If you ever decide you'd like to have a nice Koi pond, I have a little advice for you: you're wrong. Yes, I know, this may come as a shock to many of you who are used to always agreeing with Me, CherkyB. But I call it like I see it. And you're wrong.
That said, this week all but one of our trees decided to drop all of their leaves. Now, this year was going to be different. This year, I had a plan. Yes, I was going to get the bagging kit for my beloved lawn tractor, and then suck everything up with that. I googled the living shite out of my lawn tractor, and I couldn't find the bagging kit anywhere. Heck, I couldn't even get a model number from the manufacturer's website (which is a pathetic website, as you can't even get the model number of the bagging kit for any of the tractors they sell today, much less one from 3 years ago).
So, after a while, I found this nice little bagger on Amazon that was a Poulan. But it said it fit all Poulan, Poulan Pro, Husqvarna, and a couple other brands they make that had 42" decks.
I have a 42" deck on my Husqvarna. So, since I have Amazon Prime, I got it delivered in two days for free.
Of course, it didn't fit. Not even close, really. Completely wrong mounting bracket. Amazon was nice enough to send UPS out to get it for free, since it was technically a listing error on their website.
Then I decided to look in the packet of stuff that came with the tractor, and lo, there was an accessory guide that had the model number. Googling that model number came up with many, many places selling it. All for $450. Plus shipping. And it's big.
Now, I'll be damned if I'm going to pay $450 plus shipping just to rake up leaves. I don't bag the rest of the year, as I've swallowed hook-line-and-sinker that eco-liberal claptrap about mulching being better for your lawn. Better, shmetter. I like it because, like a top-notch prom date, it's cheaper and easier.
So it was back to the Echo ES-210 Shred'n'Vac. I have very mixed feelings about this leaf vac. The second time I used it, the choke lever broke off (it does have a 5-year warranty, though, so if I could just find the receipt, I could get it fixed for free). Other than that, it seems pretty well-constructed, despite being made in China. The design, on the other hand, is questionable. There's really one Achilles heal to the design - too much clearance between the blades and the housing means it is prone to clogging.
There's about a 1/4" gap where stuff can get around the blade, and the stuff that tends to do this is twigs. Little, 1/4" diameter, 4" long, flexible twigs. And when they slip in there, they get wedged in and wound up around the blade, and the motor stalls. This wouldn't be so bad if there was some way to clear the clog that didn't involve requiring a screwdriver to loosen the worm screw on a metal band clamp in order to get the feed tube off, and then having to tighten up the band clamp again when putting it back together. If there were a lever to release the clamp, I would say I actually like this leaf vac. But having to carry around a screwdriver is annoying, and the worm screw clamp is needlessly time consuming.
Doubly bad when you consider that one of my trees doesn't just drop leaves. It also drops tons and tons of little twigs that are exactly the right dimensions to clog this. If I'm lucky, I can make it 5 minutes without a clog. If I'm unlucky, 8 seconds.
I decided to grind up everything under that tree with the lawn tractor, and then just suck up the mulch with the vac. That worked pretty well.
I managed to get 3/4 of the leaves up today in about 5 hours. I left the last 1/4 for the kids to play in. Plus, I couldn't move my arms anymore, and my hands were tingling like crazy from the vibration of the motor. So screw it. Those leaves are all trapped by our fence in a corner where they have formed a 2.5' deep leaf drift that is about 10' long. Perfect for jumping in.