bdn-raking-leaves-2I suppose your fall cleanup is all done, given that Thanksgiving has come and gone and fall is getting long in the tooth. But if you’re like me, you DID do your fall clean up but now your NEIGHBOR’S leaves are all over your property.

Fall clean up used to mean rakes and piles of leaves to jump in and then something to carry leaves to where you could burn them or dump them in the woods.

Judging from the lawn service that my neighbors use, however, fall clean up means leaf blowers, and they look like a lot of fun to use – you get to make a lot of noise, stir up clouds of dust and dirt, and blow leaves into piles that then you can blow into containers. Maybe it’s a guy thing.

I don’t know about you, but although they do look like they might be a lot of fun to use, they make an incredible racket with an air polluting exhaust rivaling any traffic jam. Manufacturers warn you are supposed to use ear protection and turn them off within 50’ of someone without ear protection.

Of course you don’t have to rake, but seeing how long our neighbors’ lawn service takes to clean up their tiny lawns with a blower, you would think a rake would make the whole job go faster and you could go onto other jobs. A year or so ago one guy had his leaf blower going full blast for three hours straight, and was even blowing leaves off the road. This year he had it going all day with an hour off for lunch.

Even while it’s raining we’ve seen the lawn service try to blow wet leaves tucked under shrubs and bushes, but wet leaves can be stubborn. Of course a rake would fetch those leaves out in a moment, and in fact, raking leaves when they are wet or damp can be easier than when they are dry and like to fly away.

Sometimes the old ways are better. While rakes may not be as much fun as leaf blowers, they can be more efficient and effective. If you still have some clean up to wrap up, why not use a rake and protect your hearing and your lungs from all that dust and dirt, that contains, according to the American Lung Association, cat, dog and rodent feces, pesticides, and  dust and dirt with possible elements of arsenic, mercury and lead?