Tag: yardwork


When I got home from the lake, I discovered that the day game of the Yankees/Red Sox game was going to be televised after all (on NESN) and that I would be able to watch it. I was planning on mowing the lawn, which was in desperate need of mowing. I figured I’d do the front yard first and do the back yard after the first game (their second day/night double-header in a row).

I put on the the iPod and off I went mowing. I’d mowed about 3/5ths of the front yard when I felt a tight pinch at the base of my right calf, and looked down to discover that I’d been stung by a bee. It’s the first time I’ve been stung since I was a kid. As it turns out, I must have run over a bee hive under the grass because when I looked back, there were bees all over. It was almost game time, so I decided to finish mowing after the game.

In the meantime, I had to deal with the sting, and I had no idea what to do, other than make sure to get the stinger out, which I did right away. I called Mom and Dad, figuring they’d know what to do about a bee sting. My initial concern was that in the intervening decades since I last was stung, I might have developed an allergy to the venon and ended up with anaphalaxis (watching too much House, I suppose). They told me to ice it down. At this time, here’s what it looks like:

I forgot how much bee stings actually hurt, given the size of the stinger and the amount of venon contained therewithin. It made my curious as to why bee stings hurt so much. So I did a little research:

  • First, a honeybee sting hurts more than a bumblebee sting. The reason is that a honeybee leaves her entire reproductive system behind with the stinger, which continues to pump venom even after it is released. Honeybees sacrifice themselves in the attack. Bumblebees, on the otherhand, do not commit suicide upon stinging; they sting, inject some toxin, and pull out. So honeybees inject more toxin than bumblebees.
  • Honeybees release apitoxin, an acidic toxin with a pH somewhere between 4.5 and 5.5 and have the ability to inject a total of 0.1 mg. Apitoxin is similar to snake venom. Interestingly, apitoxin can be deactivated by ethanol (grain alcohol)
  • If a honeybee is fatally injured, in addition to releasing apitoxin, it also releases alarm pheromones. If a swarm or hive is nearby, these pheromones will attract other bees and excite them into a defensive mode.

I suspect is was a honeybee that stung me because (a) the stinger was still in the wound at first, until I brushed it off (it wasn’t deep); and (b) it wasn’t until after the sting that the other bees showed up.

As a precaution, in addition to icing down the sting, I took some benedryl (an antihistamine) to counteract the itchiness common to stings.

Summer cleaning, part 2

Well, the front and back yards have been mowed, I trimmed ivy and bushes and bamboo and branches. I’ve vacuumed the house, cleaned the dishes, done three loads of laundry, and emptied all of the trash. I still have to clean up the kitchen, dust the furniture, and mop the floors. I also have some grocery shopping to do. But first, I need a shower!

Here’s the “after” picture of the backyard, following it’s crew cut. Much better, right?

I’m off to the shower, then the grocery store, and then I’ll finish up the chores. Dad gets into Union station at 6 PM, which means he won’t be here until close to 7 PM. I may even have some time to squeeze in some cardio at the gym between now and then.

Summer cleaning

Today is a big cleaning day, a chance for me to catch up on chores that have been blatently ignored for too long now. Fortunately, I managed to get a pretty good night’s sleep last night, and woke up this morning feeling better than I felt after that horrible allergy attack yesterday.

Among the things I have to do today: clean the kitchen, mop the floors, vacuum the entire house, dust the furniture (so that the entire place smells like Pledge), get rid of trash and run a bunch of laundry. In addition to that, I have to mow the lawn, which is somewhat overgrown right now, especially in the backyard, because I have ignored it for too long. In fact, this is what the backyard looks like at this moment:

It’s so thick, that I’ll probably have to bag the grass as I cut it or I won’t be able to get through it all, even with the new mower. So with all of this, you can see, I’ve got my work cut out for me today. Hopefully I can manage to get it all done before Dad arrives later this afternoon.

100 hours of fun

My brother gets into town this evening and that marks the beginning of about 100 hours (from this evening until Monday evening) of fun. We’re driving up to Cooperstown, New York tomorrow, with a short stop in Albany along the way to say hello to Eric.

Well be in Cooperstown Friday evening, all day Saturday, and then we leave Sunday morning for New York CIty. We’re spending Sunday night in NYC and driving back home on Monday. That gives us some time to hang out with jen_ashlock and Jason.

I’m really looking forward to it.

In other news, my lawn mower arrived and I cut the grass with it and what a pleasure it was compared to the old thing I’d been using these last four years. First of all, its brand new and is nice and shiny. Second, it’s quite, even though it’s twice the horsepower of my old mower. Third, it took one easy pull of the starter cord to get the thing going–unlike the 11-15 pulls it took to get the old mower going. There were times when, once I got that old mower started, I was too tired to mow! But not anymore! Finally, it’s a got a rear bag attachment so if I wanted to, I could finally bag my grass!

A new lawnmower

Well, I tried once again today to get the old mower to start and couldn’t. After 4 full years of service, it has finally given up on me. (Keep in mind, it was old when I bought it for $50.) So this evening, I ordered a brand new lawn mower from Sears, to be delivered in 5-7 days. It’s got a rear bag so I’ll be able to bag my grass! It’s got more horsepower than my current mower. And it’s brand spanking new!

Anyone know how to dispose of old mowers?

I’m renewing my lease on the house I’m renting and for the first time in four years, my landlord is raising the rent in order to keep up with rising property taxes. It’s not that bad, really. The rent increase is $30/month, which is well within my means to afford.

We all fall down!

I spent a good portion of the day today cleaning house. I vacuumed, dusted, swept, mopped, scrubbed, you name it. I even cleaned the inside and outside of all of the windows. Today was also the first warm and humid day of the year, reaching well into the 80s with humidity to boot. It was the conjunction of floor mopping and humidity that caused the accident.

I was in my office when I heard my phone buzzing out in the kitchen. I was expecting a call, so I dropped what I was doing to ran to the kitchen, the floor of which I had mopped several hours earlier. As soon as my foot touched the kitchen floor, it went out from under me, and I tumbled back, knocking down a chair, knocking my phone on the floor, and landing on my elbow.

Luckily, neither chair, floor, phone or elbow was seriously injured. It was the first time I had taken a dive like that in years.

I pieced it together later. The high humidity made it almost impossible for the floor to dry quickly and what, in winter, takes a short time to dry, today took hours. It was the slick floor that caused me to slip, and therefore, my misplaced desire to clean the house it to blame.

As a follow-up to my lawn mowing earlier in the week, I filled up on gas and prepared to mow the back yard today. And wouldn’t you know it, after praising my lawn-mower to the skies earlier in the week, I couldn’t get it to start today. Maybe it was the humidity.

Lawn mowing capacity

I tried an experiment this afternoon when I cut the grass. Normally, I fill up the mower with gas before I cut the yard, but I wanted to see just how far I could go without filling up. (Also, I was feeling lazy and did not want to go back out to the gas station this evening.) I knew that I had already done the front and back yards once on the gas that was already in the tank, so without filling up, I proceeded to cut the grass.

I was able to mow all of the front and side yards, and a few strips of the backyard (perhaps 1/5) before I ran out of gas. That means I can do about 1.6 yards worth of mowing on a tank. It’s an old and inefficient mower, but it cost me $50 when I got it and it hasn’t given me trouble so what the heck.

Got the green light

There are 4 stop lights between my house and the grocery store, and in the direction that I go, I am traveling perpendicular to the prevailing traffic, which means I usually have to wait a while. This morning, I hit all eight lights (4 going, 4 coming back) when they were green. I didn’t have to stop for a single light. That has never happened to me before since I’ve lived out here.

It’s overcast this morning, but the bulk of the rain is done, so when I got back from grocery shopping, I cut the grass and now I feel much better. The grass had grown quite long since I last cut it, 9 days ago, but it’s nice and short now and should last the week before I have to cut it again.


I cut the grass this evening when I got home from work. It’s really quite nice out right now. Temperature is hovering around 70 degrees and there is a very pleasant breeze blowing. It smells like coumarin (the chemical that gives freshly cut grass it’s smell) and that fragrence is being carried on the breeze.

No running tonight since I ran last night. I think my shoulder has completely healed however, so I may start up on the pushups again. (I keep saying that, but I seem to avoid actually doing it.)

More yard work

It was another warm day today, although overcast for most of the day, and I figured I’d better take advantage of it before it cools off again. Today I spent some time in the backyard. I cleaned up the back porch area (which really needed) it, raking up another 2 or 3 bags of leaves and other junk. I also cut up a bunch of bamboo, which made the backyard look a little less cluttered.

Yard work

It’s another beautiful day in Maryland today and my intent was to spend as much time outside as possible. To that end, I just finished 3 hours worth of yard work where I raked and bagged 17 bags worth of leaves and other accumulated junk. That was just the front and side yard. I still need to do the backyard but I need a lunch break. The front yard looks great, however, and I’m pleased I got as much done as I did.

I’m going to wash my car at some point this weekend, and I also have some bamboo to cut up so that it can be picked up on Monday, but right now I’m starving and could go for some lunch.

I listened to nearly 60 songs during the 3 hours it took me to do the front yard.