Thursday, April 4, 2013

The fine art of leaf removal

The photo doesn't show  his breath,
 but I clearly saw it this morning
When I got to work this morning I noticed the truck from our new lawn service was in the driveway. I was puzzled since it's (a) only April; and (b) 34 degrees. What could they possibly be doing here?

Once I got into the office and took my first sip of coffee, I heard a particularly jarring sound. Was it a a tuk tuk, or perhaps a ski boat or maybe a rocket ship was launching? Since I wasn't in Thailand, by the lake or near Cape Canaveral, I deduced it was a leaf blower.

A couple of years ago, my pal Randy Strauss gave me one of  his leaf blowers (he had a few to spare).  He is a marvelous gardener and took pity on me and my tedious method of raking. As you know, Bill does not participate in any gardening chores so (happily) it all falls to me.

I picked a particularly lovely warm fall day to start the process. Randy had given me explicit instructions about the gas to oil ratio and how to start the machine. It involved priming, choking and then yanking on the cord. Then you had to allow the engine to warm up a bit. Having grown up on a farm and dealing with the idiosyncrasies of balers and tractors,  I took it all in stride.

I must have yanked on the start cord 40 times. Pulls number 20 through 30 were accompanied by some choice words that easily flowed from my lips. Pulls 30-40 mostly involved screaming some phrases that would curl Satan's hair. I can just imagine the neighbors as they had their breakfast :
"I used to love these quiet fall mornings ... until that crazy bitch down the street started working in her garden."

I was about to throw the leaf blower in the trash when I spied a neighbor in his driveway with whom I was slightly acquainted. I swallowed my pride and walked down the street with the blower. He looked at me quizzically and, without a word, started the blower -WITH ONE HAND!

That was humiliating.

Blower in hand, I  walked back down the street determined to get the job done. This was going to be fun!

As I started to blow the leaves out of the flower beds and onto the grass, I noticed that I was also blowing all the (expensive) wood mulch out of the garden and onto the grass. What the heck?! That wouldn't do. I was perplexed and stood there, mouth agape, trying to figure it out. PS - I didn't dare turn off the blower while I contemplated my dilemma. So, I maneuvered my way out of the garden bed and walked to the backyard to see if I could tackle the leaves in the yard.

I began to use the back and forth sweeping action that Randy had described and was seeing some progress. Then, out of the corner of my eye, I saw my neighbors new baby in their backyard. I could tell he was crying because his wee face was all scrunched up and red. I couldn't hear him ... because the damn leaf blower was so unbelievably loud.

I flipped the switch and turned the thing off.

Immediately, the baby's face relaxed.

I took the leaf blower back to the garage, grabbed my rake and happily began the tedious but quiet process of removing leaves.

Never used that leaf blower again.

Photo captured later this morning. The professionals
still haven't figured out a way to eliminate the rake!

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