entire yard in one session so I’m cool with that. Honestly, I’m OK with the extra expense of a spare battery versus buying gas and burning oil.

Besides, I have a plan! Like most modern homes, our yard is covered in grass that requires mowing and manicuring. So what if we take out some of the grass and replace it with wildflowers and prairie grass? Not only will the yard require less maintenance with decorative grasses and wildflowers, it will also be a more era appropriate landscape for our 1917 ASB home. I’d much rather spend my summer afternoons enjoying cocktails surrounded by rustling prairie grass than mowing a darn yard!

— J. Blandings

Image: Mr. and Mr. Blandings

Mr. and Mr. Blandings Go to Auction & Buy a Cup of Coffee

Mr. and Mr. Blandings Visit a Sweeney Auction

Feeling like we’ve exhausted our search for Dream House furnishings at local flea markets and antique malls, The Mister and I are ready to jump into the world of auctions. Judging by our first visit to an auction this weekend, however, we’ve got a little learning to do!

We were probably quite a spectacle Saturday morning. Me, shivering in my maroon cords and plaid jacket, our out of town guest, Amy, hobbling around on her crutches, and The Mister, wide eyed and confused by the entire process. We endured bitterly cold wind (gotta love unpredictable Midwest springtime weather!) and almost bid on a few things but the auction was not much of a success. Sadly, we left empty handed and hungry but also looking forward to the next auction.

the people of the auction on Mr. and Mr. Blandings

Here’s what we learned in our first visit to an auction:

  • The auction starts with the small boxes of junk and nick knacks and then works its way up to the good stuff. You can imagine our dismay when we arrived at the auction at 8:30, excited for it to start at 9:30, only to learn that what we really wanted to bid on wouldn’t start until 1:00 or later. This is one time when being early birds did not work to our advantage.
  • There is no rhyme or reason to what goes for very little money and what goes for a lot. Sometimes the auctioneer would start at $5 or $10 and then quickly drop to $1 if she wasn’t getting bids. If you were fast enough to snatch something at $1, it could be quite a bargain. But it all happens so fast!

Auction shopping on Mr. and Mr. Blandings

  • You’ve gotta pay attention and jump in there! Perhaps it was because we had all gotten up so early to get to the auction, or maybe because we were freezing our asses off, but we were all a bit sluggish Saturday morning. There were a few items that I could have picked up cheaply but I hesitated too long and lost out.
  • They’re going to tempt you with the delicious aroma of loose meet sandwiches! Although I resisted the hot dogs and other lunch fare available at the auction, The Mister and I did buy a cup of coffee. Still, the smell of sandwiches had my stomach growling the minute we arrived. All I could think about was the leftover pot roast awaiting us at home!

a man eats a sandwich at a country auction

We left at about 11:00, long before they started taking bids on the furniture. With a list of things to do at home and early evening plans, we didn’t want to kill our morning AND afternoon at the auction. Now that I know that the bidding for big stuff happens later, we can plan accordingly for future auctions. Besides, by 11:00 we were all starving!

We’ll be back, auctions. And next time we’ll be prepared!

— J. Blandings

Images: Mr. and Mr. Blandings

Comfort Food: Easy Crock Pot Pot Roast

Slow Cooker Pot Roast Recipe on Mr. and Mr. Blandings

You’ve got to love a house guest who brings you frozen meat. When my friends Amy and Carey came to the Dream House for a weekend retreat in February, they brought along a few six-packs of beer (courtesy of the brewery where Carey works) and a chuck roast (courtesy of Amy’s meat CSA). The beer is all gone (chugalug!) but I just got around to using the roast this past weekend. And let me just say that a pot roast cooked in a crock pot is not only the easiest meal this side of fast food, it’s also super delicious!

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Buy Local: A Visit to WW Homestead Dairy Creamery Store

Cow mural on the side of WW Homestead Dairy buildingEven before we had the dream house, back when we only got out of the city a couple times per year, we’ve always made attempts to buy locally sourced and organic meat, dairy and produce. We’ve shopped at farmer’s markets and joined CSA’s and, of course, shopped at Whole Foods to avoid factory farmed food. Now that we have the Dream House, a whole new world of local food is right outside our door.

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