LEAF Me Alone!


A 'few' of the leaves on my lawn

This week I’ve begun working in my yard; it may be good exercise but it is NOT fun. My front yard, back yard and side yards are jam-packed with leaves that fell last fall.

I should have raked them in October, gathered them up and deposited them into see-through garbage bags for the sanitation department to pick up and haul away, but I rarely ever do what I should. Leaf-raking is no exception.

So now I’m staring at huge mounds of leaves, covering not only the moss that grows on my property (instead of lovely green grass that most lawns boast), but my flower beds, too. And since Spring has arrived early in Atlantic Canada this year, I know that underneath the

Another view of leaves

carpet of soggy, moldy leaves there are plants trying their best to reach for the sun.

Plants deserve better than that, so I decided it was time to gather up the leaves and let the flowers and bushes pop their little heads out of the soil, shake off any remaining remnants of winter’s chilling frost, and grow into the mature plants they were meant to be.

If only it was as easy as I make it sound. Gather up the leaves, deposit them neatly into garbage/leaf bags and drag them to the curb to await pick-up.

Nothing is as easy as it sounds.

And another

For one thing, ‘gather up the leaves’ really means ‘don my gardening gloves, bend my back and lock my knees, and rake, rake, rake until I have huge piles of leaves scattered around my yard, then bend my back even more and scoop the leaves up with my hands and/or rake and stuff them into a bag’.

The leaves, mind you, don’t want to go quietly into the dark night; they stiffen up like a child who doesn’t want to be carried to bed, and they puff out their dried up veins until they are too big to squish into the now seemingly minuscule plastic bag. But I persevere.

I push and I push and I push, jamming those d*&$ leaves into the clear plastic bags until they succumb to their fate. It is not a happy time for any of us.

Now,several days later, I’ve still not managed to deposit all the leaves into their new containers. I’ve walked around my yard, I’ve picked up dead branches that blew off the trees in a February storm, I’ve made a trip to the local hardware store to buy a metal bag-holder so that I won’t have to contort my torso into gymnastic-like poses in order to pick up the leaves and deposit them into the garbage bags, and I’ve contemplated a future without millions of leaves in my yard. But I haven’t disposed of the leaves.

I will; I promise. One day soon, before this coming fall covers my lawn with an entire new crop of nature’s colorful dandruff.

Tiny crocuses...so happy to be rid of their leaf covering!

Today when I came home from my second trip to the golf driving range (see previous post Bruised and Battered) I meandered around my front yard, scouring the landscape for new signs of life after winter.

And guess what I found? Tiny crocuses, stretching their necks to the sun, happy and content to have shed their winter blanket of leaves and snow. I took their picture, a reminder for me that life can spring forth from seemingly barren earth, that perhaps it is worth my while to finish raking the leaves in my yard.

I can only hope to finish my leaf-raking before the dreaded mosquitoes also figure out that Spring has arrived early this year! Because once they realize that, they will once again take over my yard and I will have to disappear into my home to hide until fall arrives…and then, of course, I’ll have even MORE leaves to rake…ahhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!

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16 thoughts on “LEAF Me Alone!

  1. Oh, Sylvia, I so wish we lived closer so we could “do lunch!” A house I used to live in had huge maple trees. I so loved the shade of those trees until fall when the “shade” was brown on the ground. It would take 40 of those huge leaf bags to clear my lawn. I hated that job even when I was young enough to force myself to do it ~ then I realized other people had money hungry adolescents living under their roofs for a reason!
    Your description of those “who would not go quietly into that good night” was nothing short of literary-ily brilliant. Look at it this way, if there is moisture in those leaves (we’re dealing with fire danger right now) those piles will breed the dreaded M pest you mentioned. The M’s are already in Maine, as are ticks. Good luck!

    1. Carol–who knows, maybe one day we’ll be able to meet for lunch…that would be so much fun! Also, thanks for the compliment about my word choice in that post…I like it when someone ‘gets’ my writing!
      Now, mosquitoes in April are just wrong, on every level! They are beginning to appear around here, too…although just a few for now…I’d love to have a couple of really cold days or nights just to try to kill off a bunch of them! Stay out of the way of ticks, though–they can be dangerous, right? Lupus…

  2. I’m dealing with leaves from oak trees that never let loose until mid-winter, so their blowing everywhere. I still wonder why people find gardening so therapeutic… 😉

  3. Raking leaves is one of the least “fun” jobs I can think of. Even wearing earphones listening to music doesn’t help. Too slow and relaxing and you never get the job done; besides, waltzing around the yard with the rake doesn’t accomplish much! Too fast and you can’t keep up, at least not at my age. Aren’t these “golden years” wonderful?

  4. The best investment we ever made was a mulching lawn mower which gobbles up and shreds the leaves. No more bagging them. Here in the Midwest if you bag leaves, they have to be in brown bags, not plastic. You will need a vacation after raking and bagging all those on your property. Consider sendinga story to NYMB, an anthology I’m working on. See my blog http://lindaoconnell.blogspot.com

  5. Good for you for getting the ball going. My yard currently looks like a jungle and I know I need to get to work. Ugh. I am happy that I’m not the only procrastinator! I love crocuses, they have always been a favorite and are a beautiful reward for your hard work 🙂

  6. I so dislike to throw leaves on someone’s lawn but years ago, I found that a sudden snow storm and leaves not raked beforehand made for disaster in the spring where the lawn was concerned EPECIALLY if not removed by the time the new roots started to—you know—root. The grass was not HAPPY having been LITTERED or choked and the grass yellowed longer than it wanted to be. I’m no expert but that’s my input.

  7. Hi Sylvia,

    I’ve always found that raking leaves is a highly over-rated past-time. My Little Muffin has raked all the leaves up once or twice through the years (she couldn’t convince me to do it – must be a Mars/Venus thing), and lo and behold, the grass and weeds (mainly weeds since we’re on a lot that’s been cleared out of the bush) always come up just as fast whether the leaves have been raked or not. My theory is that they’re natural compost for the lawn (and for the beautiful, colorful dandelions that always show up without fail.) So my suggestion is, next spring, be happy, don’t worry, don’t rake up the leaves, and the moss will grow even better (and your back will thank you.)

    Love, from the lazy gardener

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