Renner: Removing leaves sure can blow
By Mickey Renner
Ah, autumn, that awesome time of the year. Some people even proclaim fall as their most favorite season. They love the smell of cool, clean, crisp air as opposed to the dusty, dry and stale air of summer.
I have to agree. It is pretty amazing that Mother Nature actually lets all the drab trees change into more blazing dresses of color. Staying to the true nature of a mother, a mother that just has to retain that last bit of control, only reds, oranges and yellows are allowed. No blues, pinks or periwinkles unless you are a tree in a Dr. Seuss book.
Sadly, the trees only get to show off their golden wardrobe additions for such a short time. It seems that overnight, Mother Nature strips the trees down to their bare branches, and the next morning the elegant leaves lay tattered and torn in a withered brown heap at their feet. Those poor trees have to stand outside bare branched all winter long. Man that is some harsh parenting skills.If trees could talk, I think I would have gone into tree psychology. There is bound to be some deep-rooted problems out there. Wait, my topic seems to be branching out on me. What was I talking about? Oh yeah, a lawn full of leaves that now become a problem I have to address.Because of Mother Nature, my entire front lawn is an ocean of leaves. But a special thanks to our city fathers, who passed an ordinance that allows the citizens of Dickinson to rake the leaves from their yards into the street. This makes the whole fall raking leaves job a whole lot easier. You can just grab one of them broom rakes and sweep all the leaves into the street.Better yet, you can blow the leaves into the street with one of those neat leaf blowers. I actually got a really neat one this last summer at a garage sale. But now, as I am looking at it in the back corner of my garage, I realize it is too neat for me. What I mean is, it is too complicated for me.I see a handle that is attached to a cord, which probably implies pulling the handle hard and fast in order to start a motor. To me, motor means gas, which may or may not be a mixture with something else.I am trying to remember what the guy at the garage sale said about the gas. If I am remembering correctly, he started up this fantastic leaf blower, which was so loud it scared away all the small animals living on the east side of Dickinson. Plus, I didn’t hear another word he said about the gas or how to safely use this mean-looking leaf blowing machine.Now looking down at this complicated and dangerous monstrosity, I wonder why I bought it in the first place. I remember he told me I would never again come across this much machine for such a small amount of money. I stood staring at my deal-of-a-lifetime leaf blower, playing out in my mind the Murphy’s Law scenario. Here is how that would go:I would drag the leaf blower out onto the lawn. I would pull the handle to start the motor but nothing would happen. So then, I would pull the handle much harder and much faster three times in a row. The fourth time, the motor would spark, literally. It wouldn’t start, but a spark would fly up and land on a whole pile of dry, brown leaves. It would take the flame about 2 seconds to find the path of gas I spilled when I drug the leaf blower out of the garage and onto the lawn. It would ignite a path of fire across the lawn, into the garage to the spot where the blower was sitting next to the lawnmower. I would hear the explosion before I could dial 911.Nope. Me, Murphy, mixed gas and motors is just too risky. I would have to use the broom rake, old-fashioned muscle power and, later on, plenty of Bengay.Then I remembered that my dad had a much simpler leaf blower that you just plug in. I drove over to my dad’s and was thrilled to see that his leaf blower was light and uncomplicated.I took it over to my house, plugged that baby in and started blowing leaves like the old north wind.Truthfully, it was more work than that. I had to laboriously and methodically blow rows and layers of leaves towards the street. I never imagined my front yard being so immense. I was knee-deep in leaves, ready to blow them into the street when I realized the extension cord was just not quite long enough.Lucky for me I had another longer cord in the garage. I got the other cord and plugged it into the blower. I pushed the “on” switch and nothing happened. There was complete silence and no more air flowing out of the blower. I looked back to the house to see if the plug fell out there, but it hadn’t.I tried the “on” button five more times, thinking that it just had to work. I was just at the point of getting to blow a ton of leaves into the street. I was so disappointed. I so wanted the satisfaction of blowing a bunch of leaves into the street. Plus, I was calculating in my head how much a new leaf blower would cost and how this always happens when you borrow something.The worst thing was that now I had to use the broom rake to finish the job. As I stomped back to the garage to get the rake, I noticed that I now had two extension cords lying out and a glimmer of hope passed through my mind. Yep, you guessed it. I plugged in the wrong extension cord!With much joy and satisfaction I plugged in the correct cord and blew the leaves off my lawn and into the street. It was late by the time I finished. I knew that the chances of the city’s leaf-vacuuming vehicle driving by before tomorrow morning was slim. I begged Mother Nature not to blow up an east wind that night so that the next morning I wouldn’t have to see all the leaves blown back onto my lawn.After all the blowing, that would sure suck.