Man vs Nature: How to Deal with Those Pesky Leaves

leaf blower

There they hang, by a thread or a twig if you will, taunting with their cacophony of color and noise as if to say: we dare you. Gather up our fallen now, or wait until the deluge is too great for even you and your mighty machines. Yes this is the yearly battle between me and that mother of nature who has taunted and tortured us all for years.

Get Down to It
Those cursed leaves are piling up on the ground as I write, starting slowly at first and then dropping at an exponential rate that’s hard to comprehend. If I don’t get after it soon, the piles will be too great for my poor lawn mower to mulch or my mighty leaf blower to move. Herein lies the dilemma: blow the leaves into piles and gather them or mow the suckers up into little pieces of mulch.

It’s All in Your Perspective
I have a friend in Florida who wishes he could handle the mess all in one month as I do. You see, his trees, like some of you deal with in the south, never do the one big dump; they shed a little all year. He has to clean up his yard and his pool of all the leaves weekly. My thought was, “Wow, you have a pool?”

Turn it Down
The neighbor behind me, who we will call Brad, mostly because the other names I use for him are not fit to print, is obsessed with his leaf blower, which I’m certain exceeds OSHA noise limits by a few hundred decibels. The man blows his deck off every Saturday, and if that sounds nasty, it’s not, it’s just annoying. It would be normal and acceptable for him to whip out this leaf blower of epic Db levels in October, but no, he fires it up every Saturday morning, year round, usually adding another chorus of leaf blower frenzy that afternoon as well. I’m not sure what he’s blowing over there, but I think it’s more than leaves; I swear the man is moving dirt. The funny thing is, by the time October arrives, I am so immune to it, or deafened by it, that it no longer even registers.

October is Dumptober
In my part of the country, October is the month to dread. The grass has practically stopped growing, but can I put away the lawn mower? No, I need it to mulch leaves. You see, that’s the easiest way I have found to deal with the mass of dead leaf matter piling up in my yard. I just pretend I’m mowing, without the grass catcher, the shorts, or the breaks for a cold one. You see, there’s no time for breaks before the piles are too big. Mulching is great for your yard until you have so much that the poor grass gets suffocated. Also there’s the chance the piles get so big, even my mighty Toro lawnmower that can chew branches in a single pass, coughs, sputters, and surrenders to the massive clumps of leaves.

Move it on Over
The next option is the leaf blower/gatherer method. I have, in years past, blown all the leaves into a few huge piles, then flip the attachments around and shred the leaves into pieces to gather into trash bags. The blowing around is work enough but getting all that into 10 or 80 lawn-sized trash bags is mind—and back-numbing work. Sure, in the old days we used rakes, which made it even more of a chore, but nowadays younger folks don’t even know how a rake works.

Burn Baby Burn
If you really want to talk about the old days, we used to just burn those suckers. Sure, we had to use rakes to gather them, but then you just torched the pile and let it go. I understand why we have to use the lawnmower or that cursed leaf blower, but some of us look fondly back to those good old days.

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Michael Ryan

Michael is a full-time musician and freelance writer residing in Morrison, Colorado. He enjoys downhill skiing, traveling and attempting to play golf. He excels in the sport of extreme napping so if you must call, make it after noon.

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