It’s Round Up Time!

And I’m not talking about the use of the chemical weed killer!  I’m talking about the leaf rodeo that many of us participate in this time of year.  The time when the leaves become a stampede and create a colorful carpet that we have to round up.  I’m not sure, but I think a goat rodeo might be more fun!  
Earlier this year, after much begging from the man who helps me with yard work and his insistence that we could more easily conquer the leaf pick up task with the proper equipment, I succumbed to his pleading and purchased a new John Deere tractor and a Cyclone Rake. 
With the promise of fewer backaches and more time, I watched with great anticipation as the John Deere truck pulled into my driveway.  My shiny new X304 tractor was rolled off the trailer and into my yard.  After a quick lesson on how to operate it, the John Deere truck drove off with my 25 year old mower in tow.  The first step towards simplified leaf cleanup was complete!

Out with the old…..
In with the new….

With my new tractor up and running, the next step was to purchase and attach the Cyclone Rake.  Sounds easy, right?  Not so much….Spending my money on the Cyclone Rake was easy, but then the boxes began to arrive – all 9 of them!  There was no way I was going to spend time watching the video and reading the book to figure out how to piece together 9 boxes worth of parts.  Instead, I convinced my yard helper to assemble it.  Many hours and several weekends later, my new steed was ready for the rodeo, or so I thought.  Turns out I had to have the mulching plug removed from my tractor’s mower deck and then re-configure shelving in my shed so I could actually store my new equipment.  Then there was the tree that was too close to the door preventing me from easily driving my shiny new purchases in and out of the building. I also realized that despite the 9 boxes of parts I received, the necessary vacuum hose was not included.  More money.  More boxes. More assembly.

Imagine my frustration at this point.  I clearly wasn’t seeing how this new strategy and all my expensive equipment was going to save me time or money.  So far it had only cost me time, money and valuable space!
The day finally came when I decided to use my machines.  After all, I had made a significant investment and needed to see if I could start to gain some value.  I must say I was impressed with the system’s capacity to collect leaves.  I have 1.3 acres of property and the Cyclone Rake enabled me to pick up all the leaves in only 2 loads.  I also liked the feature that made it easy for me to dump the leaves, as opposed to picking up heavy bags.  I simply backed the Cyclone Rake up where I wanted the leaves to be deposited, then released the coupling and dumped the leaves in a pile.  Now that’s a bucking bronco feature I like!

My new Cyclone Rake attached to the tractor

A full load of leaves! 

Love the bucking bronco feature…..

The vacuum assembly is helpful too.  I never liked cleaning much, but I’d prefer to vacuum the beds than rake them. 

Using the leaf vacuum system

Just as I was starting to adore my new machine and its capabilities, I learned another lesson.  Like a cowgirl holding on for dear life, I lost track of the back end of my new bronco as I turned a corner in my yard. That small misstep caused me to hit a post on my shed leaving a large divot that needed to be repaired.  Frustrating, but fixable I decided.  Just more time and more money.  

It’s now been several weeks since I started to use my Cyclone Rake and I must say, I’m developing a greater fondness for it every day.  I think it will be years before I fully recoup my investment, but I can definitely see how it will save time and backaches going forward.  I guess that means it’s worth the short term headaches, the mishaps, and the money.  Every cowgirl gets thrown off a few times before she figures out how to master the bucking bronco.  I think I have finally figured out how to stay on.  I may be bruised, but I will keep getting back in the saddle and stay there until I round up my herd of leaves. 


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