From the fine folks across the pond at The Telegraph, we learn about a 79-year old scientist named Robert Gailey who accidentally burned down his neighbor's front yard while he was removing weeds from his driveway. That won't seem SO impossible when I tell you that he was removing the weeds with a blowtorch. (Aaahhh. See? Another piece of the puzzle falls into place.)
Mr. Gailey said that it only took seconds before the manicured lawn and evergreen trees of his neighbors, Stuart and Phyllis McLean, were aflame. The shrubbery soon followed suit. The Fire Brigade was called and the fire was extinguished without damage to any homes. The spokesman for the Fire Brigade offered up these words of wisdom, "People should be extremely careful when they use blowtorch devices such as these in their gardens."
- Clearing patios, paths, gravel areas, rockeries and around ponds. (Rockeries? Who am I? Mr. Slate?)
- It can also be used to de-ice slippery frozen drives and paths.
- Cleaning gardens, sidewalks, driveways, retaining walls and shorelines (Shorelines?! The Weed Wand is apparently not for the mildly ambitious.)
- Also used for de-icing driveways and sidewalks, melting pond ice and thawing pipes. (Why is it that I'm in such a hurry for my pond ice to melt?)
Apparently, the benefits that outweigh the obvious and immediate danger of burning down everything which surrounds you and your weeds is that "the high temperature flame disrupts the cell structure of weeds, causing them to wither and die within a day or two without using expensive toxic chemicals" But wait! There's more! "Flame weeders are also useful to kill disease and pests and reduce the number of viable weeds seeds. Some gardeners and farmers periodically burn whole strips of land with fires fuelled by dry vegetation." Now they're killing disease AND burning down your neighbor's yard. Huh. Diverse.
I found it more than a little amusing that one of the product descriptions included this reminder at the end: "Always take care not to start a brush fire!" Will do!
This thing seems like it has been available to the public for general home and garden arson purposes for at least three or four years. While I don't find that to be overly amazing, what I do find amazing is that this is the first instance I've read of someone burning something down other than their weeds. I mean, come on, people are idiots. Why are there not more fires?
I'm sure that men love this tool. I'm sure that men would be perfectly willing to tackle any household chore as long as it involved the Weed Wand and it's 6-inch Flame o' Death. Removing weeds, removing siding, doing the dishes, whatever it is, if the Weed Wand is involved, they'll be there. I'm sure that women would enjoy this tool also, but I doubt that it would be with the same "Tim, the Tool Man, Taylor" sort of joy that men probably exhibit. I'm also thinking that when the guy brings home the Weed Wand (as he will purchase one within 2 weeks of either a) learning of it's existence through store display or media advertisement, or b) watching the neighbor strap his onto his back and incinerating the dandelions by the porch), his first words will be, "Isn't this cool?" And his wife's first words will be, "I don't know if this is such a good idea." (She will continue to utter that phrase until she actually tries it out herself. Then she will realize the power of the propane torch and become one with it.)
So I thought this was just going to be a story about a moron who burned down his neighbor's yard. And while it was sort of that (though the guy didn't sound like a moron), I became more interested in the side story: The Weed Wand. Who knew? (I might need one of these though. Stay tuned, won't ye?)Sphere: Related Content