Trimming. Edging. Weed-whacking. Call it what you will - this has basically been the bane of my lawn-work existence ever since I got $20 from Dad for doing the yard on my own. Why is it that when it's time to evaluate whether you're ready to do the Youth Group fundraiser thing and mow someone else's lawn, the question is "can you edge with a weed-whacker?" Sure, it's tricky, but is this the ultimate measure of landscaping ability?

But I digress. My trusty instrument in the weed-whacking world is this one you see here - that's right, a GAS trimmer. And no, I don't mind it. In fact, I'll gladly trade the foibles of a two-stroke engine for having to lug around an extension cord capable of reaching Utah. Yes, it takes some work, and no, it doesn't always start immediately. But it's cordless, powerful, and ultimately reliable. But the agony starts near the business end of this thing: the ever popular "bump head" for advancing more weed-whacking line.

Now, I'm fairly good with things mechanical. I even understand how this bump head is supposed to work. I can wind the line on it properly, and I can get it to work... ONCE. I'm convinced this thing was invented mainly to increase the level of cursing on Saturday and Sunday afternoons, because it CERTAINLY wasn't a way to make the process of trimming more efficient or speedy. I've literally broken the handle on this thing slamming the head into the ground trying to get a millimeter of line to spit out. So if you're like me on this issue, you need to find what I have: the Fast Loader.

This thing is the God-send of landscaping. Instead of working with a whole spool of weed-whacking line, you're using individual 10" pieces. Push one into each cam-gripper system, and you're off to the races. Burn one up on a particularly stubborn flora? Pop it out, put another one in. Bullet-to-the-brain simple, and doesn't slow you down a bit.

Now the catch is how to get those individual pieces of trimming line. Sure, you can buy them - they sell little tubes of about 10-12 pieces each, but you pay for the pre-cut material. Just like a chicken breasts in a bag, you're paying a markup for not starting with the whole yourself. And while that may be a fine trade on your favorite poultry, don't bother here. Just buy a regular ol' line of weed-whacking line and a utility knife. Spend 5 minutes cutting your own 10-12 pieces of line before you start and you've saved yourself a lot of money. And it'll be smooth sailing through the rest of your yard, on your way to a beautifully manicured suburban masterpiece.

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