I realized last fall that the greatest invention of mankind is not the wheel, it is the leaf blower. On Thanksgiving day I will be thankful for many many things, and one of them is the leaf-blower. I can’t imagine any outdoorsman not having one.

I remember years ago spending hours trying to sweep leaves off the porch and out of my basement, having to spend hours raking off the immediate area around the house, which I jokingly refer to as a ‘lawn’. I would put them on a big tarp and pull them to a spot in the woods and dump them.

Whenever I would dump them, the next day the wind would blow like the devil from that very direction and blow them all back where they were.

That is the story of my life… the wind always blowing the wrong darn direction. I don’t know how many times I have been out hunting ducks and the wind would be blowing out of the south and so I would spend an hour fixing a blind and decoys just right for the wind direction, sit back and get ready, then watch some front come in and the wind would switch direction and start blowing out of the north.

I don’t suppose, if you do not hunt ducks, that you would understand why that would be a problem! But if you ever float down a river (and with the coming of those little cheap kayaks, who doesn’t float down the river… meaning that every weekend a bunch of green-horn beer-drinkers go wind-milling down every river in the country) you know what happens when you are floating northward as the wind is calm and not at all a factor, and then it starts blowing out of the north with the strength of a small hurricane.

But I digress! What I started writing about is how wonderful leaf blowers are. Last fall I made enough out of selling walnuts that I had a down payment on a leaf blower and now there are no leaves on my porch or in my basement. In the basement, it also blew out spiders, spider webs, an empty gas can, a dead mouse and dozens of crickets. My basement ain’t been free of crickets since it was built. Up ‘til now, I had enough of ‘em to start a bait business for perch fishermen.

I never have lived in town, but I can see how a leaf-blower could create a neighborhood war. Imagine three or four neighbors living where they build those houses side by side, blowing their leaves into one of those manicured lawns next door or across the street! And then that neighbor blowing them back or passing them on to the next neighbor. That could go on all winter! But out here in the wilderness, I can blow my leaves off out in the woods and not worry about it. I ain’t got no neighbors within yelling distance, nor shootin’ distance neither, thank heavens.

I now have leaf piles all around that I can set fire to some day when there is snow on the ground, so I can have a five-minute bonfire when it is real cold, maybe roasting a hot dog on a real long limb.

But I like to fish in November and the river is sometimes so darned full of leaves that every cast hooks two or three leaves. Think of sitting in your boat using your leaf-blower to clear all the leaves from an acre or so of fishing water. And then you can point it backwards and stick the nozzle down in the water and use it as a trolling motor!

Two guys could hunt rabbits with a leaf blower. Get into thick cover or briar bushes where you can’t hardly see the ground, where rabbits don’t want to get out of. Turn on that leaf blower and your partner with his shotgun could get on the other side of the thicket and shoot flying rabbits, blowing in the wind. Say you want to get rid of ground hogs…. Just point that leaf blower down in the hole and let ‘er rip. If that groundhog don’t go out of the back-door hole he is likely dead.

You can open both doors on your pickup and clean it out like it ain’t never been cleaned; loose shotgun shells, old caps, donut bags and dried up sandwiches, gone in seconds. And you can remove stuff in the bed that has been unsweepable; clumped-up stuff will uncling itself and vanish in the wind.

Say you are hunting ducks on ponds and you sneak up over a bank and there’s a nice greenhead mallard sitting right in the middle of the pond. You clobber him with a load of number fours. Now there he is in the middle of the pond deader than a frozen frog, and there’s no wind. You’ll have to wait for an hour or two for him to drift to the bank. But if you have a leaf-blower… Or maybe a squirrel hung on a limb in the branches of a hickory. You can see how the problems of that kind can be solved.

I guess I have expounded enough on this. As time goes on I will let you know if I come up with different uses for one. Might even write a book entitled, “What you can do with your leaf-blower!” That title comes from something my wife said to me when I turned it on in the kitchen!

I have four sheds and they are crammed full of useful things I just couldn’t throw away. I use to empty them each spring and clean out leaves and cobwebs and an occasional dead lizard and then put everything back. I will never do that again. Now I will just make a little path to the back of each one, start that leaf blower and let ‘er rip. In just a minute, there won’t be nothing left that ain’t necessary and useful. And I will have the cleanest sheds in the whole county!

I urge readers to go to my website on the computer, larrydablemontoutdoors.blogspot.com.

On a regular basis it contains information which newspapers cannot print. To get in touch with me, write to Box 22, Bolivar, Mo, email me at lightninridge47@gmail.com or call me at 417-777-5227.