• Journal

Autumn leaves

Autumn is definitely my favorite season of the year. There are a few reasons, but among them are the cooler temperatures, the colors of the leaves, kids going back to school, the approach of Samhain (Halloween) where we have an excuse to set out all the skulls, pumpkin and apple picking, and the yard mowing chore is largely on an 'as needed' basis only. Although I can't say I look forward to it each year, I do have a little place in my heart for leaf raking.

Yes, I still rake my leaves! I happen to live in a neighborhood where most folks still do their own yard work which is nice I think. Getting outside for a couple hours and working up a sweat dealing with the leaves is satisfying somehow. Most folks bag their leaves, but I have a problem with that since I can't see actually taking the time to bag what usually amounts to a huge amount of leaves just to be carted over to the ecology center and turned into mulch when I could let it turn into mulch in my own yard. Luckily I have a big yard and nobody behind me so I have a place to put them, but I still have to get the leaves to the back. For many years I've just used a blue plastic tarp, raked the leaves onto that and pulled it to the back. Most years I've gotten about 12 "pulls" of leaves - where the leaves on the tarp are a huge pile and (if wet) can be pretty heavy.

Earlier this year the next door neighbor decided to have some work done on their house and it necessitated the removal of two trees that used to stand right on the property line. These were a huge maple (which was huge even in the '80s as I remember my parents were worried it would hit the house in hurricane Gloria), and a sizable oak which hung over my house and dumped stuff on my roof and clogged up my gutters. Both used to shed a huge amount of leaves on the east side of the yard (and a lot of polly noses!), and I just had to deal with that. On the other side of the yard stood a big Bradford pear, planted after a hurricane took down the maple that was originally there. That tree was starting to self destruct this year as I've read they tend to do - with huge branches falling off in light winds. I was worried it would eventually take out the fence or hit the neighbor's house on that side so I had it taken down this summer. The difference was dramatic. As it turns out, with just the trees on my own property (which is very treed), I only got in 5 "pulls" of leaves this year! I still got a lot from the Sweet gum in the front and the massive oak in the back, but many of the other trees in my yard are small-leaved (Japanese maples, birch, etc.) or pines of some kind. I'll be out there again before the season ends, but this year was so much easier than for many years past.

I was sick for a couple weeks after the Oktoberfest party we had here (which should have been a post here, but never got around to it), necessitating my missing camping at our yearly Samhain festival and even this raking knocked me out. Since it got cold I haven't been riding or doing anything physical and this inactivity has really taken it's toll, and I've put on a few more pounds... ugh. Time to get back out of the chair, and stop shoving garbage down my gullet.