Friday, November 6, 2009

To Rake or Not to Rake, That is the Question

























See that not-entirely small house dwarfed by two mega-sycamores? I live in that house and I imagine that would be an awful lot of leaves to rake if they all fell in my yard. In these photos you can also see we have two almost-bare maples (and a dying birch, being slowing murdered by The Bronze Birch Borer) and their leaves miraculously disappeared sometime between last night and this afternoon. Gale force winds blew them Somewhere. I'm not entirely convinced they ALL go down Kimball Avenue to visit the neighbors on our block but Mr. Malley next door puts up a chicken wire fence between our yards each fall just in case.

The top middle photo shows the confluence of Kimball Avenue and Williams Boulevard; our corner. It's great to have that huge grassy area across from us but when the leaves fly off the trees that occupy it, they come tearing down Williams and I have literally seen them turn down Kimball. On a windy day it would appear that there's a leaf magnet at the end of the block. It's crazy.

Sometimes I wonder if it's worth the effort to attempt some control of these things. The kids love jumping in them and as they seem to collect nicely on Mr. Malley's portion of the sidewalk, I don't even need to rake them in a pile. I raked up a few blue tarps worth yesterday afternoon but it barely made a dent in what we had laying around. They're mostly all gone now but I guess you can't always count on the wind to do your job.

I remember the first autumn after we bought this house. Busy, busy, busy and never raked enough to keep up with tide of leaves. On Christmas Eve my dad pulled out the blue tarp and rakes and it took us an hour or two to take care of it all. I'd never seen anyone use a tarp to collect leaves before; we didn't have many leaves do deal with when I was a kid so we never had to employ such professional tactics. I say "we" but that would've been Mom. Anyway, the next fall was so windy we never had ocassion to rake anything but the flower beds. You just never know around here.

The sycamores out front take their own sweet time with the whole leaf-losing business. They lose branches and bark and those weird little balls. Eventually their leather-like leaves, too. Last spring we unearthed a pile of these left from years of deposits in the backyard and this archeological dig showed that even after a few years these awful leaves would not totally break down. As much as I hate dealing with them, I wouldn't trade their shade for the alternative. Also, Krista further up the block has to deal with magnolia leaves from her neighbor's yard so I probably shouldn't complain.

The family who lived here before us where known up and down the street for raking their leaves straight onto the sidewalk and letting the vortex of the 1300 block do their dirty work. It's a thought but I guess I like these folks way too much to try a trick like that.
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