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    Reflections on Leaves

    rake.jpgSo you're probably wondering where I've been. Well, after a strong feeding on Thanksgiving Day, I spent virtually the next three days of my four day weekend raking the leaves in the yard. To me, there is no task more futile on this planet Earth than raking leaves. Somewhere along the line, someone decided that these things that fall from the trees are bad and must be eradicated from our lawns. Our town spends thousands to drive giant leaf-sucking vehicles around the streets, and it's up to the residents to ferry all of their leaves to the curb before these vehicles arrive, or face dire consequences. I am one who usually faces dire consequences. In the past, when I did get my leave to the curb, either the wind swiftly redeposited them into my yard (translation: a waste of time) or the snows came before the giant leaf-sucking trucks did (translation: municipal ineptitude). So, generally speaking, I don't even bother, and I usually just bag the leaves at my own leisure (translation: early April) and drive them to the compost factory, which is more like a leaf farm than anything else.

    This year, I had three days off and the leaf suckers weren't due for another week, so I decided to try to keep up with the Joneses and get leaf.jpgmy leaves to the curb. There are several different strategies employed by my neighbors on how to cope with leaves. One of my neighbors, Mrs. Guiliano, hires a landscaper to keep her lawn looking prim and proper. She's actually been dead for a year and a half, but her lawn still looks better than mine ever does. I don't know who keeps paying the landscaper but they must have a lot of extra cash on hand to keep funding a property where no one lives. Back when she was alive, we used to have tall, unsightly bushes that were about 15 feet high that were just about into the power lines, and they served as a catch basin for all of the neighbors' leaves. I had one small tree in my front yard, but I used to have leaves up to my knees from everyone else's leaves. One day I convinced her that we should take down the bushes, and from then on the leaves past my yard into hers. Problem solved.

    My neighbors in the back had a quite different solution: upon moving in, they proceeded to chop down every single tree on their property saruman.jpguntil there were none left. Kind of like Saruman in the The Two Towers. Two of my other neighbors, Walt & Ted, use their mini-tractors to suck up all the leaves and drop them at the curb. It's probably the most efficient way, provided you own a tractor, which I don't. Besides, they're older than I am, and I have this deep-seated fear that if I give up the physical labor of lawn care then I will suddenly age 20 years overnight like Rip Van Winkle.

    ramses3.jpgMy leafing philosophy is a conglomeration between rake, leaf blower, and tarp. The tarp was something new this year, an idea I got from Ted's wife Louise. I first use the blower to blow all the leaves into strategic piles located throughout the yard. Then I rake the leaves onto the tarp. Sometimes I can blow the leaves onto the tarp, but only so much, because the tarp starts to blow away.  Then I fold up the tarp, and drag it across the lawn like an Egyptian slave to the front yard, and unroll the tarp in such a manner that the leaves stay in a pile on the curbside.  I repeat this cycle about 50 times, until my arms and legs are ready to fall off, or the sun is going down, whichever comes first (usually the former). Then I stagger inside and fall onto the love seat until my heart stops palpitating.

    Every year, the Saruman plan looks more and more enticing.

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