For my b-day present (back in August) I asked my parents for money to buy a leaf blower/sucker mulcher. I finally got the opportunity to use it this afternoon.
In between my yard and RR's yard is a HUGE sugar maple (legally it's HIS tree, but it drapes my entire side yard). It's because of this tree that during the summer months I'm unable to "monitor" him from my bedroom window into his living room. Note: I don't do that and wouldn't do that even without the tree. The tree provides a lot of shade that probably brings down my summer cooling costs.
The roots are very close to the surface, making it tough to mow around. The roots also make it difficult for grass to grow, so it's not that big of a deal. It also drops a ton of leaves, and as the leaves inconveniently for me drop during fall hunting season while RR is away, I have taken it upon myself to "deal with" the leaves in both our yards. Again, this is his entire backyard and my side yard, my front yard (another big sugar maple) and my backyard (2 sugar maples--one in my backyard and the other one just over the border in my other neighbor's yard).
Last year I raked. And raked and raked and raked. I was sore and had blisters all over my hands (well, honestly I think it was only one blister, but it hurt and was in a poorly located spot). I had big paper bags from Home Depot that I dutifully filled, one after another. When all was said and done I put 20+ hours into the project and it took 25 of the big bags filled twice. (How did I do that? Eforce took me and my leaves to the Anoka County compost place to dump the first batch).
This year I decided to try the blower/sucker thing and so far so good. The most frustrating part is the extension cords; I have to be very careful else I pull out a connection on one of the 3 cords. Yes, I could have gotten a gas powered machine, but I think that would have been tougher to maintain through the years.
The blower part is fantastic. I VERY quickly blew all the leaves into multiple large piles. The vacuuming is slower than blowing, but I believe faster than the bagging by hand. Also much less physical work. The machine also mulches the leaves down to (advertised) 1/16th of their original size. I tend to believe the advertising because when I dump the bag the leaves are close to dust.
I am halfway done or so in about 4 hours and have 5 big lawn and leaf bags filled. Talking to my mom tonight I think I may start a compost pile in my backyard and may just dump the leaves I take care of tomorrow into a pile.