By Edison A. Thomas | Beacon innovation columnist
Every year they fall from the trees like dying leaves. And every year we frustrated homeowners drag them around our yards with modified farm implements and then throw them away.
But one local man has found a solution to the annual tedium of fall cleanup. Just ask him.
Bass Lake resident Lee F. Pyle spent his summer looking for an easier way to deal with the yearly hassle of raking leaves. And by some accounts, mainly his, he found one.
Pyle this week held a Steve Jobs-syle unveiling of his latest invention: the self-propelled leaf rake, which he calls the “Gravi-Rake.” With the front room of the Bass Lake Inn/Convenience store filled with nearly 13 people Pyle, flanked by scale models of his invention, played a video of the contraption in action.
The video showed a backyard strung with parallel lengths of zip-line hung in alternating slopes, like a bunch of ski lifts going in opposite directions. To the high side of the zip-line, Pyle attached his tool, a 145-pound steel and graphite rake with a pulley attached to the top of a telescoping handle. Once released, gravity pulled the rake across the lawn and piled the collected leaves neatly at the end of the zip line.
Pyle said the idea came to him one night out of the blue.
“I was just lying there and it came to me out of the blue,” Pyle said of the idea.
Pyle plans to sell his invention out of his garage for $99.99.
“I’ve got six built so far,” he said. “Hurry while supplies last!”
Caution: Use of the Gravi-Rake may result in serious injury up to and including death. Do not use around small children or slow-moving adults. Pets should be kept inside during operation. Do not use near power lines or in windy conditions. Lawn damage may occur. Protective equipment such has hard hats, gloves, leather aprons and goggles should be worn at all times. Do not operate while under the influence of medicines causing drowsiness or confusion. Consumption of alcohol or illegal drugs during Gravi-Rake use is discouraged. Gravi-Rake, Inc. and its subsidiaries are not responsible, so don’t call or drop by.