Bobbi called from work yesterday reminding me that we were scheduled for some poopy weather later in the week and it would be kind of awesome if we got the back yard of Roseholme Cottage all raked and bagged before the next deluge.
I surveyed the situation. Roseholme is equipped with two rakes, and both are of the kind that fold up to grab the leaves when a sliding collar on the handle is manipulated. Unfortunately, one of them broke its gimmick, and without the gimmick they're fairly mediocre in the actual raking department. Apparently these rakes were sold between commercials for Snuggies and the Pocket Fisherman and are rather emphatically Not Available In Stores.
I was already planning to stop by Lowe's to get a bitty little Allen key for the setscrews on my flashlight, so I figured I'd pick up a rake while I was there; an ordinary, non-folding one, granted, but perhaps one that was more optimized for the actual raking part of the operation.
Once I got to the Palace of Hardware, I realized that transporting one of the budget rakes from the seasonal displays out front would require dropping the top on the Zed Drei. Maybe they had something more portable in the lawn & garden tool section. A bonsai rake, or perhaps a take-down titanium and carbon fiber travel model for people who like to go rake their parents' leaves every Thanksgiving? A folding rake that stows easily in your studio loft after you've... I don't know, raked the balcony?
I walked back to the gardening department and discovered something even better. Now, I've never paid much attention to leaf blowers, since they just blow stuff noisily around and you still have to scoop it up yourself at the end. But while I've not been paying attention, they've been adding a leaf-vac/mulcher function to all but the smallest and cheapest models. Lowe's had the next unit down from this one on sale for $49.99. That was less than the flashlight in my pocket!
I don't mind the actual raking part of the operation. It's relaxing and contemplative and if you're a total history dork you can maneuver piles and lines of leaves around on the ground and re-fight Waterloo or Little Bighorn as you rake, but the part where you have to get the leaves from the pile into the bag is made of pure drudgery, and last night's work in the back yard was a revelation.
This thing really sucks!