Saturday, July 10, 2010

Leaf Blowing

Before now, my experience with leaf blowers was limited to passing a guy on the street, who would turn off the leaf blower long enough to let me pass. I had no idea he was 'giving it less throttle' to avoid blowing me and the leaves down the street. I had no idea that the Back-pack leaf blower I use is a '2 cycle engine' as apposed to a car, which has a 4 cycle engine.  In some sense, a two cycle engine is one that combines actions & has less parts, maybe this makes it faster? or lighter weight?...basically it means that the oil and the gas are combined, 50 to 1.  ( I sound like I understand what this means, but I don't)

So, the first step is starting the thing.  It looks like a plastic back-pack.  It has something called a choke, something else called a throttle.  It has something called a primer, and then a the thing that you pull (I have no idea what this is called.)  It's much like a lawn mower, from what I can gather, but for those of you who know me, I have never gotten very close to a lawn mower either.  There was a dance we used to do in college called the 'lawn mower' but we mostly used it for making fun of sorority girls (sorry ladies.)  Anyway, back to starting it, you have to find the perfect balance of choke and throttle or you flood the engine.  You also have to be able to pull the 'thing that you pull' really hard and fast.  My new goal besides avoiding poison ivy is to be able to start the leaf blower on my own.  Most days Ed stops by to see how I'm doing and he starts it for me.

For the most part, in my short experience , you mostly blow the leaves and debris from one area to another and some of it dissipates in the air so it looks like you are 'cleaning up' but really you're just blowing things around at a high velocity with a lot of noise.  Beware of the corners, where the debris likes to collect.  Point the leaf blower in the direction of the corner and watch a terrible funnel cloud develop that doesn't move the leaves anywhere except in your eyes, hair, throat and shoes, and generally gets me one allergy attack and one branch to the eye ball away from a hospital visit.

In closing, please don't underestimate the talents, abilities or even practiced methodology of the landscapers you pass by without hardly noticing, who are blowing leaves off the sidewalk or road--this activity is not easy.  I am possibly the worst leaf blower the Arboretum has ever seen.  I am quite possibly only doing this activity to provide comic relief to anyone looking on and I have to wear ear protection so I can't even hear them laughing at me!

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