I suck at a lot of things. But one thing I really enjoy sucking at is leaf collection.
You see, I use a yard vacuum, purchased here in Chatham just last year. It looks like a lawn mower, except instead of spinning blades under the deck, it has a wide mouth at the front to suck in leaves.
The inhaled yard waste goes through an impeller that mulches it up and then deposits it into a collection hamper at the back of the unit.
And the collected leaves take up a lot less space than what raked leaves would, to the tune of about a 10:1 ratio. Take them to the curb or off to the leaf and yard waste depot, or use them as compost/garden feed.
Since I use a mulching mower, and usually keep mowing/mulching into November (I did the front lawn on the weekend), we generally bag our leaves and take them to the depot.
My daughter was in full assist mode Saturday, picking up branches that had blown down recently while I broke out the yard vacuum. When she finished her task, she eyed up the contraption I was using. Not one to discourage the curiosity of our youth, I showed her how to run the thing, explaining how to move forward and backward over an area just like when using a vacuum cleaner in the house, and to watch for when the hamper gets full.
Off she went, intent on cleaning off the back grass – well some of it. She was worried she wouldn’t get a leaf pile to jump in this year, so I advised her to leave an area under the oak tree undisturbed so we could rake it up at a later date.
Meanwhile, I went out front with the mower to clip and mulch.
It seemed I made perhaps two passes across the front of the lawn before she came out to get me to help empty the hamper.
This girl is fast!
We bagged the leaves and both went back to our tasks. I had to stop at least two more times as she quickly filled the yard vacuum again and again.
Once I got the front yard done, I took a look at how much area she had covered, which was impressive for an 11 year old. Leaves covered only about a third of the backyard.
We cleaned up after a couple of hours’ work and called it a day. I was very appreciative of the help and my daughter loved how she could easily see the progress of her work … and still have enough leaves left over for a nice jumping pile – a win-win day all around.