"Good idea about calling them dust blowers... I see that constantly and it just astounds me.
I finally got the man next door (with the loudest Toro this side of hell) to stop using [his blower] to clean his roof. I told him his dust was now decorating the brand new white lampshades in my master bedroom, and when he was done with his $80k master bedroom suite addition to his house, I would be sorely tempted to return the favor. He has sworn to never do it again. If I can't get the blasted things banned, I at least will make sure no one ever uses it to clean a roof - that's just insane!!!"
Noise Free America Central Florida Branch
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A Letter to the Editor:
To the Editor (NYTimes) re ''The Silence of the Leaves'' (Editorial, Feb. 26-06):
For the longest time I have been astounded at how tolerant homeowners seem to be of the constant, earsplitting noise, flying debris and pollution emanating from leaf blowers and other landscaping devices.
Although my village enacted a summertime leaf blower ban, landscape laborers routinely flout the law and blow anyway. What has become the new standard for outdoor beauty is not beautiful for the ears or the lungs.
Any reduction in the decibel level would be much appreciated, though from what I understand the new blowers are not that much quieter.
Maybe suburbanites can change their vision from the need for hyper-manicured lawns. It's O.K. to say to your gardener, ''Don't use a leaf blower."
We contract our lawn and yard work to a friend, a Mexican immigrant, whose business has grown over ten years to involve three pickup trucks and nine workers. His success compels him to squeeze more productivity out of his crews. T_ started with himself and one worker and one gasoline-motor powered leaf blower. Now each crew has three leaf blowers to accompany the motorized mowers and trimmers. He used to take two hours to maintain our yard, with the leaf blower operating one hour. Now his crew requires only one hour. The three leaf blowers roar for forty-five minutes. Not a speck of dirt on the driveway and walkways, not a leaf, not a blade of grass is left to deface our yard. The clippings on the lawns are blown onto tarps and carried to plastic bins.
The noise from the leaf blowers is so loud as to be painful. On cooler days, when I have left the windows open after the night, I must rush around the house to close them when the yard crew arrives in late morning. Several weeks ago, I was not fast enough. The noise was so raucous and ear-splitting that our housekeeper retreated to the upstairs bathroom, shut herself in, and sat on the closed commode crying in pain.
Why not brooms? With straw brooms and wide push brooms, a crew could clear the walks and patios of debris in thirty minutes. They could leave the clippings on the grass. I have meant for weeks to ask T_ to ask him to have his crew use brooms; but, being busy with a list of chores longer than time available, I have neglected to bring myself this relief.