Monday, November 28, 2011

The Garden Hose as Leaf Blower

During my Thanksgiving hiatus, I decided to start my intial attack on the annual leaf clean-up.  I am blessed to have large, old Sweet Gum trees on and around Crest Avenue - trees that I am sure date back 40 or more years.  These wonderful old trees offer valuable shade in the summer months, helping to keep the house cool.  And helping to keep some money in my pocket that is not otherwise spent on exorbitant air conditioning bills.  In the winter, they act as a windbreak helping to keep the cold, blustery winds of winter at bay.  But all of the good they bring comes with maintenance.  And a large part of that maintenance is the clean up of the leaves they shed each fall.  Fortunately, the town works with the residents in their efforts to keep their yards clean.  Each year, we can rake as many leaves as we can to the area just in front of our houses, but not on the common sidewalk if you happen to have a town owned and maintained sidewalk in front of your house.  On dates scheduled in the newsletter, the town visits each street with their huge leaf vacuum and vacuums up all of the leaves that you mound up in front of your house.

Here is a picture of their leaf vacuum:

You just need to find out from the schedule when they will arrive at your address and make sure you have your leaves raked to the front of the house for collection.  They like for you to do it as close as possible to the day they will be at your address so that the leaves don't blow away into your neighbors yard.

All of this said, every year I start by trying get the leaves off the top of the boxwood along the front sidewalk.  I try using my hand to brush them off.  This works with limited success plus it is very time consuming.  Other years I have gotten out my trusty leaf blower and attempted to blow them off the top of the boxwood.  This too is met with little success.  The stems of the leaves are usually stuck in the boxwood branches so neither of these procedures works well.

This is what I started out with this year.  You will see a small area on the corner in the center of the picture where I started to try and remove the leaves with my hand.  It worked, but I could tell it was going to be a long and arduous tasks.  Plus, I was going to need a pair of gardening gloves because this process would wreak havoc on my hands.  At some point during all of this, I was out front hosing off the front porch and as I was moving around, the hose made a pass over a portion of the boxwoods and in that instant I realized what I should have realized many a fall ago.  Use the water hose as a leaf blower!  You will need one of those small jet hose attachments or a multi-spray hose nozzle with a "jet" setting.  The smaller the stream of water the more forceful and that is what you need for this project.

So I decided to continue with this until they were all cleared.  And, voila  . . .

In hardly any time, the boxwoods were cleared of fallen leaves.  All I need to do now is to check out the latest newsletter and find out when the town will arrive on Crest Avenue with the leaf vacuum.  I guess we all know what I'll be doing this weekend.  ¯Rake, rake, rake.  ¯Rake, rake, rake.  ¯Rake your booo-tie.  ¯Rake your booo-tie!!
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