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Leaf Conspiracy Theories

>> Monday, November 9, 2009

We woke up early on Sunday to the most glorious November day imaginable.  It was in the 60s, with brilliant sun.  We were heartbroken that we weren't in the Adirondacks, but I guess there's no denying that we desperately needed a yard work day.

Here's the morning moon, overseeing our outdoor breakfast.  Too nice to be inside for a minute:

This is the primary reason we needed a yard work day:

Those are my ankles disappearing in the leaves, in case you couldn't tell.  The remarkable thing about it is the leaves were just plain that deep over the entire yard.  The whole thing.  Another view:

Uh, yeah.  That's the chopping block being eaten by leaves.  See that nice strip of green in the background, where the neighbors diligently raked their yard?  They put us to shame on Saturday.  There was no putting it off any longer.

I swear there was some kind of conspiracy this year around the neighborhood.  I think everyone  secretly bagged up their leaves and transported them to our yard, scattering them to make it look like they just fell there.  We have a few maple trees, but this was ridiculous.  Seriously, we had at least twice the number of leaves that we had last fall.  We also had lots of corn husks in our yard.  We did not, however, grow corn or decorate with corn husks.  See what I mean about conspiracy?  The wind was clearly in on it, too.  I hate that crotchety old wind.

And I hate raking.  It's a good workout, there's no denying that.  It's also outside, which makes it vastly superior to cleaning the house.  But it's exhausting and slow going.  If I had to break down raking into its component parts and identify the single most irritating bit, this is the thing that annoys me the most:

Gah!  It bothers me just to see all those crunchy little suckers stabbed on there!  I want my rake tines to stay neat and clean, not gather massive leaf skirts.  I don't know if the rake is actually less effective with all the leaves stabbed onto the tines, but it feels like it is.

Here's the front yard leaf pile (a portion of it) threatening to consume me as a snack:

We raked the entire day.  We only own a quarter acre of land!  The only break we took was to drive 5 miles to Ace Hardwear and get more leaf bags and a new pair of hedge trimmers since Spouse bent the last pair irreparably on the privet.

At least we had some good company.  Tucker was in his glory.  He was outside on a sunny warm day, with his humans for company.  Here he is, apparently looking at the leaf pile from a different perspective while rotating to get sun on his underside:

And of course, the hounds hung out and watched, too.  Simon even kindly peed on one of the leaf piles, just as I was about to get ready to bag it.  Here he is, looking bored and forlorn:

Clearly he is as fond of yard work days as I am.  We didn't just rake - we pruned all the shrubs, cleared out all the gardens, and removed a massive pricker bush that's been ambushing us whenever we went near it.  I have no idea what it was - I hope it wasn't some kind of native species I ought to have left for the well-being of the ecosystem.

The berries are so pretty this time of year, but 11 out of 12 months it was just a scraggly massive lawn-mowing encumbrance with the wickedest thorns I have ever had the misfortune to be stabbed by:

You can see what I mean by "scraggly", and that's with near-constant attempts at pruning the unruly brute.  It's all past-tense, now, though, because a chain saw made mighty quick work of it, although chopping it into bits we could haul to the curb was an incredible undertaking.  The poor Village employees who have to remove all our brush are going to swear a whole heck of a lot when they encounter those thorns.

Anyway, by the time we finished for the evening it was dark, and we were raking with headlamps.  35 well-packed leaf bags, and a pile of thorny brush later:

And we're still not done, because we ran out of bags for this:

I think, against all the laws of nature, the leaves were breeding throughout the day.  I cannot fathom how we could fill 35 bags and still have this much left.  If we're good, we'll bag this before the snow falls.  If not - well, at least the pile is in a different place this year than the one we left through last winter.  I figure the lawn in that spot needs a break.


Ellen Rathbone November 9, 2009 at 10:36 AM  

Man, what I wouldn't give for some of those leaves! Great mulch and food for the garden and compost pile! But, I have only one tree in my yard with any leaves worth the mention, but it's a cherry, and the leaves are small. It's hardly worth the bother of raking. I've actually considered snagging bags of leaves from curbside while I'm on Glens Falls doing my weekly shopping and errands!

Woodswoman Extraordinaire: November 9, 2009 at 10:43 AM  

I know, Ellen - you're making me feel even guiltier for not having much of an active compost pile at the moment. Its construction is on the to-do list, eventually. Although honestly I think even with a healthy compost pile we'd have had to bag at least some of them. I suspect no one would protest if you stole a few leaf bags! Speaking of food for gardens, I need to get my worm farm going again...

b. November 9, 2009 at 3:40 PM  

Headlamps? That's impressive. After a couple of hours, I would have given up until the spirit moved me again. Which is probably why we ended up raking mouldy, limp, sodden leaves in the spring...

Sneaksleep November 11, 2009 at 1:52 PM  

I just LOVE that photo of Tucker! I am a very lazy leaf-raker, so I don't envy the task you had.

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