Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Trees and Leaves (Or The Joy of Raking)

This is Oberon.  He's the fairy oak that lives in our front yard.  Now, this picture doesn't do him justice.  There's nothing for perspective.  Just understand, that's a two-car wide driveway next to him.  Or to give you something better to go on, here's me standing next to him for my author photo shoot.
His sprawling limbs stretch the length of our house and then some.  He's a big boy.  A big boy with lots of leaves.  Lots of leaves that dump down onto our yard.

Oh, he's not the only culprit.  He's just the worst single offender.  We also have 6 black walnuts, three hickorys, two smaller oaks, two black cherries, and two elms.  (Plus, 4 cedars, but they don't cause me any grief at leaf raking time.)  And that's only the trees in our yard, not the trees in our woods or the trees on our neighbor's wooded lot next door.  He's has sycamores that cheerfully drop leaves onto our south lawn. 

Don't get me wrong.  I love our trees, even if Oberon's the only one I've named*.  I even love raking.  It's a lot of work but it's great exercise that I only get for a while in the Autumn.  I'm just being funny this morning because the raking we did these past couple days has left me a little sore.

Hubs and I moved all the leaves into like 5 piles over the past week or so.  Then the piles were moved down the hill or across the yard into position to be shoved into the woods.  The last couple of days, we've been shoving those piles into the woods.  We've only got half of the biggest pile left.  Then we'll go into the woods and spread the leaves around a little.  Should be fun. 

Hubs likes to joke that we're working on filling up the valley behind our house, but by the time next Autumn rolls around, the leaves will be mostly gone through a process of decay and animals walking through them, kicking them around, and degrading them further.  Kind of like a bunch of natural compost piles except the critters are turning the compost for us. And then we'll start the process over again. 

The joys of living in the woods.  I mean, we could leave the leaves, but then our yard would have no grass at all (it's pretty piddlin' as it is).  We could also burn the leaves like some of our neighbors do, but that leaves a nasty burnt spot on the ground and the heat from below isn't good for the trees.  So, we rake.  It's a small price to pay for the shade our trees provide all summer long.

What about you?  Do you rake, mulch, ignore your leaves?  Gah, do you even have leaves?  I can't imagine living somewhere that doesn't have to be raked.  

*After I wrote this, I remembered I also named one just off the yard - Little Red.  It's a red oak I've been babying since we found it back there.  It was maybe 4 ft tall when I took it under my wing and now it's easily double that.  It's so pretty in the fall.


  1. We have 20. Two are probably close to Oberon's size. They, and the majority, are golden oaks. That means we get yellow pollen in the spring, acorns crunching and leaves in the fall, with shade in the summer. We also have 3 pines, two sweet gums, a giant cedar (bottom branches trimmed up at least 10 feet from the base), and some little straggly things I don't know what they are but try to cut back, and another giant that I have new clue what it is but it's over 6' around and probably 70' tall. We used to do leaves. Now we pay someone. 200 giant bags of leaves is too much for us, plus I'm allergic to dust and leaf mold and can't breathe for days after raking. Still, I get the appeal. I used to like to do it until I couldn't breathe anymore. The "new" yard guy put off the blowing and gathering until the leaves were all down. He came yesterday with his crew and it took them 3 hours but the majority of leaves are gone. Yay. I might be able to go out into the yard without sneezing now.

    That said, I wouldn't be without them. They keep our AC bill within reazonable limits despite the hot summers. And I love the shade.

    I just remembered! I have an app on my phone that I can scan flora and fauna and it IDs it for me. That's how I discovered that what I thought might be poison ivy in the front flower bed is actually hog peanut. Next time it's warm, I'll go scan that giant in the backyard to see what he is!

  2. I don't need to rake, but only because the wind blows all the leaves away out into the fields. There are only small trees in my yard, but several large ones that drop LOTS of leaves that blow into my yard - and off into the air they go. If they don't vanish, I welcome them as mulch. Not much soil on top of my hard-pack clay foundation.