We haven't purchased a lawnmower yet. With the cost of gas prices and the noise of gas mowers, we've been researching, researching, researching alternatives.

Our lawn isn't very large, so we thought a push mower might possibly get the job done with minimal noise and environmental impact.

Luckily, Eco-Wise rents one for $10 a day, so you can try one out before purchasing.


This lawnmower is about as basic as they come, although it does adjust to three different heights. And it's powered by muscles and sweat.

Mowing the shorter grass went pretty well, but the mower had to be pushed repeatedly (and with more effort) over the areas where the grass had had a healthy growth spurt.

After trying out the mower myself, I told Ronak, "Do this a few times a week and you can substitute it for a complete cardio workout."


We still haven't decided if this mower is the right one for us and our yard, but at least our grass has been mowed to a reasonable length, so we have time to think about it.

Well, we've gotten through our second storm in the new house.

It's scary when they come at night - even if you know they are coming. Something about being woken up by hail pelting against the window or flashes of lightning with pounding thunder or wind that sounds like it's prying your house apart board by board or a combination of all of the above.

Severe thunderstorms sometimes arrive with tornadoes, swirling destruction that sounds like a train rushing down a track.

Since we live near the railroad track, that sound cue won't be a lot of help. We won't know if we have a tornado or a late night freight run on our hands until we hear the whistle. By that time, it could be too late, so I check radar maps whenever I hear the wind gust threateningly.

Needless to say, I didn't get a lot of sleep last night.

And I was thankful this morning to look out the window and see the car in the driveway...


...our four trees still standing...


...and our flowerbeds intact.


And then I was thankful again that the storm had watered the grass and trees, so we wouldn't have to.

Our trees and grass are doing well. They are growing and green and healthy.

A lawn service stuck a flier in our door, possibly identifying the type of grass we have. But we have less of an idea about our trees. (We were told by the builder that a local nursery just planted whatever they had on hand at the time.)

The arrival of spring leaves have helped with identification some. We can now tell that the following tree is an oak.

oak tree

The other two trees in the front yard had beautiful pink buds, and are now leafy green. Obviously ornamental, but we don't know what to call them.

The side yard tree began with white buds and remains the biggest mystery to us.


Here is a close up of its buds and leaves:


So, if you have any idea what kind of tree this is, please let us know. Then maybe we can care for it in a more informed way, instead of relying on violent spring storms.

The finished island in the living room where we built it.

Lisa attaches cabinet door handle

But it looks so much better in the kitchen where it belongs.


Sorry you missed it, Brian!

Just when we thought we were past the hardest part...

butcher block top

...it's time for Ronak to flip the entire island upside down, so we can attach this attractive butcher block top with hinged drop leaf. (Do you see the error we made in this picture? The hardware doesn't line up. Yeah, we're going to have to fix that.)

island bottom

This is where the wheels will go...

adding wheels

...with this handy, special, little wrench.

Ronak attaching butcher block top to base

Luckily Ronak can fit inside the island, so he can finish attaching the butcher block top.

upside down island

Hmmmm.....looks good, but a little upside down. And this time, when Ronak flips it, the island's going to be a lot heavier.

Lisa attaches cabinet door handle

While Ronak flips the island, I attach a handle to the cabinet door.

first drawer in island

One drawer down! Four to go!

Ronak tightens the very last screw

And Ronak tightens the very last screw, attaching the cabinet door! Voila! Project completed!

Time to break out the drill and start putting in those missing holes.

Lisa drilling holes

If only we had realized this sooner, so I didn't have to climb inside the island to drill the holes.

Ronak assembling a drawer

There were several steps that went toward completing this drawer. Ronak is just putting on the drawer front. Then the final touch: the handle.


Looking good so far...

remaining hardware

...and we've definitely used up a lot of the hardware...

Ronak drilling

...but we are still missing two holes for pegs that will hold up the lower cabinet shelf.

Ronak with drill

Now, we have all the holes we need to finish the project.

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In 2007, we moved to Austin, and this blog chronicled our adaptation to Texas life: festivals, wildflowers, and bats - oh my! Then we had a baby, and that changed everything, so now, we blog about where to buy organic food, what parks are fun for babies, which exterminator is taking care of our scorpion problem. (You know, the usual parental concerns.)


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