Sunday, October 29, 2017

Reminiscing: Falling for Leaves

As I looked out this window this cool, rainy Sunday morning, I noticed that there are still a lot of leaves on the trees. To me, it seems like there are way more than normal still on the trees. Apparently, the awesome, warm fall we’ve had has allowed the trees to hold onto their foliage for a bit longer than usual. However, with the change towards a late fall feeling, the days are numbered for the leaves. That means we’ll have some raking in our very near future.

When I was a kid, we didn’t have a whole lot of leaves in our yard. Sometimes in the front yard, we’d get enough to rake, but a lot of times, my dad would just mow them over. The same thing goes for my house now. With the prevailing west to east winds and a six-foot fence at the western edge of the property, most of the neighboring leaves never make it to my yard, or they just blow out into the yards to the east of us.

I think I wrote last week that we used to do odd jobs around the neighborhood to get a little extra cash. Raking leaves was definitely on that jobs list. I had two people who would pay me for getting the leaves out of the yard. Miss Hobbs just a couple houses down the street would occasionally give me a job of clearing her front yard. However, my steady customer was the Danna family on Autumnvale, almost directly behind my house on Walnut.

They had a ton of trees. Their yard would be completely carpeted with leaves. One year, I had my friend, Matt (different Matt from pop bottle Matt) assist me. Together we got most of the front yard done on day one. I went back the next day alone to finish up. It was a beast of a job. I got the whole front yard done I tried to tackle the backyard. There were so many trees that it seemed like an endless job. I got paid pretty well for that job.

Down in Lyndonville, both my grandmothers had yards that needed to be raked. I can remember one time at MeMe’s house that we had the whole family out to help. It was the five of us, my cousins, David and Charlie, with Aunt Debbie and Bill. While we spent the afternoon raking, MeMe and my mother made dinner for all of us. By the time we finished, we had the biggest piles of leaves along the side of Eagle Street that I had ever seen. I swear that every leaf in the village of Lyndonville somehow ended up in MeMe’s yard that year.

At my other grandmother’s house, the yard was a bit smaller, and she didn’t mind if we piled them into a huge pile to jump in. For some crazy reason, I decided we should create our pile under the maple tree in the side yard. That way I could jump out of the tree into the leaves below. We would spend hours jumping into the leaves, gathering them back into a pile, and jumping some more. By the we were tired of jumping, we had to pull all those leaves to the street for collection.

Leaves can be the bane of our existence. It’s quite a job to get the cleared before the trucks come by for pickup. But, they can be a lot of fun. For some reason, our girls decide that Neighbor John has more than his fair share of leaves and collects them to bring to our yard to play in. We end up with a pile of decaying leaves in the middle of the yard that normally would be elsewhere. It’s good, cheap fun for them. Sometimes I just wish they would rake them out to the street when they were done. However, mostly I end up cleaning them up myself…in the spring.

They’re good for the compost, though. I will sometimes pull them onto the garden in a thin layer in late fall. Those leaves will leave behind a rich, humus atop the soil that will help the plants grow in the spring and summer. It’s also a lot cheaper than having to bring in compost to give the garden a little boost each year.

With so many leaves still on the trees, and cold weather quickly approaching, I’m sure we’re in for a bit of a mess with leaves this year. We’ll keep our fingers crossed. As I wrote this, my phone notified me that there is a wind advisory through Tuesday afternoon. Let’s hope that these winds will drop only the leaves, and not branches. At the very least, let’s get rid of the leaves still on the trees.

Craig Bacon doesn’t like to rake anymore, but it is still easier than shoveling. He wants to remind people that we don’t need to shovel humidity, either.