Much like death and taxes we can always count on autumn leaves and the annual backbreaking chore of collecting them with a rake and bag. I’ve decided that this is going to be the year that I get excited about raking leaves. How? Gadgetry of course. I’ve selected five tools to try out with the hope that one of them will make the job easier. Maybe you’d like to try one of these too?
It’s hard to beat a rake when it comes to gathering leaves. Even if you use a leaf blower, you still need a rake. My main frustration with rakes is the leaves get woven between the tines. This incarnation has tines that bend down 90 degrees and connect to make a V-shape. Because it’s made of poly instead of metal the tines won’t bend out of shape either. Reviews I’ve read say that the rake works well on leaves, twigs and pine needles. It’s available in 24-inch and 30-inch sizes.
A thought that frequently crosses my mind while bagging leaves is “I wish I had giant dinner-plate-shaped hands.” Well, that wish is going to come true this year with the help of Gardex Leaf Scoops. The promise here is the ability to grab more leaves at one time without having the rely on the awkward rake and hand method. These will also be great for picking up thorny stems when I prune my roses in spring
This is a pretty simple concept that I’m hoping will make a big difference in how I bag leaves. The Bag Butler® is a piece of heavy duty plastic with side panels that fold flat when not in use. One slips a bag over the Bag Butler® and bends the side panels backwards so that the tension will cause them to stand open. I feel certain that there will be some finessing required to get the Bag Butler® set up, but I think it will be worth it because the plastic sleeve prevents twigs from ripping through the bag. You can also lay the leaf bag on its side to rake leaves right in.
This tool is a flexible disc that bends into a cannoli shape. Cover one end with a bag or yard waste bin, rake leaves onto the Leaf Loader then tip everything up and the leaves slide right into the bag or bin. An center strap adjusts to make the Leaf Loader as wide or narrow as you need. This looks like it would be an excellent tool for carrying leaves to the compost bin.
Congratulations to Ellie! Girl, you’ve got a pretty bad case of Barnheart!We’re sending you a copy of Jenna’s book.
Thanks to everyone for commenting. You’ve all painted wonderful pictures of rural life.
Do you have Barnheart? According to author and homesteader Jenna Woginrich Barnheart is a “dreamer’s disease” that attacks “those of us who wish to God we were outside with our flocks, feed bags, or harnesses instead of sitting in front of a computer screen.” Symptoms include studying chicken coop plans, daydreaming about heritage livestock breeds and calling in sick to work in the garden.
I am no stranger to the Barnheart syndrome so it was with relish that I read Jenna’s memoir Barnheart*. Her story of setting up her first homestead in Vermont is thoughtful and humorous and will definitely ease your longing for the farm life.
In between tales of caring for her expanding menagerie, and tending the garden she articulately describes that feeling of independence and satisfaction that comes from having homegrown food right outside the back door. It should be no surprise that my favorite chapter is about her turkey TD (Thanksgiving Dinner).
These days Jenna is living in New York. She is the author of three other books and a blog called Cold Antler Farm.
If you think Barnheart is just what the doctor ordered for your “dreamer’s disease” here’s your chance to win a copy. Tell me about your homesteading daydream in the comments section below.
I’ll select a winner on Friday February 10, 2012, just in time for Valentine’s Day.
*I received a review copy of Barnheart from my friends at Storey Publishing.
I was delighted to receive a copy of Julia Rothman’s book Farm Anatomy, The Curious Parts & Pieces of Country Life from Storey Publishing.
You may be familiar with Julia’s illustrations, wall papers, notecards and pattern designs. She has been featured on the blog Design Sponge DesignSponge.com and in magazines such as O At Home, ReadyMade, and Domino.
This book is right up my alley. Not only does the subject matter interest me, but it’s a visual treat. Whether she’s discussing plants to use for
natural dye or how to plow a field, Julia relies on illustrations with just a bit of text to convey the information. This makes otherwise complicated
topics pretty darn easy to understand. Makes me wonder why other books aren’t written this way.
Of course, the clincher for me is the spread on heritage turkey breeds. How can I not love a book that includes heritage turkey breeds?
So how about a copy of Farm Anatomy for your library? Post a comment about what you would raise on a farm for a chance to win Farm Anatomy. A winner has been selected. Thank you to everyone who participated! Love the comments!
Check out more of Julia’s illustrations online at
juliarothman.com & read her book blog at book-by-its-cover.com
Excerpted from Farm Anatomy, text and illustrations (c) by Julia Rothman, used with permission from Storey Publishing.
*Winners limited to the continental U.S.