Wind Power

I recently got my hands on my first true dad gadget – a backpack blower!  It’s the ultimate tool for any dad out there and will help you get your yard in top shape.  In fairness it also give you some extra benefits, if you are looking for some alone-time.

  • earmuffs on a warm day keeps excessive noise out of your head while looking awesome
  • the noise of the blower blocks out screaming kids, barking dogs and phones
  • your wife will not have a chance in hell of getting you to do other stuff

wind makerWell, this was my first experience with such a powerful piece of equipment, and it happened to be a proper professional item.  Not one of these tolls you get in a general hardware store, but a miniature wind turbine strapped into a harness.  The crazy thing is, I was meant to tie this contraption on my back and be strong enough to withstand the awesome gale for winds it would produce.

Naive and with a schoolboy attitude, I prepared to start the backpack blower while it was of course sitting on the garage floor. 1 – 2 – 3 – 4 – 5 – 6 pulls before I realised I had to open the fuel line!  Then I adjusted the choke and pulled my shoulder out of joint, or at least it felt like that.

The engine spluttered and finally came to life, and I let it breathe a little before I lifted the 12lbs sucker up and swung t around to be on my back.  So far, so good!

As I accelerated the wind turbine, the garage floor started to move.  It was obviously not the floor itself, but all the stuff that was carefully placed there; leaves, papers, shovels, small bikes and kids.  The room was filled with dust and leaves, so I quickly placed a mask and goggles on my face – starting to look like a mad scientist.

It took a few minutes for me to get then hang of the controls, and I carefully started to blow out the garage, starting in one corner and managing the wind speeds to avoid items to become lethal projectiles … I obviously didn’t want to scratch my El Camino.

It wasn’t long and the garage was spotless.  Only problem, all the crap was now outside in my driveway and I’m certain neither my wife nor our neighbours would appreciate the post-nuclear war landscape I had created, so I had to clear that up too.

Now, this is probably where my personal-windturbine skills were lacking.  It started out well and I managed to gather most of the stuff next to the now closed garage doors.  As I slowly moved the pile into a corner, a few smaller things refused to move.  To encourage the items to move, I accelerated the wind power a little … then a little more … and then … f**k it!

tornadoI released the full power of the blower and unleashed a personal tornado in my driveway, full of debris, paper, leaves, small rocks, etc.  I was mesmerised that this was even possible, and stood there like an idiot looking at the man-made wall of dust that was rising before me – and not turning of the blower, so it kept getting bigger.  I suddenly realised that I should turn off the blower only to get caught in a shower of debris.

My head and shoulders were being barraged by thousands of small objects, and thick layer of dirt dust-covered me.  I was dumb enough not to move an inch, despite have front row seats to what was coming down at me.  The damn adrenaline got the better of me!

Oh well, had to start over again, and this time I was a little more careful.

After having proudly cleared garage and drive way, I stood at the top of the driveway with a silly grin on my face.  “I had achieved utterly manliness level #5 that morning”.  Next challenge will be clearing the gutters, but I’m not sure I how I’ll fare in that challenge; me, personal-windtunnel-created and on a ladder?  Not great odds!

Anyway, the next 12 minutes were spent pushing my 4-year-old daughter around on the street with the power blower, while she was on her tricycle.  I air-dried my 10-year-old daughters wet hair and tested the capability of rolling a golf ball into the hose and then full power air ejecting it out.

I did receive a few interesting looks rom our more mature neighbour fathers, who could clearly see that it was my first time … and they smiled while giving me thumbs up.  They had obviously been at this stage already and tried what I tried.  BUT, I could also sense that they told me telepathically (it must be some father-to-father rays) that this was a once off day – next time it’s serious.

It was an awesome day!  I can’t wait to try that sucker again.  And, imagine what it can do with snow 🙂

What is your coolest daddy garden/DIY toy?

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