EGO Cordless Lawn Mower

Tested by Winding Pathways LLC
An independent review of the EGO Cordless Lawn Mower
A WOMAN’S PERSPECTIVE

Winding Pathways recently received a loan of an EGO Cordless Lawn Mower. For several weeks both Rich and Marion used it in the various ways we’ve used our gas power mower. These include conventional and some non-conventional ways we mow.

Just What Is a Cordless Mower

Lights on EGO lawnmower.

The EGO cordless lawnmower even has lights!

Electric mowers have been on the market for years, but they’ve been corded, meaning they have a long wire and need to be plugged into an outlet to function. They are quiet and low maintenance but have two disadvantages. First, they are only useful as far as the cord will reach. Second, the cord itself is both a trip hazard and a shock hazard. There’s the possibility that the mower could accidentally cut the cord, exposing the user to a hefty shock.

In contrast, the EGO mower is cordless. It operates on a 56-volt battery that is placed in a compartment on the mower deck. This modern lithium-ion battery packs plenty of power and runs for about 45 minutes before its depleted and needs recharging. There is no cord to tangle or cut. And, it even has headlights!

CORDLESS VS GASOLINE MOWERS
Gas and EGO cordless lawnmower

Comparison of a gas mower and the EGO cordless lawnmower.

For years we’ve used a conventional gas-powered mower on our 10,000 square foot conventional lawn. That’s about a quarter of an acre. We also use it to create pathways in our prairie labyrinth and through the prairie behind the house.  Each fall we use the mower to grind up large prairie grasses and flowers.

We found the EGO as effective, or more so than the gas model for all our needs.  It is truly amazing. Here are some positives to the cordless mower:

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Update on a Young Redtail Hawk

Hawk in wading pool

Young hawk cooling off.

On May 31st just before we were leaving for an Outdoor Writers Association of America Conference, a friend messaged pictures to me of a large bird in her little dog wading pool.  It looked like a hawk of some sort. The day was super hot for late May and the bird seemed distressed.  Soon it wandered off.

Rich and I drove to our friend’s home and looked around, finding the bird burrowed into the cool, wet soil shaking its head as gnats and flies tormented it.  I emailed Dave Coates who has worked with eagle counting and asked if he had contacts for someone to rescue the bird.  He suggested the Mcbride Raptor Center that I knew had closed.

Then, Rich reminded me of Phil who works with raptors at the RARE group. (Raptor Advocacy, Rehabilitation, and Education is now the contact group).

I buzzed True Value on Mt. Vernon Rd. and the staff kindly put me in touch with Phil.

That is where our involvement stopped.  And, I had wondered several times since the outcome.

Dave emailed me in mid-June because he had also wondered about the outcome.  His email spurred me to follow up. Here is Nancy’s reply.

“The red-tailed hawk was taken to the RARE center by Phil where they fed her, gave her fluids and made sure she was healthy, then returned her to a tree in our yard. They thought the parents would find her and help her until her flying feathers were more mature. She stayed for about 24 hours but then she was gone. We’re hoping she reunited with a Mom hawk. Actually, I keep thinking I’ll see her in the wading pool again someday.”

So, all is well that ends well. This is the second raptor rescue of the season we have been involved in. Many thanks to folks who care enough to follow through.

Mugging Barberry

AmeriCorps and Volunteers

It’s a tough task eradicating Barberry.

One pleasant Saturday morning a couple dozen heavily armed people walked to the interior of Faulkes Heritage Woods. Their weapons were those used to help heal the forest and included thick leather gloves, lopping shears, hand saws, and clippers. They were out to defeat Japanese Barberry.

For two hours they attacked a huge patch of Japanese Barberry that had infiltrated the Woods. Grasping small ones with both hands people yanked them from the soil, shook them off and placed them so the roots would dry out and not re-root. In winter, when the Barberry has berries, the plants are placed on tarps and hauled off so the berries do not drop and root. Ones too big to pull were cut off at ground level.

Volunteers were organized by the Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation. It holds a conservation easement on the property that’s owned by the Marion City Parks Department. Park staff helped, and so did a crew of young people enrolled in AmeriCorps. Various local volunteers pulled and cut.

In Its Native Habitat, It is OK.

Just why is Japanese Barberry such an onerous plant?  Actually, it’s a fine shrub in Japan and other parts of Asia where it’s native. There it has natural forces that keep its density in check. It was brought to North America as a landscaping plant because barberry is easy to propagate and transplant. It thrives in many locations, including compacted soil of building sites. It is an ideal landscape plant with one terrible trait.

Barberry

Barberry creates impenetrable tangles and changes the soil chemistry.

The plant produces red fruits in late summer that birds find delicious. They gobble them up, fly away, and poop the seeds out. So, birds snacked on barberries planted in yards and delivered the seeds into Faulkes Woods, where the seeds grow with gusto into impenetrable “pukka brush”.

Barberries crowd out native wildflowers and do much more damage. They actually change the soil chemistry to their advantage while making it less suitable for native plants. And, the dense shrubs create pockets of humidity. Each becomes an oasis of comfort for ticks.

Preserving and Exploring Faulkes Heritage Woods

Faulkes Woods Creek

Many hollows and ravines characterize Faulkes Heritage Woods.

Faulkes Heritage Woods is a gorgeous 110-acre steep forest adjoining Winding Pathways. We walk there often. Huge oaks and other native trees fill its wondrous spaces.  Wildflowers abound, especially in the spring, and birding is excellent for woodland species. Pileated woodpeckers are common.

A looping footpath starts and ends at a trailhead off Tama Street Southeast. Visitors can park along the street and enjoy the woods. But, they don’t have to stick to the trail that only covers a small area. Walkers are welcome to go off trail and scramble through the woods to enjoy its beauty and solitude.

For information:

Marion Parks and Recreation: (319)447-3580

Iowa Natural Heritage Foundation: (515)288-1846

Winding Pathways LLC.

Links to Stories of Wondrous Yards

The Gazette in Cedar Rapids has had several interesting nature stories connected to creating wondrous yards.  Living Section features “Birds do it, Bees do it”, “Add a Little Luck to Your Landscape” and Purslane (by Winding Pathways).  We loved reading about the birds and bees’ cooling strategies and welcomed the return of clover to yards as natural nitrogen fixers and deep-rooted water retention plants.  And, of course, we love to eat purslane.  Let us know ways you fix this healthy vegetable.

Also an article on wasps of late summer.  They are beneficial, ‘though deserve keeping distance.

First Chrysalis of Summer.

Success on the Bena Farm!

Best of all was the picture of the Monarch Chrysalis from friends, Nancy and Gordon Bena found on their farm.  Let’s keep encouraging habitat for insects that form the basis of life for many other creatures.

Channeling Wisconsin’s Wildlife

Susan Hrobar 
guest blogger

Fun Through the Window

We are fortunate to live at the end of a channel on a small lake.  Our north facing windows face our backyard and the channel.  One of our friends, who knows very little about nature, does not understand that after living here for 18 years, we still get excited when we see any wildlife in our yard and in the channel.  Most of my photos are taken from windows inside the house, hoping to not spook my photo subjects.  We frequently have deer coming through and we can tell which paths are being worn into the ground.  During the winter we’ve taken photos of deer amidst the falling snowflakes.  And, on our trail cam, we have “caught” coyotes, fox, raccoons, opossums, and neighborhood kitties.

Tom Turkey

Male Turkey

Strutting

This spring we have had a special bonus of occasionally watching a male turkey strut between our and the neighbors’ yards.  Usually, he is skittish and if he spots me looking out a window, he quickly moves out of sight.  One morning he must have felt like he was “king of the hill” and actually posed for photos about 20 feet from where I was watching him.  I have also watched him fly over the channel near dusk and find a tree to roost in for the night.  It always amazes me to watch these big birds fly through the trees, as normally you only see them walking and running on the ground.

Turtle Habitat

Turtles

Lounging on a log

Last summer when the water level was high, an oak tree uprooted and fell into the channel, covering both sides of the channel, and completely blocking our water access to the main lake.  Because the channel is narrow, there is little clear land on either side. The oak landed at the bottom of a steep hill, so removing it was quite a process.  It took a bucket truck on top of the hill, a small boat in the channel, lots of ropes, and a very talented arborist to take care of the problem.  This spring the water is lower and that downed tree is now a horizontal stump about four feet long partially submerged from where it fell.

The turtles love this new sunning perch!  We have never seen so many turtles at one time.  So far, our biggest count has been nine painted turtles on the log.  In spring we sometimes get lucky to see a large soft-shell turtle swimming in the channel and climbing out onto the shore.  The females are much larger than the males.

Wood Duck- Goose Dustoff

On a recent rainy day, we spotted a pair of wood ducks.  They are also very skittish and do not like to pose for photos.  We watched as they flew up into a large basswood tree and perched on the branch. I think that is the first time I have ever seen ducks sitting in the trees.  It was not a great day for photos, but I tried anyway.

The ducks flew to another tree, rested for a while, and then flew down to the water.  Mr. Wood Duck and Mr. (Canada) Goose then had an altercation on the grass with much hissing, honking, flapping of wings, and chasing.

Wood Duck

Male wood duck

Mr. Wood Duck was very proud of himself for chasing the goose parents and two goslings of out “his” channel.  Mrs. Wood Duck cheered him on while sitting on top of our boat motor.  My husband, John, had the fun of watching the goose and duck stand-off.  I was trying to get to a different window without all the raindrops obscuring my view.  That did not work, but it made me smile to hear John laughing and enjoying the whole spectacle.

Loving Our Wildlife

Even after nearly two decades, we still so enjoy our yard and sharing our stories about animals and plants.