If the following sounds like a complicated and exhausting military operation, it’s because I’m still recovering physically as I write and may have a touch of self-pity.
As I’ve related in a couple of previous posts (see link far below), a large number of leaves fall into our yard from our oak trees and our neighbors’ overhanging oaks during the month of November. Well, “a large number” is actually quite an understatement. Since we moved into the house in 2004, every month of November, the ENTIRE month, has been devoted to collecting the leaves and hauling them to the curb where our town’s highway department picks them up. The town stops leaf pick-up the first week of December. Oak trees retain their leaves right up into December. I’ve previously related how I finally broke down last year and purchased a gas-powered leaf blower to help with gathering the leaves. I can’t begin to express in words the enormous difference between hand-raking the entire lawn multiple times versus the ease of using the powerful blower.
Well, this past Sunday I was able to complete this season’s leaf campaign, although I was up against a formidable adversary this year.
I began the campaign on November 8, 9, and 11 by hauling 3, 4, and 6 tarp loads of leaves to the curb respectively. I usually haul around 50-something tarp loads each season so I was off to a good start; 26% of the job was done with 3 weeks still left to go!
But then the unthinkable happened! On Monday and Tuesday, November 12 and 13, Rochester caught the fringes of a major Nor’easter that ravaged the Atlantic coast and we ended up with about 6 inches of snow on the ground. Then, in the early hours of Friday, November 16, we woke up to an additional 6 inches. The result? For two solid weeks I wasn’t able to work on the leaves, which continued to drop at a steady pace. I was running out of time.
By Sunday, November 25, the snow had melted enough that I was able to collect and haul away 10 more tarp loads. But was I wasting my time? Was the town still collecting leaves with all of the snowfall? On Monday, I called the town and they said, yes, they were still collecting leaves and would be in our neighborhood on Friday or Saturday. Cool! More snow was predicted beginning Tuesday evening so I went out with the blower that afternoon and collected most of the remaining leaves into piles. My thinking? With all the leaves gathered in piles, I hoped I’d be able to rake them onto the tarp despite the thin snow covering. My strategy worked! On Wednesday, I hauled 14 tarp loads to the curb. Although the leaves were heavier because of the moisture, the tarp glided much more easily on the thin layer of snow. On Thursday, November 29, I hauled another 8 loads to the curb.
Well, Friday and Saturday came and went and no sign of the town’s trucks. We had an unseasonably warm 60 degrees this past Sunday, so after company left at 3 p.m., I blew the remaining leaves into piles, which worked out to be 5 more tarp loads.
I’m happy to report the 2018 leaf campaign is officially over! I hauled a total of 50 tarp loads of leaves to the curb! The hard part was that, because of the snow interruption, I had to haul 37 tarp loads or 74% of the total in the last eight days.
I thank the Lord for the strength to haul those tarps! But I’m not getting any younger. My wife was unable to help me haul tarps this year because of her broken leg. My bones and joints are telling me I may have to buy a small tractor to drag those tarps prior to the 2019 leaf season.
The two photos above don’t do three-dimensional justice to the magnitude of the compressed leaf pile.