04 December 2011
Some people REALLY hate leafblowers
Several weeks ago I watched this video while (coincidentally) the sound of our neighbors' leafblower was audible through my office wall. At our house the leaves get raked onto tarps, then dragged to a leafpile in the woods to compost down to leafmulch for the gardens. We don't mind the neighbors' use of leafblowers; it's much faster and more practical for a family where both adults work.
The subjects in this CBS News video have a different viewpoint. The people in the cliffside home have suffered silently from the noise generated by the hoi polloi in the valley; another family have been "unable to have birthday parties on Saturday." I was particularly bemused to note at the 6:20 closing scene that the lady claims that a rake works beautifully and peacefully - while wielding an iron rake used for dethatching. I would guess that she doesn't rake her own leaves. Or perhaps I'm being uncharitable.
Subscribe to: Post Comments (Atom)
Interestingly, in Orinda (the hilly town where the cliffside dwellers live), the "hoi polloi" are as likely to live cliffside as in the smaller hills near the freeway. What passes for a valley in the town is at least as desirable as the higher elevations. (Given Orinda's median home price of $875K, the hoi polloi tend to live on the other side of the hills in Oakland.)ReplyDelete
I wonder if all of those hills make the noise worse--the echoey beauty of living in canyons.
don't know why they can't make the blowers quieter, but it could be that the more noise they make the better people assume they are working. Just to pick a couple of nits, it's not "the" hoi polloi,that's redundant and the lady is using a garden rake not a dethatching rake.ReplyDelete
I use paper leaf bags with a cardboard chute, a leaf rake, and a snow shovel to rake leaves. It is fast, efficient, and relatively non-polluting in terms of air and noise. My neighbor across the street seems to me to do much more work herding leaves, then raking and bagging. I hope to have my hearing longer than leaf blowers without ear protection which I see all around.ReplyDelete
You are being uncharitable: I use an iron rake for raking leaves all the time. I've also used a 4-tined cultivator. It started when we were younger and we only had two traditional leaf rakes between the six of us. So we'd pull out mom's gardening tools so we could all help out. FYI - iron rakes are great for pulling up wet leaves and rolling them into bundles for easy removal.ReplyDelete
Yes, the leaf blowers do kick up a little dust, mold and feces... didn't the bubonic plague derive from aerated rat feces?ReplyDelete
A prime topic for "white whine" (http://whitewhine.com/)ReplyDelete
As compared to other outdoor-season powertools and recreational vehicles... say, gas-powered weed-eaters, lawnmowers, hedge trimmers, and (perhaps the worst) motorcycles... I'd say that leafblowers are only the tip of the iceberg!
Why bother with by-law legislation that singles out leafblowers? Why not an omnibus package that prohibits all those things?!
The best solution: We should get over our stupid obsession with outdated English manor house fashion and just leave the leaves alone.ReplyDelete
I would argue against the last commentor that there is a place for raking leaves... in our backyard they get so deep they would destroy the grass and other ground cover we have.ReplyDelete
In our case, my wife is the leafblower advocate, and is always trying to get me to use it (in fact, I have to start it for her). I find raking just as fast and effective for our small yard, and don't like the noise. Plus, for me the extra exercise is a little bonus.
I wholely agree with the above comment referring to our obsession with manicured spaces, but I need the leaves, (which I rake and move with a wheelbarrow), for my compost. Those in the gardens stay for mulch and in the driveway they stay where they are until the wind takes them because I don't want the little stones in my compost. Besides, I like the crunchy sound they make when you walk on them.ReplyDelete
I'm certain there's a whole subcategory of hit men who just break into neighbors' sheds and pound leaf blowers to pieces with sledge hammers.ReplyDelete
They probably make a good living.
newzea makes a valid point re the use of "hoi polloi." Here's some discussion of the matter:ReplyDelete
There are two linguistic points of interest concerning hoi polloi. The first is whether or not to precede it with 'the'. Some argue that, since 'hoi' means 'the' in Greek, then 'the hoi polloi' translates as 'the the many', so we should omit the article and just say 'hoi polloi'. Others argue that this is merely pedantic, not to say inconsistent with other uses of articles inherited from others languages; for example, alchemist, which comes from the Arabic, where al means the - and yet no one complains that the alchemist is incorrect. Whatever your views on that, it's a fact that 'the hoi polloi' is so widely used (not least by Dryden, as we see above) that whatever grammarians say about it won't alter its general usage.
(here's the Dryden reference) -
The earliest known [example of the term in print] is a 1668 essay by John Dryden - Of dramatick poesie:
"If by the people you understand the multitude, the οἱ πολλοί"
As someone who used to get miffed when the neigbor's snowblower/thrower would project his snow onto my yard (where it would go away on its own...eventually), you can imagine how my blood boiled when he, in the spring, did the same thing with his leaf blower: blowing everything from leaves, grass clippings, dust, his children's candy wrappers... All of this was unworthy of his property but somehow just fine for everyone else's.ReplyDelete
Lastly, why doesn't the city start fining these yahoos for littering when they blow their property's byproducts into the streets?
...and while we are attacking noise, why stop with gas engines? Home air conditioners are a blight of noise, too!ReplyDelete
And what about temperature?
Every pedestrian, cyclist, and motorcyclist can attest to 'heat pollution' caused by the selfish automobile airconditioners: For every person at the stoplight sitting in a box and dropping their evironment's temperature by 25 degrees, there are 10s of thousands of BTUs of extra heat being blown outside and away for others to cope with... You get 65 and now I get 115? thanks
How is society going to make it?
I don't rake leaves. I let Mother Nature sort it out. Hopefully they'll make it all the way to Julie Newmar's lawn.ReplyDelete
For the above poster: the Bubonic Plague was spread not through the feces of rodents but via the bites of fleas that leapt from black rats to humans.ReplyDelete
I do find the sound of leaf blowers to be annoying. I live in a valley and throughout Saturdays and Sundays, the drone of leaf-blowers is incessant. As one person ends his use of a blower, another picks up. The noise will go from sunrise to sunset. Nearly all the noise comes from the small blowers, the electric or backpack units. The large, wheeled units that many landscapers use have mufflers on the engines and the turbines don't generate such a piercing noise.
I also find leaf blowers to be very convenient. I can move large volumes of leaves in very short order for cleanup. To minimize the amount of noise I contribute, I use the leaf blower to consolidate the leaves into rows, and then mow over them with a mulching tractor. I then dump the cans from the tractor into the compost heap behind my garage, or pack it around the blueberry bushes. This way, I only run the leaf blower for about 15 to 20 minutes to clear a nearly two acre yard.
But the noise is annoying, especially when it seems to be going on constantly. Rather than ban the things, they should try passing ordinances to manage the situation, such as blowers can only be run on certain days and/or during certain times.
Re the bubonic plague, the classic spread in Asia and Europe was certainly via flea bites, but I think some modern non-epidemic pulmonary cases in the American southwest have occurred when rodent feces were aerosolized (although I rather doubt that's what he/she was referring to).ReplyDelete
I am faster with a rake than most people with a leaf blower. But it takes things like sweat and muscle and big rake. Not everyone can do it, but too many use those infernal blowers (on lawns that are way too small.)ReplyDelete
Leaf blowers, vacuums, shop vacs, etc don't need to be as loud as they are. Put in a bigger motor and fan running at half the RPM, and they'll do the same job with much less noise. As a bonus, they'll last a lot longer.
The same concept is true of generators. The old 1800 rpm models ran forever and didn't make a lot of noise. The new 3600 rpm models make a LOT of noise and you're lucky to get more than a couple hundred hours out of one before it needs to be replaced.
As long as we keep buying cheap disposable junk, we'll have to live with the noise and extra trash created when we have to replace it every couple of years.
I just send a kid out with the lawn mower when most of the leaves are down. It shreds them and bags them, then they go into the compost. The grass needed one last trim anyway.ReplyDelete
i hate leaf blowers. They are loud and a waste of energy. Allow leaves to be piled and put into compost bags or just collectively organized in one area. Leaf blowers suck up electricity, cause a lot of noise and only move the leaves slightly to the side, allowing them to be easily blown back into the area they were before. The excuse that the elderly or injured need it is bollox. if you are too crippled to rake leaves you should not be outside with weighty machinery. If you can afford a leaf blower you can afford to hire the neighborhood kid for $10 to rake your lawn.ReplyDelete
I believe the phrase is just 'hoi ploi' not 'the' hoi ploi.ReplyDelete
Anon, see my comment from yesterday at 4:18 re "hoi polloi."ReplyDelete
The situation in the southwest was with the Hantavirus, which was spread via the dust created from dried rodent feces and urine. They had a particularly wet summer, which led to a large harvest of nuts. With this harvest, came an increase in the rodent population, and that increase lead to increased instances of hantavirus. It was my mother's cousin who identified the disease, but only after a few Navajo youths had fallen ill of the disease and died.
I had thought to mention it in my previous posting, but decided I was getting long winded and left it out.
One and Only, you're quite correct. I just checked the CDC website re plague in the SW, and the transmission is ascribed to fleas, not to aerosols. I must have been misremembering the hantavirus as yersinia. Getting old...ReplyDelete