In an attempt to counter my Ethel Merman post, behold what I do believe is the most wonderful invention ever.
This is the Craftsman leaf blower/vacuum model 74284. And it is my new best friend.
I am not a guy that gets excited by power tools. Not even in the slightest, but damn, if this thing is not doing a bang up job of helping me rid my yard of the MASSIVE amounts of leaves that have fallen so far this year. The sad thing is that they aren't even close to coming down, although the big old 100 year-old oak in the front yard has pretty much shed everything, so that will help immensely.
Last year, my dad brought his leaf blower over to help me tackle the yard. I didn't even know where to start when it came to clearing out the leaves. So I used the leaf blower to get the leaves out of corners and into piles and it was like "where have you been my whole life?" It was an amazing piece of equipment. I must admit that I was hesitant to use it for fear of being a hypocrite as I used to always silently mock my neighbor where we used to live for using his leaf blower.
Anyway, because I was so excited about it, I was not in the least bit surprised to receive my own leaf blower for Christmas last year from my mom and dad. Come to think of it, I probably could have used it on Christmas Day last year as there was likely no snow on the ground whatsoever and it was probably in the 40s. In any event, I put it away and kind of forgot about it until autumn rolled around.
It was with a great deal of wailing and gnashing of teeth that I realized I was going to have to tackle the leaves this year. I got out the leaf blower and to my great surprise and delight, I found out it was also a leaf vacuum. A few rounds with the vacuum and I knew that I was in heaven. It helped clear leaves out of places I couldn't reach with a rake and as you vacuum them up, they get chopped up into little pieces which then go into a cloth bag attached to the leaf vac. That bag, in turn, is emptied into garbage bags and voila - your yard is cleared of leaves.
It is not perfect - sticks keep getting sucked up into the vacuum. And although my father has assured me that it is designed to handle small sticks, I have this nagging feeling that my leaf blower will last only one season because of the sticks that inadvertently get sucked up into the vacuum. But so far so good.
So that's part of what I've been doing lately - every night after work I come home and do a little bit. We've been lucky that the weather's been nice and it hasn't rained or - God forbid - snowed.
And oddly enough, I get a huge amount of satisfaction out of clearing up those leaves - a feeling that I decidedly do not get from mowing. So perhaps there is hope for me as a yard working kind of guy after all.