Saturday, October 11, 2008

About Leaf Blowers, Wild Flowers, and Raking

I've never minded leaf blowers myself. That whining roar is as much a part of what I grew up with, as the sound of lawnmowers. But, some people don't like the sound. At all.

Howard Leland, who converted his back yard into a butterfly preserve back in 2005, met with the city council to ban leaf blowers twice: Once, in 2003, because they were too loud; again in 2006, because exhaust fumes from the leaf blowers were making his milkweeds and wild flowers sick. He put it a little more scientifically than that, but that's the gist of it.

A week after that 2006 meeting, Glenn Severtson, a neighbor of Mr. Leland's, invited Howard and the other homeowners on that block to the Whistle Stop Cafe. They spent the better part of a Saturday afternoon there, talking about Mr. Leland's yard-full of milkweed, fireweed, columbine, goldenrod, and so forth; and their leaf blowers.

When it was over, they'd agreed that Mr. Leland wouldn't try to get leaf blowers banned in Loonfoot Falls, if they'd stop using leaf blowers. Mr. Leland said that he'd make sure their yards got raked.

In the autumn of 2007, Howard Leland was out daily for well over a week, getting one yard after another raked. He told me that it was great exercise: better than jogging.

He also told me that he was getting a leaf blower for the job this year. He's not giving up his principles, he explained. The blower's motor is electric.

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