Sunday 04 Dec 2016

Darn Leaves
Jennifer Flaten

I used to like trees. When I built a house, I couldn‘t wait to stick a tree into my freshly sodded lawn. Is that Freudian or what?

Yes, that’s right I ripped up sod to put in a tree. Don’t think I can’t see the irony. I can’t get a lawn to grow at my current house, despite my best efforts. I think it’s afraid. At my former house, I was ripping grass out by its roots.

All I can say is that I was young and thought I was in love with trees. I admit I even looked askance at yards without trees. How could they live without trees? 

Once I moved from my new house, with the teeny-tiny trees that dropped, oh, maybe 100 leaves from their scrawny little branches, to a very old house, with large ancient trees, I understood. My love affair with trees ended when I realized that a fifty-year-old tree drops on average 1000 leaves a day along with large branches, small branches and furry rodents of assorted sizes.

Now, I understood how people live without trees, happily. Those without trees spend their fall afternoons doing fun stuff that doesn’t involve a rake and blisters. Those with trees spend their fall afternoons forcing eighty pounds of leaves into a 50lb sack.

Those with trees also wonder if they could get away with stuffing leaves into tiny bags and handing them out as “treats” on Halloween. Not that I’d ever do that, so put those eggs away. The last thing I need is the neighbors coming for me with pitchforks and torches.

By the way, those same neighbors have pristine lawns with nary a leaf in sight. How do they do it? Do they run outside and pick up each individual leaf as it falls?

Torches, I’ll betcha. That gives me an idea. The city code doesn’t say anything about torches; proceed with the torches.

With a small tree, you can have your yard picked up in about a half an hour. With a large tree or in my case five large trees, yard cleanup never ends; not even after eight straight hours of raking. Oh, you might have it clean for approximately 2 minutes, but a brisk wind blows and the yard will once again be a carpet of red and gold.

Once the leaves cleaned up, you have to do something with them. It’s not as if you have many choices. You can recycle the leave or you can burn the leaves, hoping the city doesn’t find out.

I tried burning the leave, but according to the city, a flamethrower is not how one goes about it. Colour me surprised. Hence, my excitement at the thought of an angry mob armed with torches. I expect the leaves will fall as collateral damage.

It would be so much easier if all the leaves fell off the tree at the same time, but no, there are always one or two holdouts; leaves that wait until it snows to drop their leaves. I swear it’s enough to make you pave paradise to put up a parking lot. Say goodnight, Joanie.

Jennifer Flaten lives where the local delicacy is fried cheese, Wisconsin. She writes about family life, its amusing or not so amusing moments. "At least it's not another article on global warming," she says. Jennifer bakes a mean banana bread and admits an unusual attraction to balloon animals and cup cakes. Busy preparing for the zombie apocalypse, she stills finds time to write "As I See It," her witty, too often true column. "My urge to write," says Jennifer, "is driven by my love of cupcakes, with sprinkles on top. Who wouldn't write for cupcakes, with sprinkles," she wonders.

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