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Wednesday, 26 April 2017


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They're not that wimpy anymore.

My Sunday afternoon naps were nearly always interrupted by leaf blowers when i lived in the forest. Now enjoying the desert, I only hear them rarely. Think of how much better your back might get to be if you raked (or hired someone else to).

I kinda like old-fashioned bamboo-tine'd rakes. They're pretty cheap, and you get your cardio while you clean up the yard. Plus they make that cool 'skritch' noise as you rake.

Okay, I'm lying. We have just shy of 100 acres, 33 acres of which is leased to a neighbor who's planting corn this year. The other 65+ acres? I just look out at the sea of leaves in autumn, sigh, and wait till they blow with the wind into the next town over.

Depending on the size of the area you want to clean of leaves and debris there is an alternative to raking. Still makes noise but works well.
A big ShopVac for leaves and grass. Benefit is that it sucks them up and shreds as it fills the canister. When you dump it to make a compost pile the leaves are shredded and somewhat compacted. Add a longer hose as found in a car wash vacuum and you are ready to go.

Just be sure you find some ethanol-free gas for your little green friend. Small engines hate running on moonshine. Just ask my lawnmower, chainsaw and weed-whacker.

Gave up on a corded lawn trimmer a year ago and popped for a 2 stroke gas model and while it is noisy I love it. I also love the cans of premixed 2 stroke fuel you can buy at the big box store.

I've used cordless leaf blowers and was quite impressed with them.

I don't use any kind of leaf blower, but you have me wondering whether cordless electric leaf blowers are a practical option yet.

Both my ears and my back are blown, so it's a little man from the village and a pair of ear plugs.

When I had a cinema (1997-2001) I got fed up of picking popcorn off the floor, and invested (!?) in a ..well, not a leaf blower, but a leaf sucker to Hoover it all up. Little did I know that they've mincing blades inside to chop up the leaves and then blow the fragments into the bag at the back.

Have you ever seen or smelled - or been drenched in - that fine sticky caramelised mist of pulverised popcorn that's been forced through and out of a porous leaf-sucker bag after it's been minced as thin as baking flour? It hangs in the air, and in your hair (..and on your clothes..) for months!

If you live far enough out and away from neighbors, just let the wind take the leaves and blow them away for you. That's what I do out in my neck of the woods, and it works likes a charm. No noise, no sore back, no dirty looks from the neighbor (who lives a mile away, and is unaware of my leaf-clearing technique...)

With best regards,


So you need two leaf-blowers do you?

No, you don't have to remove all the leaves from the grass, actually it is better for your lawn to leave most of it there (unless there are extreme amounts of course).

The best thing to do with a moderate amount of leaves is actually to use the lawn-mover to cut the leaves into tiny bits. This way it's easier for the leaves to become fertilizer for your lawn. Just saying. It works best when the leaves are dried out, but that goes for most every lawn kind of business.

2 stroke engines are highly polluting and should be banned, For that size of property you need a 4 stroke lawn tractor with an exhaust silencer. Just speaking for the planet.

For suburban use Home Depot's EGO cordless electric blowers are a great solution. I use mine all year long for for patio and swimming-pool deck cleaning. They are powerful and relatively quiet. I tried battery powered yard tools in the past and the batteries were always a disappointment. The EGO batteries are quite good. I have two batteries and I become bored before I run out of power.

To be complete, if you have a large yard full of leaves two batteries probably won't get the job done in one session. But who wants to work that long anyway?

Many communities in California and some in the north east have outlawed gas blowers. EGO (and others) sells professional battery powered blowers, but these are too expensive (and unnecessary) for most homeowners.

Gasoline blowers are just not worth the noise and trouble.

Mike. Be sure to buy and use a good set of over-the-ear hearing protectors. I've had to get hearing aids (@age 70) from just normal wear and tear, and they don't help that much...it sucks. Best be wise in this regard. Cheers.

The noise is bad enough, but there are plenty of other reasons why these devices are a menace to every neighborhood. But the noise is already enough

FWIW, I find that blowing leaves requires less exertion, but I'm not convinced it is faster than raking (if your grass isn't incredibly short) and it certainly isn't as effective. Nor does it give you that feeling of satisfaction when you look at your clean and clear lawn when you're done.*

But it is definitely easier!


* ...until the next breeze blows more leaves down onto your lawn.

Believe it or not I have found using a blower or using a rake about equally stressful to my back. Raking makes less noise, blowing can move piles of leaves quicker,
In either case invest in a large (+-16x20') lightweight tarp.
Raise the back end by taping to trash cans , weight the front end with a garden hose and you can capture then drag huge amounts of leaves.
We always did it to compost (adding some nitrogen or green material will speed it up)
There are some blowers that offer a vacuum bagging attachment which also reduces leaf volume by 80%

"The alternative is raking" (HA!) Nope. The alternative is putting your feet up in the hammock, being joined after about ten minutes by 70 lbs of canine optimist, and letting the leaves take care of themselves. Didn't Ben Franklin say, "Life favors the determinedly indolent, where yard work is concerned?" No? Hmmmm.... maybe I said it.

More on my first "battery" post:
I have a nice Stihl chainsaw that for some reason, I always have difficulty starting. Over 5+ years, I've been able to get it running perhaps fewer than 10 times. Also, I HAD a string trimmer that worked okay, but increasingly fought me. Then one day I talked with a wood sculptor, who uses a chainsaw on interesting lengths of twisted tree trunk, to get to the rough outline of his vision (he's won awards for his beautiful designs), who said he used a battery operated saw, and told me the brand. I bought one. It's fantastic! No flammables, no fumes, no racket, and it always works. I also bought the same company's string trimmer, and I love it. Both use the same battery, so I can plop an exhausted one on the charger, and continue working using the backup. (Just like backup camera batteries.) The company also makes a leaf blower:

But, I don't really need one of those. I have 2+ acres, a bit more than half wooded, and I continue to use my old corded Black & Decker blower/vac, though I have never used the vac part. I harvest the leaves to shred for compost, and any I cannot get to with a 200' cord, I let the winter winds blow into the woods. It gets most of its use blowing grass clippings from the driveway, which is 300' long, but I ignore the last 100' because ... who really cares?

After my third chainsaw died I bought an
Ego 16" cordless. Great performance. Battery is interchangeable with all their products.

Raking is both a spiritual and highly therapeutic physical exercise. Leaf blowers are satanic and moronic. I have had a little wine, the last comment may be a little over the top. The first I know to be true.

Just mow it and mulch it. That's what I do, but you may have a heavier leaf load.

Clean the garden?
I dont get it.
If you wait some weeks more
Nature has done the job.

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