When the dust settles, the clearer option, vacuuming

For yard cleanup work, for me, using a broom and dustpan, suffices just fine. Nor would I rule out vacuuming. Leaf blowing, as far as options go, is just not for me.

Backpack leaf blower

That said, many a leaf blower is made use of for just this very activity – yard cleanup work. Though I understand why (people use these devices), I just can’t see dust, dirt, debris, or a combination of two or all three, whatever the case may be, via leaf-blower use, really being removed. Re-distributed – yes. Removed? Gone? You tell me.

In my mind’s eye, leaf blowers, if not used for that which these devices are named – blowing leaves, then the term leaf blower is a misnomer, obviously.

On the other hand, anything wrong with using a vacuum, made just for outdoor use, instead?

As far as I’m concerned, no. No. It’s an option that just makes sense on many levels.

First, dust, dirt, debris, whatever the case may be, gets vacuumed up. Next, such does not wind up on neighbors properties. And that which is vacuumed up, is channeled into an attached bag whose sole purpose is for refuse collection, a bag that can then be emptied into a waste bin or other container for storage for later use (depending on contents) and/or for proper disposal. But, most importantly, in no way, I feel, is air negatively affected as a result.

As a matter of fact, I remember times in Baltimore, Maryland, in my adolescence when my dad used a leaf vacuum to gather the leaves in the fall that were strewn about the lawn. It made sense then, and it makes sense now – perhaps even more so today. When the corresponding bag was full, it was simply emptied into the bin along with other trash destined for the landfill.

As you can see, there is much to be said for outdoor vacuum use. I’ve seen these devices advertised on T.V., in fact.

If outdoor dust, dirt and debris vacuuming became the norm, then what I saw with my own two eyes this past Saturday, May, 27, 2017, to put it bluntly, would not have been possible.

What did I see?

The across-the-street neighbor was doing yardwork chores himself while the neighbor next to him used the services of a gardener to have the exact same done. This is the first time I can recall ever seeing this happen.

At any rate, all was fine and dandy that is, until it was cleanup time. That’s when things went south, and north, and east, and west – all directions, as a matter of fact.

It wasn’t that the two were both using leaf blowers to cap off the yard-grooming activity. One was seemingly counteracting the other. Dust and dirt sent from one property over to the next went right on back. This exchange had the appearance of one trying to one-up the other. The end result, in effect, was a zero-sum game. (Disclosure: It was the sound from not one but two leaf-blowers happening simultaneously that caused me to pay attention).

There are no winners here, only losers and the biggest, of course, the air, it laden with not only the stirred dirt and dust, but with exhaust fumes from the one internal-combustion-engine-powered device used. A bright spot in any of this if there is one, is that at least one of the devices was battery powered.

That said, a saying comes to mind referring to this particular circumstance: Something ventured, nothing gained. Sad it is that a circumstance such as this could very easily have been avoided.

No encore performances here – please!

Image above: Anthony Appleyard

This post was last revised on Apr. 24, 2020 @ 7:12 a.m. Pacific Daylight Time.

– Alan Kandel

5 thoughts on “When the dust settles, the clearer option, vacuuming”

  1. Alan, this is kismet. My wife and I recently moved to a house and yard work has become part of the weekly routine. We have two vacuums, the kind you get at Target for $75-$125 or so. Since we didn’t need both for indoors, I commissioned one for outdoor use. Now I use it as the final step, after sucking up as much of the clippings as possible using the the (bagged) lawnmower’s own vacuum-like functionality.

    Though it looks unusual to see a grown man vacuuming a sidewalk or driveway, it works like a charm. And while I imagine the rotating brushes are wearing down faster than they would indoors, there’s no noticeable damage to the motor or other parts themselves. And brushes can be replaced cheaply.

  2. Leaf blowers are ridiculous when you think about it. All they do is blow things from one place to another and send all kinds of dirt and pollutants everywhere. Ever had a pebble blown onto your car from someone blowing in the wrong direction? Or, how about leaving your windows open when you go out for a bit and come back to find your home filled with dust? It just doesn’t seem to do a lot of good to be blowing things helter-skelter and actually cleaning nothing at all.
    Just my opinion.

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