Archived Posts from this Category

*yawn!* *stretch!*

Posted by on 21 Apr 2010 | Tagged as: General

Ahem! Wow. No posts in a year? What’s up with Betsie?
I don’t even remember…. … …

Well we were doing okay until August last year. I remember because when a bunch of friends came over for the Burger Summit and wanted to see Betsie that was when I first discovered that she had a wobbly wheel and wouldn’t run right.

When I finally found time to take her apart it seemed that the screws that hold the motor to the chassis had stripped out. The loose motor had spun around and that caused some of the wires to get melted and disconnected. So solder! My favorite. I fixed the wires and put the two screws that were still working in with some locktight and superglue. Not the best idea, but it worked for a week or two. Then the motor came loose again, but this time the wobbly wheel would not come off. It was like a joke where they tell you to pull the wheel right off and don’t tell you there’s two set screws holding it on. Except this was without the set screws!

Long story short, Betsie retired for the rest of the season and a plug in electric push mower was purchased. Reminds me of vacuuming. And wow, those branches on that tree are awfully low to the ground aren’t they? Betsie never minded, she’s just so short.

So now, months and months and 3 feet of snow later… I found some new and determined friends who gave the wheel another tug and managed to get it off!

Next we will re-tap the holes, try some slightly bigger bolts and see if lawn-mowing and web-camming can happen again.

Free Bird

Posted by on 17 Mar 2010 | Tagged as: General

Free Bird

Originally uploaded by Southernpixel.

Betsie needs more automation

Posted by on 09 Apr 2009 | Tagged as: General

I’ve enjoyed using Betsie’s Twitter account to notify her fans when they can see her out mowing on webcam…. but this plant that uses twitter automatically is really cool.

A Clover Lawn?

Posted by on 12 Feb 2009 | Tagged as: General

The house we bought 2 years ago had a nice lawn. Good sized with green, thick lush grass. The previous owner had a contract with ChemGreen or whoever… There’s still chemicals and stuff in the shed. But that’s not my thing. So I haven’t done anything except let Betsie chomp at it for the past two summers. And it’s not as green or lush as it used to be.

I think the biggest reason is that Betsie mows the grass so darn short! The max setting is just above 2″.

These days it seems like people are finally ready to think about moving to no-cut grasses or lawn replacement ground covers. I know I’m thinking about it for the back yard (maybe mint). For the front yard my only big plans are some type of vegetable/fruit garden… and they’re just plans. I want to have something for Bets to mow. Right now I’m leaning towards picking up some clover seed. Clover? Yep. Here’s some reasoning:

Ideal Qualities of a “Carpet” for Outdoor Living:

1. It stays a luscious green all summer, without being irrigated profusely (i.e., it’s drought-tolerant).
2. It is free of weeds, obviating the need to apply herbicides. Your carpet competes so well for growing space that the competition is choked out.
3. It doesn’t need to be fertilized.
4. It is also relatively pest-free, so that you don’t have to bother spraying pesticides on it.
5. It aerates the soil on its own, so that you don’t have to worry about counteracting soil compaction.
6. It is soft to walk on.
7. It attracts beneficial insects, including honeybees.
8. It rarely has to be mowed.
9. It doesn’t suffer the discoloration from dog urine known as “dog spots.”
10. And if, despite all these benefits, you should ever want to replace it with a different kind of green carpet, it helps you to do so by improving the soil on its watch. Its ability to aerate the soil and pump nitrogen into it means that succeeding generations of plants using that soil will be better off.
From here:

The biggest disadvantage to clover lawns seems to be that people don’t want lots of bees for their kids to step on. That’s where Betsie comes in. She’ll cut those pesky bee-attracting flowers off before the bees even know they’re there. This isn’t really a plus for me personally, but I can live with it.

Honestly, I’m not sure how the clover will do – but it should be better than the weeds that I have creeping into the yard from all sides now. The grass that’s there doesn’t grow at all in the shade under the trees, and the grass that’s there doesn’t seem to do well at keeping weeds out when it’s cut really short. Hopefully the clover will do better.

1270 Absolute Unique Visitors

Posted by on 25 Jun 2008 | Tagged as: General, lawnbott live

Lawnbott Live got linked to at Makezine last Friday night. Almost 500 visitors came to watch Betsie mow on Saturday. Now we are up to 1270 visitors for the past 30 days. Pretty cool. The biggest problem? The lawn is so short Betsie doesn’t want to go out to mow.

I’ve let her return to her automatic schedule. At 95% mowed Betsie will go home and schedule herself to return to mowing the next day (24 hours + waiting until the next scheduled window). I’m curious if it ever waits more than 24 hours to go back out? Some features of the lawnbott software are never noticed because us users aren’t patient enough to just let it do it’s thing (or it gets stuck and resets the automation). The rain sensor is an example. Apparently the lawnbott will unpause itself a certain time after quitting for Rain, but I’ve never seen that happen either, I always go out and unpause it.

I’ve been out of town, so presently we are at almost 48 hours of unassisted mowing. It’s fun to watch the cam from Denver! If you like it, submit it to Digg.

Almost Live

Posted by on 15 Jun 2008 | Tagged as: General

I’ve got the yard cam live all the time now, but still working on the first person lawnbott cam (it will be up and down). Both are linked from here:

Way to go (mow)!

Posted by on 19 May 2008 | Tagged as: General

From: Don
To: Sara
Date: Mon, 19 May 2008 07:31:46 -0400

Betsie finished by the way! The lawn looks great!


Yeah! The weeds were knee high on Friday night when I got home and found the package from KA.

I set Betsie to charging. When she was ready (or maybe before since I am impatient) she came out, did a spiral, crossed the yard, and went home. Total time, less than 10 minutes!

I began to fear for the battery. However, she was cutting better than ever and not getting stuck in the tall weeds. So I decided not to worry yet.

I’m not sure if it was the new blade, the new software, or maybe the fact that my grass isn’t too thick… but I have never seen a lawnbott do so well in such overgrown grass. I’m pretty the fact that the grass wasn’t too thick helped a lot.

I’m going to try over-seeding when I get home next week (I have a bag of seed that the previous owners of our house left, so might as well use it). Betsie keeps things a bit shorter than I’d like, and that lets the weeds come in more. Anyone have advice about dealing with that?

Lawnbott Live! At least for the moment…….

Posted by on 16 May 2008 | Tagged as: General

Check the box on the right side… if it’s black then Betsie is in her house charging. If it’s a photo then we’re offline. But maybe, if you time it right, you’ll see her out mowing!

If you are seeing this in your feed, come visit the site to see the cam. 🙂

Betsie, Back in Action!

Posted by on 16 May 2008 | Tagged as: General

Betsie, Back in Action!

Originally uploaded by sajego.

I let her charge for about 20 minutes and then got impatient. That was when I realized the charger was on the wrong voltage setting. I switched it, waited 5 more minutes and then sent her out. She made this lovely spiral, crossed the yard to the driveway and must have been cruising because she slipped out of bounds and stopped. I turned her around but she said Low Battery so I sent her home.

Just a little bit of grass to mow…

Posted by on 16 May 2008 | Tagged as: General

Betsie, Back in Action!

Originally uploaded by sajego.

Guess what FedEx finally left me! I was all ready to break down and ask the neighbor’s teenager to mow my lawn (he does my neighbors) since I’m out of town next week. But the charger is here and Betsie is working again!

In other news, the rose bush (they are Bright Pink) has a couple dozen blooms on it!

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