One of the most interesting and useful pieces of equipment we acquired when we bought this house nearly 10 years ago is something that is apparently called « un balai-ramasseur » — a lawn sweeper used for picking up autumn leaves. (A balai is a broom, and ramasseur derives from the verb ramasser meaning "to pick up" or "gather.")
It works on the principle of an old-style carpet sweeper. It doesn't have a motor — you just push it. There's a brush on the axle between the wheels that sweeps up leaves (in this case) or dust (in the case of a carpet sweeper). The lawn sweeper has a canvas bag that collects the leaves as you roll the apparatus around your yard.
Progress on the leaf front at La Renaudière
And it works really well. It's quiet. It doesn't burn gas or diesel fuel. It doesn't require a power cord. After trying to use the lawn mower to pick up the leaves, Walt pulled the old push sweeper out of the garden shed yesterday morning and made quick work of sweeping up a lot of leaves that had fallen out of our apple and linden trees this week. The grass catcher on the lawn mower was just too small for the job.
The balai-ramasseur we found in the garden shed when we arrived here in 2003
It's a heck of a lot easier than raking — which is what I was doing yesterday morning out front on the driveway, where another ton of maple leaves had fallen. At this point, there are no more maple leaves on the two trees out there — heureusement ! The lawn sweeper is also a lot less annoying and less polluting than those gas-powered leaf blowers that everybody uses these days.
Walt trying the leaf sweeper on the gravel path — the leaves there
were too wet and mashed down for sweeping, though
We had high winds overnight. In a few minutes, I'll go out and see if all the leaves we swept up and raked up — which we piled neatly on the vegetable garden plots — have just blown all over the yard again.