Just Another Pile of Leaves…

"I spent nearly two hours blowing the yard that day, until I ran out of both gas and daylight."

The season of autumn has been one of transitions for Christine and me: new jobs, marriage, moving into a new home. Apparently, the trees around our little house decided all at once they were tired of the changes, and so we were left with a thick layer of leaves all over the property. Knowing there would be some leaves to clear off the lawn, I bought a 18V battery-powered leaf blower a few weeks ago. However as the leaves began to fall and accumulate, I quickly realized I had to call in for backup from my father-in-law.

Actually, it was his backpack – the gas-powered, leaf-blowing variety – that saved the day. I assured Jeff that I had used one of these blowers before, but he still wanted to show me how to get it started. And I’m glad he did, because that was a very persnickety piece of machinery.

Here are the step-by-step instructions he walked me through: With the blower resting on the ground, first lay down the throttle arm as straight as it will go and move the throttle itself to the “running bunny” position. Then, flip the choke switch on the back to the “cold start” position and press the starter/lubricator several times. Finally, pull the crank cord.

For Jeff, the engine turned over on the first pull. He quickly switched the lever on the back to the running position and moved the throttle to the “walking turtle” position. Ready to go! He made it look so easy…

The tutorial went down at his house, and so I would have to start the blower on my own. Luckily, the engine was still warm enough to get it started without any hassle when I got it back to our place. I spent nearly two hours blowing the yard that day, until I ran out of both gas and daylight. I was able to get most of the leaves off of the grass, at least, but  left lots of giant piles on the fringes of our property that needed to be blown to the street.

Jeff brought the blower the following week and I was able to finish the job after a few more hours of work on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. This time using up a tank and half of fuel, the chore was limited only by the setting sun and a final family meal of the holiday weekend. I was beyond grateful for the respite, although all signs from above suggest that our trees have a few more leaves to shed.

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Lawn Mower Mayhem

As a wedding gift from Christine’s parents, we received a brand new lawn mower. Our grass was pretty tall from just a couple weeks of lacking attention, but this was difficult to see due to a thickening blanket of fallen leaves. Last week I took the morning to stay home for a service call on our washer and dryer units, and I saw my chance to finally cut loose on our unkempt lawn.

The mower wasn’t difficult to put together, really. Remove a few bolts, attach the handle, re-attach the bolts and vioala! Once all the bolts were tight, I filled the tank with gasoline and poured in some oil. There was no primer button to press, and so I grabbed the starter cord and pulled. The engine turned over with ease on the first try and I immediately began making a mulching path through the yard. After nearly five minutes, everything was going great. I had already done a couple laps around our property, with a growing sense of confidence that I’d be able to check this “to do” off my list before lunch.

My confidence quickly transformed into confusion when the mower began to struggle, with smoke erupting from its engine. It appeared she was overheated and so I released the throttle to avoid doing any further damage. Luckily, Christine’s dad, Jeff, is a regular handyman. When I told him what happened, he came over and revived the mower, along with my confidence to finish cutting the lawn.

And finish I did, during weekend that followed. However, the yard looks about the same as before, a new blanket of leaves covering our freshly cut grass. Next task: borrow Jeff’s industrial-sized leaf blower!