The sun is shining. Temperatures are in the teens and I have to get outside. Has everyone finished raking their lawns yet? Me neither. The neighbours have nice stacks of yard waste bags lined up on the curb and I think I have noticed a glare or two because my leaves have migrated to the left and right of my property. If I wait long enough, perhaps the leaves will all wander off of their own accord? Of course, my friendly neighbours might too.


Okay, if I want to stay a member of the “good neighbours” club, it is time to grab the rake. Lets be honest though, how many of you have leaf blowers that take the place of the traditional rake nowadays? I have seen you out there blowing leaves into big piles on Sunday mornings, when you could be enjoying that second cup of morning coffee. You know you still have to scoop all those leaves into bags at the end of it all, right? Or if there are enough of them, maybe even trailer them to the local yard waster depot.


There are alternatives though, some of which are pretty eco-friendly too. Look at the yard blower/vacuum. You can use it like a blower. You can add an attachment, to use it as a vacuum and many machines even come with the option of a shredder, effectively reducing the amount of left over debris. Electric models are 50-70% quieter than gas models and do not emit near the amount of air pollution. They are generally fairly light weight, but best of all, leave your yard free and clean of those pesky leaves. Now don’t forget that you don’t have to deposit all those leaves at the curb either. Once they are shredded, they are perfect fodder for mulch or the compost pile.


Speaking of shredding, you could always pull out the lawnmower to help with the task at hand. Many lawnmowers have mulching options, but the regular blade will make short work of a pile of leaves as well. Run your mower over the lawn, then check to see what is left – almost nothing. You could leave it there to help fertilize the lawn or collect the shredded leaves and toss them into the composter. You might even have a bagger, so that you don’t have to do anything more than dump the contents of the bag straight into your compost pile.


Probably the best eco-option, for those that are worried about a greener environment, is the lawn sweeper. No, I’m not talking about a corn broom, rather the piece of yard machinery seen here. If you choose the push kind, it is powered by good old-fashioned muscle power. You can work on getting those 10,000 steps in, while you leave the yard spic and span. Of course, if you have a larger space to clean up, there are models that can be attached to vehicles such as ATVs or garden tractors. They have wider decks and make yard cleanup a quick and easy task.


Regardless of how you do it though, the season of leaf raking is coming to a close. If I want to get those leaves off the lawn before the snow flies, I better get on it. I would love to hear from you though what your preferred method for cleaning up your yard is. Are you a traditionalist, with rake in hand? Do you sneer at anyone that doesn’t pack a maximum horse-powered hand blower? Or are you content to run the lawn mower one more time, leaving minimal debris in your path, that Mother Nature will clean up in her good time?


Ok, its time. Sayonara leaves!