Giveaway: Win a Troy-Bilt TB4HB EC gas leaf blower

Happy Holidays from Troy-Bilt and A Gardener’s Notebook!

As part of my involvement in Troy-Bilt’s Saturday6 program, we are offering this giveaway to bring another bright spot into for holiday celebrations. Enter the contest using the form below. You need only leave a blog comment to enter, but you can gain another entry into the giveaway by joining the Gardener’s Notebook mailing list.This is a low volume mailing list that keeps you informed of the great content, reviews and events here on A Gardener’s Notebook.

Tb gas blower

Win a Troy-Bilt TB4HB EC gas leaf blower – $179.99 value

Description from the Troy-Bilt web site…

Clean up fall leaves quickly and easily with Troy-Bilt’s TB4HB EC. Or use this powerful, electric start capable blower in the spring and summer for all-purpose clean-up of yard debris, dust and dirt on decks, sidewalks, etc. The TB4HB EC features a 25cc, 4-Cycle engine with up to 150mph airflow velocity.

This giveaway ends on December 26, 2011 at 12:01 am EST. US Mailing Addresses only, please. Giveaway winner will be required to provide US Mailing Address for direct delivery from Troy-Bilt.

If contest widget does not show, please Visit the blog post page to enter!

Review: Troy-Bilt TBPS57 Lithium Ion Pole Saw

(Troy-Bilt provided this product as part of my membership in the Saturday6 program, but they do not control the contents and opinions of this review)

TBPS57 Lithium Ion Pole Saw

As part of my work with Troy-Bilt’s Saturday6, I am able to review a wide variety of their products. When I visited the Troy-Bilt headquarters earlier this year, we had a wonderful (if rainy) afternoon of hands-on product testing. One product that stuck in my mind was the TBPS57 Lithium Ion Pole Saw. I immediately saw how I could put this tool to use in my garden, which is surrounded with mature trees of all sorts. In most cases, these trees are far to large for me to prune myself, but they often need a bit of neatening between their larger, professionally done prunings.  This tool is excellent for just that purpose. I can imagine, too, that it would be greatly useful if you were maintaining a small orchard lot of smaller fruit trees. It could reduce the time needed for annual pruning dramatically.

TBPS57 Lithium Ion Pole Saw - 2

Battery Operated?

You might think that a battery-powered chain saw wouldn’t be all the special. I know my own past experience with battery-powered tools has always found them to be a bit lacking in both power and run time. I was quite amazed at how much of a “beast” this pole trimmer is. It is, at its heart, a chainsaw, as much as any smaller, gasoline-powered chain saw. When you first use it it is a bit of a surprise. I didn’t really expect that much power to be contained in such a small package. In my initial tests in the garden, it easily powered through anything I could throw at it. If anything, the power might convince you tackle limbs that are really too big for you to be operating on, so remember, safety first, as when using any power tool.


Unpacking and assembly of the pole trimmer was quick and simple. I will admit one mistake I made, though. After unpacking it, I looked in the manual to see that there was supposed to be a small bottle of chainsaw chain oil in the package. I didn’t find this when I first opened it and I think I probably threw it away with some of the packaging. This oil is a critical part of using the pole trimmer, so that was very silly on  my part. That said, a quick trip to the hardware store obtained the oil I needed and allowed me to get back to work.

When you are first assembling the pole trimmer, it can be a bit unwieldy, as the design is intended to balance the trimmer when the somewhat heavy Lithium-Ion battery is installed at the opposite end of the chain saw. Once that is installed, though, the tool balances well and and doesn’t feel heavy considering the type of tool it is. This trimmer uses the same battery as all of Troy-Bilt’s battery operated tools including the TBHT57 Electric Hedge Trimmer I reviewed earlier. They even have a handheld chainsaw that uses the same power pack. Be aware, when purchasing your first Troy-Bilt Lithium Ion powered tool, the battery and charger are a separately purchased item. They are not included with the tool itself.


As mentioned earlier, this pole trimmer easily managed anything I could throw at it here in my garden. This included everything from small twigs to large limbs up to 4 inches in diameter. I imagine it would handle anything as large as the 8″ saw could tackle. As with any chain saw, you want to familiarize yourself with proper cutting style including the use of release cuts so that the saw does not bind and you get the cleanest cut possible. The included manual gives you advice on how to do this if you are not familiar with using a chain saw. Although the pole trimmer is heavy, it is not exceedingly so. I was able to work for quite a long time without feeling much fatigue in my arms or back. The long pole and good balance allow you to easily use the weight of the tool to your advantage and easily move it into position. Everyone I have shown the tool to is intrigued about how it works and several expressed wishes to get one themselves. Once you see it in action, it is immediately clear to them how they might use it in their garden.

Safety First!

Like with most power tools, the manual included with the pole trimmer focuses on safety when using this tool. There are a lot of ways you could injure yourself with it if you use it improperly or without proper attention. I want to reiterate these safety notices. This is a chainsaw and all chainsaws are dangerous if used improperly. You are well advised to not underestimate this chainsaw based on its rather diminutive size. It will hurt you if you come in contact with the chain and it can hurt you if you use it improperly by getting it bound up in a limb. This is a very powerful tool and that can lead you astray sometimes. Make sure you are not working on a limb that is too large for you to handle. It is sometimes difficult to estimate the weight of limb that extends high into the tree. You don’t want it to come crashing down on your head. Cut it into smaller sections first and know where it is going to fall. Don’t overreach with the pole trimmer, either. You want to be on a stable footing when using it and not directly beneath the limb you are cutting. Again, be safe and this tool will work very well for you.

Overall, I am loving this tool and expect to be using it in my garden for years to come.

For complete information on the Troy-Bilt TBPS57 Lithium Ion Pole Saw, visit the Troy-Bilt web site.

TBPS57 Lithium Ion Pole Saw - 8TBPS57 Lithium Ion Pole Saw - 7TBPS57 Lithium Ion Pole Saw - 6TBPS57 Lithium Ion Pole Saw - 5TBPS57 Lithium Ion Pole Saw - 4TBPS57 Lithium Ion Pole Saw - 3TBPS57 Lithium Ion Pole Saw - 2TBPS57 Lithium Ion Pole Saw - 1

Photo: Fallen Leaves

It looks like got quite a bit of wind while we were visiting my sister for Thanksgiving. When we returned, we were created with this blanket of elm leaves coating everything in the front yard. Despite it looking like Fall, our temperatures have been in the mid-to-upper 70’s. Blah! I think I have Seasonal Effective Disorder (SAD) but in the opposite way of most people. Around the holidays I want the dark and the cold. Temperatures like these put me all out of sorts and make it feel ridiculous to put up Christmas decorations and lights. Oh well, must do out anyway, I suppose.

Fallen Leaves

Fallen Leaves

Even with all these leaves falling, though, this geranium continues to throw off flowers year round. It is a simple plant, but I always delight in seeing it as I enter the house each day. It is over 15 years old and was an original housewarming gift from my co-workers at the time.

Winter Geranium

Elsewhere: Video: TedTalks: A Garden in My Apartment

A great talk on a system to building a garden anywhere you have available space and light. Does it give you some thought? It sure does that for me. Check it out! and let me know what you think in the comments.

Could you use this in your house or apartment?

Would you try it out?

How could you make it better?

What would you grow using a system like this?

Watch “Britta Riley: A garden in my apartment” on YouTube

Troy-Bilt Pressure Washer – A Review and Giveaway!

My fellow Saturday6 blogger, Kylee, over at Our Little Acre is giving away a Troy-Bilt Chipper Shredder and you can enter with just a comment on her blog.

I reviewed an older model back in 2008 and it is a monster…in a good way. It can take your garden waste and turn it into wonderful wood chip or leaf mulch in seconds.

In just a week or so I will be announcing my own Troy-Bilt giveaway, so stayed tuned to A Gardener’s Notebook!

From Our Little Acre

Now for the giveaway! Last year, we got to test and review a Troy-Bilt CSV 206chipper/shredder/vacuum.  You can see my review here. We used it quite a bit this fall, and Troy-Bilt is letting me give away a CS 4265 Chipper Shredder (a different model) to a very lucky reader!

Read Troy-Bilt Pressure Washer – A Review and Giveaway! and enter the contest

Photo: Elm tree leaves turn for Fall

Elm tree leaves turn for Fall, originally uploaded by dewelch.

It seems like the Elm and Locust trees just discovered it was Fall. Within just a few days they have changed color and are dropping leaves at a high rate.

We don’t get a lot of Fall color here in Los Angeles, but these provide a splash of color both on the trees and on the grounds.

One more rain storm or bout of high wind and they will all be gone, I imagine.

Elsewhere: Enviro-Cakes terrarium giveaway at Our Little Acre

I entered this giveaway for this cool take on a terrarium from one of my fellow Saturday6 members — Douglas

Earlier this year, I received a new product introduced by Batson’s Foliage Group, a family-owned business in Florida, called Enviro-Cakes™. I’d read about it in their newsletter, wrote to Kelley to tell her how awesome I thought the product looked, and she offered to send one to me.

When it arrived, I got a kick out of the box and its handwritten labeling…

Read the entire article

Join the Gardener’s Notebook Mailing List!

Keep in touch with all the events and info at A Gardener’s Notebook! Join our mailing list today!


A few things done (or at least doing!)

I took a few minutes today to get the last 30 or so daffodil bulbs in the ground. We are expecting a significant storm over the weekend, so it is the perfect time to finish up that job. While I was out putting these bulbs in the ground I saw our first bulbs of the season popping up.

First Bulbs

First Bulbs 2011

Click for larger image

These are probably snowbells. I think these are typically the first bulbs to appear, but there is a slight chance they are paperwhites. The daffodils come up much later, so I should be ok getting them planted just today.

A little painting project

We are also planning on doing a little painting repair or, I should say, having someone do some painting repair for us. The painter was out today for an estimate We only need a small area painted. There is a selection of shingles on one part of the house which are peeling and are now more visible since we removed the large pine tree that stood in front of them. We are taking the opportunity to add some accent color to the house by painting this area a dark red, leaving the fake shingle white. You can’t see it in the picture, but the garage door on the opposite end of the house will also be painted the same color to keep a little balance in the coloring.

Here is a (badly Photoshopped (LAUGH)) before and after. The red will be much darker, I think than this, rather weak salmon color.

House color update before House color update after

Click for larger images

Pumpkins, maybe?

Finally, we are trying something with our last, rather rotten, pumpkin. Since the pine tree was removed and the stump ground out there is quite a mound of shredded wood and soil where the trunk had been. I dug out some space there, added a bit of homemade compost and chucked in the pumpkin. A few quick slices with the shovel opened it up and spread around the seeds. I finished with a topping of more compost and then leveled the area again. Who knows, come Spring we might see a few pumpkins sprout up there.

As part of this tree removal, we were already planning on planting some edibles in this area and an old rose bed that runs along the north side of the front yard. It is one place that gets some sun during the day. This pumpkin planting became the first step in the remodel of this area.

Finally, my picture didn’t come out, but the cherry tomatoes we have growing are just now starting to ripen. I was afraid they wouldn’t ripen at all, but they surprised me. Rosanne should soon be enjoying them in here homemade tomato, olive, spinach, pasta dish that she likes to much.

Keep digging!


Giveaway: Melissa’s Everyday Cooking with Organic Produce book

I have a copy of this book to give away and the contest will run for the next 2 weeks. You can enter with a comment here on the blog post, following the @gardenersnotebk twitter account or Liking the AGN page on Facebook.

You can read my review of this book in this blog post and see more information and reviews on
Continue reading Giveaway: Melissa’s Everyday Cooking with Organic Produce book →