The toolbox: Lawn spreader; daffodil book; burned out light strings

  • Updated: June 24, 2014 - 1:40 PM
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The Ready2Go Spreader is a handheld, battery-operated lawn spreader designed for small spaces.

Photo: Akron Beacon Journal,

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the toolbox

Hand-held lawn spreader

The Ready2Go Spreader is a small spreader designed for small spaces.

The lightweight, hand-held device is battery-powered to create a steady, even spray of granular fertilizer or weed killer. It’s ideal for smaller lawns and places where a walk-behind spreader is difficult to use, such as tight spots, slopes and rough terrain.

The spreader comes loaded with one of five lawn-care products: Preen Lawn Weed Control, GreenView Weed & Feed with Preen, GreenView Crabgrass Control Plus Lawn Food with Preen, GreenView Lawn Food or Vigoro Weed & Feed. Each spreader is calibrated specifically for the product it contains and can be refilled with that product.

The spreaders are expected to be available nationwide in the spring. Suggested retail prices range from $24.99 to $29.99.

All about daffodils

Now that daffodils are done, you can recall their beauty through Noel Kingsbury’s book “Daffodil” (Timber Press, $27.50).

The book, richly illustrated by the photographs of Jo Whitworth, is a thorough treatment of the reliable spring flower. Kingsbury delves into its history and the origins of its name, explores the flower’s symbolism and explains its life cycle, how it’s classified and even its chemical properties.

Included are profiles of major daffodil breeders and conservers, along with a look at some important sites where daffodils grow.

And, of course, there’s guidance on growing the hardy plants in your own garden.

Burned out light strings

Q: My strings of miniature Christmas lights often burn out partially. Why is that? I don’t hook more strings together than what’s recommended.

A: That aggravating problem is rooted in the way miniature incandescent lights are wired.

Unlike old-fashioned C7 and C9 bulbs, miniature bulbs are low voltage. Household current is too much for individual bulbs, so groups of bulbs are wired together in a series that collectively can handle the higher voltage. The electrical current has to pass through all the bulbs in the series to complete its circuit.

Usually a series contains 50 bulbs. A 100-light string has two series; a 150-light string has three series.

If one bulb in a series is defective, loose or missing, the circuit is broken and the series won’t light. The sockets in miniature light strings often aren’t very sturdy, so bulbs can loosen easily, especially outdoors.

In some light strings a burned-out bulb can also cause the series to fail, but better-quality bulbs usually have an extra wire called a shunt that serves as a backup. The shunt is designed to keep electricity flowing through the bulb even if the filament has burned out, so the circuit can be completed.

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