2021 Leaf Campaign – Week #6

After five weeks into the 2021 Leaf Campaign, I had dragged a total of 63 tarpfulls of leaves to the curb. But there were some defiant leaves still clinging to the oak trees. How would I make out in week #6?

The weatherman had forecasted a very windy day for Monday with wind gusts expected to reach 60 mph. I was both pleased and disappointed to hear that because, while the wind would knock off the remaining leaves from the trees, it would also blow the neighbors’ leaves into our yard. I took Monday off from the leaf campaign due to the approaching chaos, a welcomed break after an exhausting work weekend. As predicted, strong winds rolled into Rochester in the afternoon, and as I anticipated, all but a few of the remaining leaves were knocked off the trees (Yay! See photo above) and many of the neighbors’ leaves blew into our yard (Boo!).

The wind was gone when I woke up Tuesday morning, but there was a large amount of leaves scattered on the ground in the front and back yards. At 9:30AM, I strapped on my boots and fired up my Husqvarna 350BT backpack leafblower for the final assault. In the backyard, I corralled the leaves into two large piles, while in the front yard I blew the leaves into the existing mammoth leaf pile at the curb. I then got out my rake and tarp and began the process of raking the leaves onto the tarp and dragging them to the curb. Five weeks of leaf work had taken its toll. I was physically exhausted. But I wasn’t going to quit with victory in sight, so I pressed forward. The positive was that the leaves were very dry for a change and I was able to rake huge amounts onto the tarp. At 1:30PM, I put away the rake and folded up the tarp. The tally for the day was 7 very large tarpfulls of leaves taken to the curb. Phew! I was a physically-drained zombie the rest of the afternoon and evening.

Hurrah! The 2021 Leaf Campaign is over! There’s still some leaves in the ivy and pachysandra patches that I may get to if there’s a mild spell, but for all intents and purposes the campaign is over. The grand total? Drumroll please. This year I dragged a total of 70 tarpfulls to the curb. Why 10 more tarpfulls this year than my usual 60? Wet conditions predominated this year, making the leaves heavier and resulting in more trips.

I’m still thrilled by the great assistance provided by my Husqvarna 350BT backpack leafblower, which I bought just prior to the 2016 Leaf Campaign. I can’t believe I raked the leaves for twelve years prior to buying the leafblower. However, dragging tarps to the curb is a younger man’s job. I sensed I was overreaching my declining physical limits while dragging tarps to the curb this year. Acquiring a riding mower with leaf collection capabilities is a must prior to the 2022 Leaf Campaign.

Thanks for following along with me the last six weeks. All I want to do for the next month is sit on the couch and blog and read books. Huh? What’s that, dear? The to-do list? Ach!

Postscript: I wrote the above on Thursday. High winds subsequently blew into Rochester Saturday afternoon and evening with gusts in the mid-70s mph, a more powerful windstorm than Monday’s. I’m waiting for daylight to assess the leaf situation. I know I will have to leafblow at least the backyard again because of leaves that blew into our yard from the yards of neighbors who are less attentive and considerate about their leaves. I complain about having to do more leafwork, but I know Saturday’s severe windstorms and tornadoes were the cause of devastation and death in the South-Central USA.

Above photo taken last week: The neighbor next door, a man ten years younger than myself, has the same amount of leaves as me, but doesn’t remove them. His leaves swirl and blow into the adjoining yards throughout the long, windy Winter. In the Spring, he hires a crew to remove the much-diminished leaves that remain.

2021 Leaf Campaign – Week #5

After 4 weeks into the 2021 Leaf Campaign, I had dragged a total of 54 tarps of leaves to the curb. In my last update, I had speculated that only 10% to 15% of the leaves remained on the oaks. That estimate was definitely on the low side. How did I fare in week #5?

Monday was a wash-out. A thin coating of snow prevented me from working on the leaves. But I wasn’t upset. I truly needed a break after a particularly exhausting work-weekend.

By Tuesday mid-afternoon, most of the snow had melted, so I fired up my Husqvarna 350BT backpack leafblower and collected the fallen leaves in the backyard, hauling 4 tarps to the curb.

On Wednesday, I climbed the extension ladder to the roof and blew the leaves out of the gutters. I also raked up 1 tarpfull of leaves that had collected near the front entranceway. The leaves that swirl through the neighborhood routinely collect in the “coves” of the front entranceway and garage.

Thursday was a breezy day and the leaves were coming down from the trees at a good clip. I fired up my backpack leafblower and collected the leaves in the backyard, including those that had accumulated in the ivy patch in the corner of the lot. I ended up dragging 4 more tarpfulls to the curb. A few hours after I finished, it looked like I hadn’t done a thing because of the leaves that continued to fall and others that swirled into our yard from the neighbors. The gutters were completely filled again.

Week #5 saw 9 more tarpfulls hauled to the curb, making 63 total for the campaign. I’m going to end up with significantly more than my usual 60 tarpfulls because of the wet conditions this year. Thursday afternoon there were still some leaves left on the trees as you can see from the photo above. It’s pitch dark when I do my weekend work commutes, so I’m waiting for daylight this morning to see what I’m up against. The weatherman is forecasting rain today and very high winds, so there’s going to be a serious amount of leafswirl in the neighborhood. No surrender! The campaign continues into week #6!

2021 Leaf Campaign – Week #3

As I reported last Monday, the leaves on our oak trees were finally beginning to turn color and drop in earnest. How did week #3 in the leaf campaign go?

Monday’s forecast called for rain and snow, but the leaf campaign doesn’t stop for weather. At 11AM, I strapped on my Husqvarna 350BT backpack leafblower and blew all of the leaves that had fallen in the backyard over the weekend into two very large piles. I then commenced raking the leaves onto the tarp and dragging the tarp to the front and dumping them along the curb. Because of the drizzle and snow, the leaves and the tarp were wet and heavy. The wet grass did not facilitate dragging the tarp, either. I finished at 3PM, totally exhausted. I ended up dragging 12 tarpfulls to the curb. I believe my record haul for a single day is 13 tarps. Needless to say, I was semi-comatose the rest of the afternoon and evening until I finally hit the sack.

Unlike Monday, Tuesday was a nice, sunny day. While the leaves continued to fall, there wasn’t a huge accumulation overnight. I leafblowed the east side of the backyard and collected and dragged 3 tarpfulls to the curb, a relative and much-needed respite compared to the previous day. I also blew the leaves in the front yard to the curb and mowed the front lawn for the last time this season.

Wednesday was an overcast day, but no rain. I leafblowed the west side of the backyard, collecting and dragging 2 tarpfulls to the curb. I also mowed the backyard west side for the last time of the season.

Rain was forecast for Thursday and at the crack of dawn I could see the leaves coming down fast as the low-pressure system moved in and the wind picked up. Then the rain started. Would Thursday be a wash out? The campaign doesn’t stop for a little wet weather! I strapped on my Husqvarna 350BT backpack leafblower and collected all of the leaves in the backyard into two big mounds. Just like Monday, the leaves were heavy from the rain and I quit after 5 tarpfulls, leaving the second mound of leaves for Monday.

The 22 tarps I collected in week #3 was a very decent haul. That gives me a total of 28 tarps so far in the campaign, 47% of the projected 60 tarp goal. I have a long way to go.

Huh? Hang on a second, folks.

“What’s that, dear? The to-do list? Sorry, the to-do list is on-ice until January!”

Looking out the sliding glass doors at our backyard this morning, I see that a lot of leaves fell over the course of my work-weekend. I definitely have my work cut out for me for week #4.

Monday, November 22nd, 8AM

2021 Leaf Campaign Kickoff? – Week #1

We have many oak trees in our backyard, not to mention the neighbors’ oaks that lean over our property. That makes for a lot of great shade in the summertime and a lot of falling leaves in autumn. I mean A LOT of leaves. Every year at this time, I gird my loins and start collecting and dragging the leaves from the backyard to the curb, where our town’s highway department picks them up. A typical leaf campaign starts the last week of October and ends the first week of December and involves around 60 tarpfulls of leaves. You read that right, 60 tarpfulls.

We moved into this house in 2004 and for 12 years I took foolish pride in corralling all of those leaves with just a rake, a tarp, and lots of elbow grease. But in 2016, I finally “tapped out” and bought a powerful Husqvarna 350BT backpack leafblower. Man, I should have bought me a Husqvarna way back when we first moved in!

Today’s November 7th and by this time I’ve usually dragged around 25 tarpfulls to the curb. But climate change is kicking in and the oak trees are hanging onto their leaves even longer (see photo above). To date, I’ve collected only 2 tarpfulls. Let’s do the math. There’s 4 weeks left in the campaign and 58 tarpfulls still on the trees, which works out to about 15 tarpfulls per week. I work Friday thru Sunday, so on my 4 days off I will need to collect and haul 4 tarpfulls per day. But it will inevitably be raining on some days, so I’ll need to move even more leaves per day on the good days. That’s a part-time job in addition to my regular full-time job.

I’m not getting any younger and following some recent leaf campaigns I’ve blustered/whined about selling this house and moving into a work-free condo. But the current plan is to stay in the house for as long as possible. I’ll be retiring at the end of November 2022 and the outside housework and yardwork will be a much welcomed diversion. A small riding lawnmower would be a huge help in cutting the grass and hauling the leaves, so I anticipate I’ll be purchasing one of those in the next year or two.

How are you doing with your own leaf campaign?

Throwback Thursday: Spiritual lessons from raking leaves

2020 Leaf Campaign Update – Week #4, the Grand Finale!

Photo above taken Saturday, Nov. 21st. No leaves remaining on the oak trees.

Last week was a VERY good week in the 2020 Leaf Campaign, with all of the oak trees prematurely releasing most of their leaves because of a warm stretch of weather, resulting in my hauling 34 tarps of leaves to the curb. This past week was the finale and there was a bit more work than I expected.

Thursday, Nov. 19 – The few remaining leaves had fallen from the oaks and some of my less-fastidious neighbors’ leaves had swirled into our yard due to some high winds, so I gave the entire yard a once-over with the leafblower, corralling the backyard leaves into piles and blowing the leaves in the front yard to the curb.

Friday, Nov. 20 – Seven tarpfulls. I raked the leaf piles in the backyard onto my tarp and made multiple trips dragging them to the curb. I also began removing the leaves from a large ivy patch in the back corner of our lot with my metal rake. It’s a very painstaking job, which is why I always save it for last. I removed about two-thirds of the leaves from the ivy patch, saving the balance for Saturday.

Saturday, Nov. 21 – One tarpfull. I finished removing the leaves from the ivy patch, accumulating one large tarpfull. I also got on the roof and blew out the small amount of leaves in the gutters before the snow falls.

Number of tarpfulls, week #4 = 8
Total number of tarpfulls to date = 67
Percentage of leaf campaign completed to date = 112%

Huh? 112%? I’ve always used 60 tarps as the estimated total number of tarps per seasonal campaign and it’s always worked out pretty close, but this year I ended up with 67 tarps. I’m guessing some of that spike can be attributed to the fact that I purposely didn’t load as many leaves onto the tarp on average due to my advancing age. 👴🏻

That’s it folks! I’m happy to say the 2020 Leaf Campaign is complete, a full two-weeks ahead of schedule! Thanks for all of the support and encouragement throughout the campaign!

Leaf campaign trivia: After raking leaves for 12 years, I finally broke down in 2016 and bought my Husqvarna 350BT backpack leafblower. It’s been a HUGE help in dealing with the leaves, but it’s a bit temperamental. The salesperson warned me that I should use non-ethanol, specially-blended, high-octane, Husqvarna-brand gasoline sold in cans at the dealership. But that stuff is VERY expensive, especially for a guy like me with TONS of leaves. Instead, I buy non-ethanol, 89-octane gas at a Fastrac gas station near me, and add Husqvarna two-cycle engine oil. Sometimes the leafblower sputters like a Model-T jalopy and other times it roars like a well-tuned Pratt & Whitney jet engine. It still beats raking even when it’s not blowing air, full-throttle.

Week #1
Week #2
Week #3

Throwback Thursday: Spiritual lessons from raking leaves

Welcome to this week’s Throwback Thursday installment! Yes, it’s THAT time of the year once again! The leaf-raking season is officially underway here in Western New York, so it’s time to revisit this perennial acorn…er…I mean, chestnut, that was originally published back in November 22, 2017 and has been slightly revised each year.

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After a very tumultuous period in our marriage, the Lord miraculously brought my wife and I back together in 2002. We then lived in an apartment for a couple of years and in 2004 we were looking for a new home. We were both in our late-forties at the time. Our two sons were adults and on their own and after having a house and a yard for twenty-two years, I was thinking in terms of a condominium. But my wife and her realtor sister went looking at houses “just for grins” and called me at work one day, saying to come quick and check out the “dream house” they had found. I pulled into the driveway and gulped hard. Argh! The wood-shingled house was on a heavily-wooded lot (13 mature oaks and 3 locust trees) with a long, double-wide driveway. All that meant A LOT of outdoors work ahead for myself at a point when I was contemplating a future living situation with NO outside work. My wife was so enthusiastic about the house and property that I knew I was forever going to be the “big jerk” if I said no. But at age 48, I reasoned that I still had many years of physical energy left in the tank to deal with the house painting and yardwork ahead.

Sixteen years later, my wife and I still joke about the day after we moved into the house. Everything was fine on our moving-in day, but when I woke up the next morning and looked out the window, I saw that the oak trees had released many of their leaves en masse overnight and the entire backyard was covered. Oy!  Welcoming an opportunity for a little exercise (gulp!), I got out my trusty rake and went to work. And work. And more work. If you’re familiar with oak trees then you know the leaves are big and as sturdy as shoe leather. As I dripped with sweat after hours of raking, our next door neighbor shouted out with playful sarcasm, “Welcome to the neighborhood!” Argh!

I raked those leaves from the last week of October to the first week of December for the next 12 years. The raking was hard enough, but I also had to transfer the mounds of leaves I had collected onto a tarp and then drag the tarp to the front yard and deposit the leaves along the curb where our towns’ highway department collected them. With our own oak trees plus the neighbors’ oaks that leaned over our property, I ended up collecting and hauling 60+ tarp-loads of leaves (yes, 60!) to the curb every year. Condo anyone? Every year, my wife suggested I buy a heavy-duty, gas-powered leaf blower, but I couldn’t justify spending $300+ dollars when I was getting all of that good exercise! Plus, I was proud that I was able to handle all those leaves with only me and a rake in my hands. All of our pitiful neighbor menfolk either had powerful blowers or hired a leaf removal service. Ha!!!

Well, it was hard to admit, but age caught up with me in 2016 and I finally broke down and bought a gas-powered leaf blower (photo below). My boss at work had already done all the research and pointed me in the right direction as far as a good model and dealer. We’ve had 3 of the oaks and all 3 of the locust trees removed over the years because they were either too close to the house or were dying, so between that and the leaf blower, I’m still able to contend with the leaves even at my ripe old age.

“So what?,” you ask? Maybe you’re thinking, ♫”You’ve got your troubles, I’ve got mi-ine”♫, as my old friend, Jimmy, used to say? Or how about, “Would you like some cheese and crackers with that ‘whine?’”

Well, I do thank the Lord for all those leaves over the years. They got me outside to enjoy the fresh air and provided plenty of exercise. When I finished the leaves every season, I had the satisfaction of completing a difficult job. Now I can praise the Lord for the leaf blower and the great assistance that it provides. By comparison, what used to take many hours of very strenuous raking now takes about one hour with the leaf blower each session with minimal physical effort.

The heavy lawn work is full of spiritual lessons as well. We needn’t bear life’s circumstances and burdens alone. Christians have the indwelling Holy Spirit. We have God’s Word to guide us and the constant opportunity to commune with the Lord in prayer. We have the church and fellow believers. We also have good books, Bible study resources, and podcasts from faithful scholars and pastors.

There’s times when we’re plowing for the Lord and starting to feel fatigued (like after tarp # 43). But the Lord provides helpful “tools” to see us through. Are you too proud to seek the Lord’s help as you sojourn through this life?

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10

“Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me! O Lord, be my helper!” – Psalm 30:10

25 Encouraging Bible Verses About Burdens

Postscript: Raking leaves for hours on end also brings to mind another spiritual lesson. Those leaves started out as little buds back in the Spring, were full bloom in Summer to catch all the sunshine, and withered and died in the Fall. We were born into this world through corruptible seed, but through Christ we look forward to eternal life!

“Since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God.” – 1 Peter 1:23

Capture7
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Above: Tarp #1 of the 2019 Leaf Campaign about to be dumped curbside on Friday, October 25th. Approximately 60 more tarp-loads to go before the six-week campaign is over.
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We had a bad rain and wind storm in Rochester on Oct.31-Nov.1, 2019 which resulted in many oak leaves coming down early and allowing me to get a significant jump on the 2019 Leaf Campaign. Above, tarp #25 is about to be dumped on the growing leaf pile on Saturday, Nov. 2. Only 35 more tarps to go! 

FINALLY: The Conclusion of the 2019 Leaf Campaign!

This post was sitting in my queue for a couple of weeks waiting to be published, but I had to revise the whole thing yesterday.

I had dragged what I thought was the last tarpful of leaves to the front curb on Friday, November 29th, one month ago. At that point, I had dragged 55 tarps from the backyard to the curb over the course of 33 days and I was quite ready to call it a season.

It snowed on Saturday, November 30th and we’ve had a covering of snow right up until very recently. The town highway department came through the neighborhood on December 9th and picked up our big, snow-covered pile of leaves with a front loader and dump truck. Yes, a front loader! Leaves are serious business in our neighborhood.

Some straggler leaves continued to come down from the oak trees after that, but, with all of the snow cover, I figured the 2019 leaf campaign was over.

Well, not quite.

This past week, we had some mild temperatures in the 40s and 50s and the snow cover gradually melted. I looked out the window yesterday morning and all of the snow was gone. Around 11 a.m., I cranked up my trusty Husqvarna 350BT backpack leafblower and corralled all of the remaining leaves in the backyard, raked them onto the tarp, and dragged them to the curb in two trips. Make that 57 total tarpfuls for the season!

That’s it, folks. I’m d-o-n-e, DONE. I just hope the town picks up the relatively “small” leaf pile now sitting curbside.

p.s. In consideration of several factors, my wife and I have made the bitter-sweet decision to sell our house in the Spring/Summer of 2021 and move into a condo. That means that next November-December will be my final leaf campaign! Removing the humongous amount of leaves from our lot each Fall is a difficult, physically-draining job for a young man let alone an old geezer like myself.

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Above: Dragging the last tarpful, #57, to the curb.

UPDATE: 2019 Leaf Campaign

It was an exhausting weekend of working on the leaves, my friends, but I’m beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Prior to this past weekend, I had hauled a total of 27 tarp-loads of leaves to the curb since October 25th. But the leaves continue to drop from our oak tress. I woke up Saturday morning to a layer of leaves coating our backyard (photo above) and got to work. I collected all of the leaves in the backyard into piles using my trusty Husqvarna 350BT Leafblower and then raked the piles onto the tarp. I ended up dragging 9 tarps of leaves from the backyard to the front curb on Saturday. With snow predicted for today, Monday, I needed to continue working on leaves yesterday, Sunday. I climbed up on the roof and blew off the leaves and cleaned out the gutters and then gave the back and front yards another going over and ended up dragging 4 more tarps to the curb.

Overall status? After 2.5 weeks, the halfway-point of the 5-week leaf campaign, I’ve hauled a total of 40 tarps of leaves to the front curb. From past experience, I can expect to haul 10+ more tarps to the curb, but snow may complicate matters.

Sidenote: Every Fall, I remind my lovely wife not to expect much out of me from the last week of October until the first week of December because I will be preoccupied, or rather, CONSUMED, with gathering up all of the leaves in the yard. My wife always objects to this and wonders if I am taking the wrong approach. Every year she suggests that I should wait until the last week of November-first week of December when all of the leaves have come down before I get started. This approach seems much more logical to her rather than going out there twice or three times a week with my leaf blower and gathering the scattered leaves into piles and dragging them to the curb. She believes I am being redundant and wasting time and energy, which could be better spent working on her to-do list. But my wife’s plan has two MAJOR flaws, which I point out to her every year:

  • If I waited until all the leaves fell, I would be hauling 50+ tarp-loads of leaves to the curb in a single week/weekend rather than spacing them out over the five week period. Raking a pile of leaves onto a tarp and then dragging it from the backyard to the front curb is physically exhausting work. Dragging 10 tarp-loads on a single Saturday absolutely wipes me out. I could not imagine trying to deal with 50+ tarp-loads in one week/weekend.
  • As we get into late-November, early-December, snow increasingly becomes a factor. If I waited until all the leaves fell, there’s a very real possibility I would not be able to collect them because of the snow.

This arduous leaf campaign brings to mind many Bible passages regarding work/toil, procrastination, and following a wrong plan that seems wise to some.

 

Spiritual lessons from raking leaves, redux!

Yes, it’s THAT time of year once again! The leaf-raking season is officially underway here in Western New York, so it’s time to dig up this apropos post from November 2017, with a few updates added.

capture30

After a very tumultuous period in our marriage, the Lord miraculously brought my wife and I back together in 2002. We then lived in an apartment for a couple of years and in 2004 we were looking for a new home. We were both in our late-forties at the time. Our two sons were adults and on their own and after having a house and a yard for twenty-two years, I was thinking in terms of a condominium. But my wife and her realtor sister went looking at houses “just for grins” and called me at work one day, saying to come quick and check out the “dream house” they had found. I pulled into the driveway and gulped hard. Argh! The wood-shingled house was on a heavily-wooded lot (13 mature oaks and 3 locust trees) with a long, double-wide driveway. All that meant A LOT of outdoors work ahead for myself at a point when I was contemplating a future living situation with NO outside work. My wife was so enthusiastic about the house and property that I knew I was forever going to be the “big jerk” if I said no. But at age 48, I reasoned that I still had many years of physical energy left in the tank to deal with the house painting and yardwork (and snowblowing) ahead.

Fifteen years later, my wife and I still joke about the day after we moved into the house. Everything was fine on our moving-in day, but when I woke up the next morning and looked out the window, I saw that the oak trees had released many of their leaves en masse overnight and the entire back yard was covered. Oy!  Welcoming an opportunity for a little exercise (gulp!), I got out my trusty rake and went to work. And work. And more work. If you’re familiar with oak trees then you know the leaves are big and as sturdy as shoe leather. As I dripped with sweat after hours of raking, our next door neighbor shouted out with playful sarcasm, “Welcome to the neighborhood!” Argh!

I raked those leaves from the last week of October to the first week of December for the next 12 years. The raking was hard enough, but I also had to transfer the mounds of leaves I had collected onto a tarp and then drag the tarp to the front yard and deposit the leaves along the curb where our towns’ highway department collected them. With our own oak trees plus the neighbors’ oaks that leaned over our property, I ended up collecting and hauling 60+ tarp-loads of leaves (yes, 60!) to the curb every year. Condo anyone? Every year, my wife suggested I buy a heavy-duty, gas-powered leaf blower, but I couldn’t justify spending $300+ dollars when I was getting all of that good exercise! Plus, I was proud that I was able to handle all those leaves with only me and a rake in my hands. All of our pitiful neighbor menfolk either had powerful blowers or a leaf removal service. Ha!!!

Well, it was hard to admit, but age caught up with me in 2016 and I finally broke down and bought a gas-powered leaf blower (photo below). My boss at work had already done all the research and pointed me in the right direction as far as a good model and dealer. We’ve had 3 of the oaks and all 3 of the locust trees removed over the years because they were either too close to the house or were dying, so between that and the leaf blower, I’m still able to contend with the leaves even at my ripe old age.

“So what?,” you ask? Maybe you’re thinking, ♫”You’ve got your troubles, I’ve got mi-ine”♫, as my old friend, Jimmy, used to say? Or how about, “Would you like some cheese and crackers with that whine?”

Well, I do thank the Lord for all those leaves over the years. They got me outside to enjoy the fresh air and provided plenty of exercise. When I finished the leaves every season, I had the satisfaction of completing a difficult job. Now I can praise the Lord for the leaf blower and the great assistance that it provides. By comparison, what used to take eight hours of very strenuous raking now takes about one hour with the leaf blower with minimal physical effort.

The heavy lawn work is full of spiritual lessons as well. We needn’t bear life’s circumstances and burdens alone. Christians have the indwelling Holy Spirit. We have God’s Word to guide us and the constant opportunity to commune with the Lord in prayer. We have the church and fellow believers. We also have good books and Bible resources written by faithful scholars and pastors.

There’s times when we’re plowing for the Lord and starting to feel fatigued (like after tarp # 43). But the Lord provides helpful “tools” to see us through. Are you too proud to seek the Lord’s help as you sojourn through this life?

“Fear not, for I am with you; be not dismayed, for I am your God; I will strengthen you, I will help you, I will uphold you with my righteous right hand.” – Isaiah 41:10

“Hear, O Lord, and be merciful to me! O Lord, be my helper!” – Psalm 30:10

25 Encouraging Bible Verses About Burdens

Postscript: Raking leaves for hours on end also brings to mind another spiritual lesson. Those leaves started as little buds back in the Spring, were full bloom in Summer to catch all the sunshine, and withered and died in the Fall. We were born into this world through corruptible seed, but through Christ we look forward to eternal life!

“Since you have been born again, not of perishable seed but of imperishable, through the living and abiding word of God.” – 1 Peter 1:23

 

Capture7

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Above: Tarp #1 of the 2019 Leaf Campaign about to be dumped curbside on Friday, October 25th. Approximately 60 more tarp-loads to go before the six-week campaign is over.

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We had a bad rain and wind storm in Rochester on Oct.31-Nov.1, which resulted in many oak leaves coming down early and allowing me to get a significant jump on the 2019 Leaf Campaign. Above, tarp #25 is about to be dumped on the growing leaf pile on Saturday, Nov. 2. Only 35 more tarps to go! 

Catkins and clams! What a combo!

If you have a yard to take care of then you know it’s a significant amount of work. Up here in the Northeast Rust Belt, it takes A LOT of work to get the yard back into shape after the ravages of Winter.

This past Saturday, I worked ALL DAY out on the yard. After mowing the front yard, I picked up where I left off previously doing the edging around the bushes and flower garden. I then hooked up a gutter-cleaning wand gizmo I had recently ordered from Amazon to my heavy-duty, high-powered Husqvarna leaf blower. Many of you can remember me whining about all the fallen oak tree leaves that I must clean up every November. Well, in June the gutters become clogged up with the “catkins” that fall from the oaks. Catkins? Catkins (photo left) are those brown, stringy tassels that hang from oaks (technically they’re “spent” male flowers whose purpose is to shed pollen that is carried by the wind to female flowers, which ideally then develop into acorns). When the gutters fill up with catkins (photo middle), as well as my neighbor’s maple tree “helicopter seeds” (i.e., samaras), the gutter downspouts become clogged when it rains and the rainwater subsequently seeps over the gutters down into our basement. Not a pleasant situation, believe me. It’s happened many times in the past. I normally climb up on the roof and blow out the gutters with a handheld blower, but going up on the roof is an increasingly risky proposition for an old guy like myself. My bright idea was to blow the debris out of the gutters while standing on the ground using the leaf blower and wand gizmo rather than climbing up on the roof.

Well, I was able to successfully patch together the wand gizmo to the leaf blower (using some duct tape of course), but it only did a so-so job. The catkins gather together in clumps like mini-tumbleweeds inside the gutters and often become lodged against the gutter brackets. Oh, well. It’s better than nothing. I think I’ll still have to get up on the roof periodically after all.

So, here comes the good part, friends! After finishing all of my outdoor chores, I was whipped and REALLY looking forward to a relaxing evening. My wife had a hankering for some shrimp, so I drove to the Lobster Trap seafood store, which is less than two miles from our house. While I was there, I also picked up a dozen wild-caught, littleneck clams.  🙂  🙂  🙂

There’s few edibles in this world as good as a dozen steamed clams. What? You’ve never prepared them yourself? It’s easy. Add about 1-inch of water to a 3-quart saucepan. Scrub the clams with a dish towel and rinse and add them to the pan. Turn heat to High. When water begins to boil, reduce heat to Medium-Low and cover. The clams should all open up after 5 minutes. Remove the clams from the water (photo right) and serve with melted butter accented with several dashes of Frank’s Red Hot Sauce. Delish! But wait! There’s still more to this delectable feast. Carefully strain the water and natural clam juices from the pan through a cloth or paper towel into a large ceramic cup. Add a small pat of butter and a dash of Red Hot and reheat in the microwave until the butter is melted. Voila! A delicious cup of clam broth!

That, my friends, was a great finish to a very busy day! Wally, I really wish you were up here to enjoy those clams and clams broth with me! Yes, we can thank the Lord for life’s simple pleasures!