The LA and I live in an apartment community. What this means is that there are no gardening tasks I need to perform, unless I decide to grow something. There are grounds, with plants growing on them, and a gaggle of small men who maintain them.
At this time of year, even in California, the leaves are turning and falling (I must remember to take a camera next time I'm visiting the LA's parents; some of their trees are gorgeous), and so there is a drift of leaves. This being the USA, they need to be removed, lest you get natural mulch and humus. Again, this being the USA, the small men refuse to use rakes to collect the leaves. Instead, they scatter them using leaf-blowers. Said leaf-blowers are powered by small but loud two-stroke engines, which is hardly West Coast Hippie. I personally find it amazing that leaf-blowers haven't been banned; they're loud, they're ineffective, and they're unkind to air quality.
Indeed, the blowers fail even the most basic test of leaf-collecting: actually collecting leaves. They merely redistribute them, mainly to the surface of the ponds.
Speaking of the ponds, recently the LA and I were walking home from somewhere, and I saw a small bird. For the Americans, it was roughly football-shaped; for the rest of the world, roughly rugby-ball shaped (the rest of the world is closer) and it was cryptic colours, with a dagger-like beak, showing it to be related to herons. I ran it past the rather good What Bird? wizard, and ascertained it to be an American Bittern.