Saturday, July 7, 2012

DIY Leaf Transporter

We have a pretty large yard...over an acre of cleared land that grows something that's enough like grass that it needs to be raked and mowed.  We also have some very nice neighbors across the street who have some very nice, shady old oak trees.  And guess what?  Our neighbor's trees like to share their leaves with us.  Like almost all of them.  How generous...

If you've ever tried to keep-up with oak leaves, as opposed to maple or other varieties, you know what a chore they can be.  They're big, brown, heavy when wet, and they take ages to break-down and compost.  To make matters worse, our property is long and skinny--sort of boomerang-shaped, and most of the leaves collect in the driveway and front yard while the place where I wish to move them to for composting is at the very opposite end of the boomerang (closer to the wooded areas).  This makes simply blowing them into the woods with a leaf blower not practical.

And so comes the do you move a massive quantity of leaves across almost an acre without making 900 trips with a wheelbarrow?

I've tried everything...and I mean everything.  I've tried raking them into a blue tarp.  I end-up dropping half of them.  I've tried chewing and sucking them up with the lawnmower bagger.  Takes forever, as well as 900 trips and leaves chopped leaves all over the lawn.  I've tried a yard wagon.  Too small.  Then, came the miracle device...

Folks, that right there is a state-of-THE-art Leaf Transportation System(tm)!

...Okay, so it's a kiddie pool with a rope tied to it.  And I can't take credit for it either.  This gem of an idea came from my father-in-law and you know what?  It works.


1) Acquire one large-sized plastic children's swimming pool.  If you have the option for a sturdier model, shell-out the extra bucks for it.  You'll thank yourself later.

2) Scrounge-up the following: A length of rope (nylon is best, as it doesn't stretch and spring back like cotton would), an 8-inch piece of scrap 1-by board, and a length of 1/2-inch PVC or PEX pipe (optional).

3) Drill two holes at least one inch in from the ends of the board.  Using the board as a template, drill the same hole spacing through the wall of the pool.

4) Using the board as a brace to prevent tearing of the pool wall, run the rope through the holes in the board and the pool.  Optionally, run the rope through the plastic tubing on the outside of the pool to create a handle that's easier on the hands (not shown in photo).  Tie it off and position the handle correctly.

5) Using a snow shovel with cupped sides (another multi-tasker!), fill your new transporter with leaves and drag to your compost pile.  Upend the pool to dump.  That's it!

I haven't tried dragging it with the tractor yet like a trailer but the thought did cross my mind.  I'm a tad afraid I'll tear the thin plastic.

Note: The reason I'm sharing this now instead of in October is because it's surprisingly hard to obtain a pool after the summer months are up.  You'll want to make your purchases now while they're in stock and stash it away for leaf season.

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