Saturday, October 20, 2012

Modern material culture: hand-held rotary broadcast spreader

In March of 1997, at Twin Oaks Hardware, we bought aan E-Z hand spreader, marked "by Republic" and also marked "made in [depiction in black and white of the United States flag] the U.S.A."; it cost $9.99. We'd be using it still, except that the plastic spinning handle of the crank was stepped on and broken off. In haste, a Scotts HandyGreen II spreader was picked up at Great Outdoors, because it was about to rain and we had a bit of lawn fertilizer on hand. It cost $22.99 and isn't worth a bit of that. The crank-handle is puny, the crank turns with effort, and the "ergonomic" brace leaves bruises on the user's arm. At Shoal Creek Nursery, we found an EarthWay EV-N-SPREAD 3400 hand seeder/spreader. It's made in the U.S.A. and cost $19.97. The crank-handle is skimpy, but not as skimpy as the one on the Scotts device and the crank turns better than the one on the Scotts, also. It would still be wonderful to figure out a way to rig a handle for the E-Z spreader.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Modern material culture: favorite window fan

Many years ago, two fans came into this household, which does not have wiring modern enough to support even a window air-conditioning unit. They were lightweight and very quiet, and they moved lots and lots of air, way more than those silly "twindow" fans, which circulate practically none. Apparently, people are fooled, though, and buy those worthless fans with two sets of blades. Our fans had a sealed lubrication system. First they squealed a little when starting and then they wouldn't start at all. Fan number one gave up the ghost at the end of last summer and fan number two did it a couple of weeks ago. There is nothing like these on the market now. The model was a Duracraft DW-622, made in China, with a limited 10-year warranty. The box said: "side screens adjust to fit window widths of 20-1/2 inches to 35 inches; mounting bracket included for slider and casement windows." Duracraft was sold to Honeywell in 1996; Duracraft and Honeywell were sold to Kaz Industries in 2002. Kaz itself is now owned by the Helen of Troy people. When I called the toll-free telephone number on the box (800-554-4558), I reached a pleasant person at Kaz, who reported that it's been quite some time since these fans were made and that only dual window fans are now available. Duracraft was at 355 Main Street; Whitinsville, Massachusetts 01588. So far, we've found no substitute for these fans and nothing even close to them.

Monday, October 01, 2012

After the rains

Leaves of fancy anemones are appearing. There are flower buds all over the Bright Lights cosmos. Oxblood lilies are sending up leaves, and so are spider lilies and grape hyacinths. There are more flowers on the plumbago than there've been for a long time. Morning glories and four o'clocks are blooming again. Last night we did without any fans.