Sunday, November 4, 2007

When Life Blows

Ah, November in Central California; the time of year when a good wind storm blows a bunch of leaves off of the trees and you notice for the first time that some of them are finally changing colour. That’s how fall arrives around here, with several inches of leaves everywhere, and yet most of them are still green and on the trees.

With Fall, as you may well know (unless you live in the Middle East or some other desert region), comes a plethora of fauna strewn about the yard in a most haphazard and cluttered manner. You realize that it’s vital to do a little yard work before it buries you entirely, and so off you go. The depressing thing about it all, besides the endless raking, is that you know that this is going to be an ongoing process until it’s nearly Christmas.

And so it was that I found myself venturing forth alone to beat back the elements of Mother Nature. However, this year was different, because we now own our very own leaf blower! It might be an electric model, but according to Consumer Reports, this no longer necessarily means that it’s a wimpy mama’s boy who’s never cut the umbilicus. I wouldn’t know either way because I’d never used one. But my initial conclusion was reached after about 2 minutes of use.

Conclusion (Status: initial): A leaf blower gets the job done a LOT faster than raking does.

As I progressed with the task and my experience with the device increased, I was able to reach several other interesting (if not valuable) conclusions.

C1) It’s a lot faster and more orderly to create a cushion of air under a bed of leaves and move the whole bed that way than to blast away at them from the top of the pile. Less mess + more movement = quicker success with less grit in your teeth.

C2) It is possible, without any practice whatsoever, to lift a plant out of its pot and hurl it against a wall three feet away; dirt, roots, and all. But it’s not prudent to share this information with your wife.

C3) You can play fetch with a dog without even touching the ball. Just blast the magical orb with the air, and the dog will chase it happily.

C4) A smart dog isn’t necessarily bright: Drop your ‘fetch’ ball into a violent maelstrom of leaves 2.5 feet thick, and it’s really kinda... well, gone! The leaves with the ball scent will get blown all over the place, throwing you way off the path in your quest to recover it.

C5) A medium sized dog who likes to snap at streams of water directed toward his canine-hood will do the same with a stream of leaves and be quite thrilled about it. HOWEVER, C5b) attempting the same with a very SMALL dog (aka. Itsy Bitsy Mitzy) is akin to watching an umbrella turn inside out in a wind storm. Don’t worry, she’ll land and stop rolling eventually and come back for more.

C6) With a little honing, you can peg a canine with its own doo doo at upwards of 5 paces. The canine will not necessarily appreciate the irony, but you sure will!

After completing my task, I had a huge pile of leaves about 2 feet thick and 10x30 feet in area. The yard looked much more orderly than it had before, and I really feel good about that. However, my final conclusion needed to be modified a little.

Conclusion (status: final): Experimental leaf blowing will get the job done potentially quite a bit SLOWER than raking. But…. WHO CARES?!

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