Janet Combs

Janet Combs

Let us explore the merits of the compact, lightweight leaf blower.

I urge you to read on — and yes, I’m talking to you, reader, who thinks this is a bland topic sentence and furthermore doesn’t care to read about lightweight leaf blowers any more than you care to read about vacuum attachments, carpet padding, or kitchen faucets — all of which, incidentally, are future column topics. Stay with me: I promise that once you get wind of the value of this essential home and garden tool, this column will blow you away.

Over the years, I have used a heavy-duty backpack blower as well as a gas-powered hand-held type, and I have experienced the next day’s inevitable sore shoulder, arm and lower back from the effort of swinging the nozzle around my lawn for hours in order to strew leaves, branches and yard debris directly onto my neighbor’s lawn. These industrial-size leaf blowers can certainly move a volume of material, but for those of us who dip in and out of the activity seasonally, accuracy can be compromised.

When we moved here, I couldn’t help but notice that our neighbor, Egroeg, whose name has been spelled backwards for privacy, kept an immaculate driveway, free of pine needles, twigs, and Live Oak leaves, thanks to his regular leaf-blowing. Egroeg’s driveway is what you call pristine — I imagine we could hold a “Mommy-and-me” yoga class on it and no one would need hand sanitizer afterwards. But let me be clear that I am not inviting you to bring your crawling infants to work out on Egroeg’s driveway.

My point is his driveway is the neatest on the block. From time to time, Egroeg would also keep our place looking sharp — he’d saunter over on a Saturday afternoon and blow off our driveway when he was done with his, which was very considerate as well as slightly odd, until we discovered he grew up on Long Island, like we did. Unanticipated helpfulness is a Long Island trait. Long Islanders will not waste precious time asking you if you need help; we will just assess your sad situation and get on it immediately —whether it means making you a meal, lending you a sweater, walking your dog, or keeping your driveway free of debris.

Egroeg knew our leaf blower was out of commission — he had seen my husband and I holding its pathetic duct-taped nozzle to the motor housing as we struggled around our yard. We looked online to purchase a replacement nozzle for our old model, but discovered you can buy a whole leaf blower for almost the same price as the part. And that’s when I found a small, battery-powered model that weighs less than 5 pounds and can be maneuvered deftly with one hand. While technically a shop clean-up tool, I noted you could add a leaf-blowing nozzle to the unit. I read the reviews and while no one stated this exactly, the buyers communicated that the average leaves falling on your lawn weigh about .1 gram each and this machine can handle them. I Amazoned it right away.

Let me say, I am truly enjoying using this gift I purchased for my husband. I use it so often, I’m thinking of getting him an extra battery for Father’s Day.

This nimble leaf blower not only clears sawdust off power tools in his shop but has enough clout to blow off our steps, porches and driveway like a larger unit. It’s light enough to hold over your head, which means it’s killer on cobwebs and abandoned birds’ nests stuffed between the concrete pillars and floor trusses. And because it’s so compact, it’s much easier to direct the flow of leaves, mulch and debris onto your neighbor’s yard.

Seriously, I am improving at directing the blast of air. Still, I have much to learn. Lucky for me, the master lives two doors down.

Janet Combs is a freelance writer living in Georgetown County. Her column is published regularly in the Georgetown Times. Contact her at https://janetfrickecombs.wordpress.com.