‘Pardon our dust’ or the ‘dirt’ on leaf blowing

Quite familiar to me are those “Pardon-our-dust” signs, warnings – call them what you will. These are most typically found at sites where construction is taking place. In those situations, the creation of “dust” is often unavoidable.

Where I am going with this, well, yesterday, I was in the back yard tending to some yard chores in advance of this year’s predicted wet El Nino, expected to pack a wallop, and send storm after storm landward, and due to arrive with them are uncharacteristically high amounts of precipitation in the form of snow in the mountains and rain at lower elevations (maybe even torrential at times), this the result of warmer-than-usual Pacific Ocean temperatures this year. At any rate, while moving some dirt around and adding potting soil to the shoveled dirt and mixing the two together before reintroducing the mix into the low spots in the ground, I heard the sound of infamous leaf blowing emanating from another back yard nearby. It wasn’t but a second later that this large pall of dirt came drifting over the fence that separates the yard of the neighbor next door from the one where the airborne dirt originated. It had the look of a mini dust-storm.

I watched intently as more and more of the dirt that was adrift in the air moved west over the fence in question mostly to see where it was going. If the direction of the crud that was aloft had changed and was going to head my way, I would have headed in a different direction myself; that is, inside my house, closing the door behind me after getting inside.

Fortunately for me, that never happened. I watched in awe, I’m guessing, for at least three minutes before the pall of dirt lessened in concentration as the gardener doing the “dirty work” and causing such a stir so to speak, ventured farther away from that location, though still engaged in dirt-blowing chores, and presumably in that house’s front yard.

As luck or fate would have it, another yardwork crew set to tackle the yard-grooming of a house located a couple of houses down from where I reside, immediately upon exiting the truck they arrived in, the group began their work blowing more filth into the then already dirt-laden air. In fact, after the lawn mowing part of the operation was done, it was capped off with more of the same. If ever there was a case of an encore dirt-blowing performance, if there is such a thing, this had to be it.


As if this were not enough, a second group of gardeners pulled up in their own truck and parked, in of all places, right behind where the first gardener team parked. Upon the second group of yard-maintenance professionals exiting their truck, you’ll never guess, but the first item on the agenda? None other than dirt-blowing again! For the clueless: these yard machines are called “leaf blowers” for a reason.

I would have to believe that the affected property owners are not around while all of these goings-on are taking place. Otherwise I would have to think that if they witnessed first-hand this sort of dirt-blowing back-and-forth, they would demand that all cleaning up of yard waste be done with brooms, dustpans and rakes.

Oh, and as for the huge pall of dirt sent skyward to the neighbor’s house yesterday (and presumably beyond), well, it too awaits the gardeners’ touch which, by the way, also includes in it, its regular and fair share of dirt-redistributing via leaf-blowing activity, of course. And on and on the airborne-dirt-transference-courtesy-of-the-notorious-air-blowing-process goes.

When it rains it pours, I guess.

– Alan Kandel