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The Sacred And The Propane

Kis my Aster sells out to "the man" and can't wait to do it again!

I had the opportunity to go down to Orlando last week to check out Sears Craftsman’s 2009 spring lineup. Tractors and trimmers and blowers, oh my!

I have to confess, these things don’t often get me excited. After all, I’m fairly anti-turf and when we mow our lawn (which is rarely) we use either a vintage push reel mower we got from a garage sale, or in extreme circumstances we’ll fire up the old 1964 Bolens tractor I inherited from my grandpa. I don’t even use any other power garden tools, unless you count me powered by three lattes.

But I did get excited about what I saw in Florida and let me tell you why. Craftsman is really onto something with some new, eco-friendly technology, which is right up my alley. They are using propane canisters, the kind you see used for camping stoves, to fuel their new products. With the propane canister you can power a Weedwacker for two hours and it’s oh so quiet. Plus, using propane provides some benefits to the environment over gasoline: reduced emissions, reduced noise pollution and there’s no danger of spilling fuel everywhere.

And then there are some manly facts that I may be able to stay awake long enough to tell you about, like how propane won’t gum up the carburetor, and with propane there’s no need to mix gas with whatever you’re supposed to mix it with to run a string trimmer. Plus, the propane Weedwacker starts RIGHT away, no fuss at all. I took a video but I can't get it to post here, if you want to see how it runs click here.

The new Weedwacker will be available this spring and Craftsman is coming out with a propane-powered blower and mower this fall. So, if you’re in the market, hold off until then because who knows how long it’ll take until you can find a mower that runs on Hawaiian Punch! If the blower is as quiet as the string trimmer that is something to get excited about, because electric blowers do blow, just not in the functional way.

Ok, ready for the down side? And I’m not talking about the 50-degree weather while I was in Orlando. The down side is that I can’t find a way to recycle those little propane canisters … yet. The large ones that you use for your grill can be refilled but the little ones are un-refillable and un-recyclable. That doesn’t exactly put this technology back at square one, but it’s a stumbling block.

Still, I would totally buy one of these propane-powered wonders if I were in the market for one. I would just have to experiment with used propane canisters as bed edging, wind chimes, patio paving …you get the picture.

Join me in the forum and tell me about your many lawn and garden tools, or do syou seek garden activities that are better done by hand?. Tell me you have something cooler than a 1964 Bolens! Or at least try!