Monday, December 3, 2007

Day 136 - Rakin' It In

Trading In the Leafblower for a Rake

I've talked about our itty-bitty yard before, but have I ever mentioned the WORLD'S LARGEST OAK tree that sits in the middle of it? This sucker's so old, it's gotta be pushin' 100 and it drops more nuts than a high-rise asylum caught in a 7.8 richter. In addition to the copious amounts of acorns, it also drops tons and tons and tons of leaves. I mean a WHOLE LOT of 'em.

Last year, being the good wife but bad environmentalist that I was, I bought hubby a nice, heavy-duty leaf blower. Because nothing motivates a man to do yardwork like a machine that requires ear protection.

Guess what is now taboo at our house. Yep. Guess who tabbood it. Yep. So now guess who's in charge of cleaning up the leaves. Yep. Sucks to be me.

Yesterday, I took the kids out front and attempted to rake the easy part of the yard. This is how it went down:

2:00 - Raking Commences
2:05 - Daphne has to go "boopie"
2:10 - Raking Re-commences
2:15 - Ethan wants his cup of water
2:20 - Raking Re-re-commences
2:25 - Yell at the kids to stay away from the road
2:30 - Tell Ethan to stop rubbing leaves on his face to see if they are poison ivy
2:35 - Tell Ethan to stop rubbing leaves on his sister to see if they are poison ivy
2:36 - Resist urge to tie children to tree while I rake

And so it continued ad nauseum until I smartened up and got them each their very own broom and told them to sweep the driveway. Which they kind of did. The three of us had the front yard raked in just under 90 minutes. Alone, it would have taken about 30.

But it got done. And you know what? Despite the mild case of toddler-induced frustration, I actually enjoyed it. The smell of the crisp, fall air, the crunchy noise of the leaves, the light workout and, of course, the fun of jumping with the kids into the leaf pile. The best part? No long-lasting effects of ear damage - unless you count the piercing squeals of delight from the kids.


Let's say it takes me roughly four hours to do the whole yard with the electric leaf blower. That equates to roughly 5 kWh, not a huge amount, but keep in mind that I would probably have to do this three times per season, for a total of 15 kWh. I could walk down the road right now and point out at least ten leaf-blowin' neighbors. If we all just put down our noisy machines and picked up a rake, we could save 150 kWh. And an assload of noise pollution.

Difficulty Level: 2 out of 5

No doubt, it requires more physical energy to rake leaves than it does to blow them away. However, I could always just pay the kid down the street a few sheckles to rake the yard if I was unable to do the work myself. But let's face it, I could definitely use the extra workout. Besides, I can't wait to rake a huge pile out back, right at the bottom of the slide. WHEEEEEEEE!


Green Bean said...

Good for you! We recently fired our gardeners and started using a push mower and a rake. We turns out to be me since I was the one who came up with the brilliant idea.

I hear you about it being a good extra work out but the truth is that I must be consuming too much in the way of fair trade chocolate because I'm not seeing any weight come off. ;-) Maybe I'll switch over to the theory that decaying leaves are good for the soil and leave everything alone til spring.

gregra&gar said...

Ah, the all too ubiquitous leaf blower, the epitome of the litigious society where everyone attempts to blame everyones trees for leaves but ones own. Leaves balanced by kitchen scraps and lawnmower clippings combine to make the perfect compost. What a waste blowing them away with inefficient two cycle engines is to the health of the garden, the environment and the unexercised body.