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When I first moved from New York City to Portland, Oregon, nearly a decade ago, I was a little surprised by all of the urban trees. After all, the city is nicknamed Stumptown for the clear-cutting that happened in the mid-1800s. I was also surprised by the near-constant leaf production of the oak, laurel, and maple trees in my yard. (Apparently thinking leaves fall only in autumn is a very East Coast mindset.) So for three seasons a year, my husband, Tony, and I spent hours cleaning them up. We bought a leaf blower, but in addition to being obnoxiously loud, it didn’t do a great job on damp leaves, which is a classic Portland problem. So we raked. And raked and raked.
When Tony brought Leaf Scoops home from the hardware store — he is prone to impulse-grabbing items like $12 jerky at the checkout line — I rolled my eyes. The dorky, low-tech scoops are bright-yellow, Pac-Man-shape plastic disks with a strap that you slip your hands through; imagine those little monkey toys that play the cymbals. They just seemed unnecessary: a tool to transfer piles of raked leaves into a compost pile or bag. We have hands and gardening gloves, don’t we?
Tony used the Leaf Scoops several times, and every time he came in raving about how much faster they make everything, or how well the ridged “fingers” work for grabbing errant leaves at the end of the pile so you don’t have to do a second pass with the rake to clean up the leftovers. The next time he was out of town (I have my pride), I decided to finally try them. And I am in love. Though they don’t help with the raking process, Leaf Scoops cut in half the time it takes to transfer leaves from piles into a compost bin, bag, or wheelbarrow. On top of that, they’re actually kind of fun to use. Along with all the trees, our backyard has prickly wild blackberries and roses we have to cut back, and the thick plastic of the Leaf Scoops protect me from the thorns or those trimmings better than any gardening glove I’ve used.
When Tony returned, I had to admit that he was 100 percent right about the Leaf Scoops. He celebrated the win by buying me a pair of my own.
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