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

2020 Leaf Campaign Update – Week #3

Photo above taken Saturday a.m., Nov. 14th. Only 2% of the leaves are still on the oak trees

Wow! What a week!

Week #3 of the 2020 Leaf Campaign began as normal.

Monday, Nov. 9Four tarpfulls hauled to the curb

However, a seven-day stretch of unusually warm, dry, sunny weather had accelerated the “abscission” process, and the oak trees began prematurely shedding their leaves en masse, in numbers I’ve never seen before. The result…

Tuesday, Nov. 10Nine tarpfulls to the curb. I also cleared the roof, gutters, and front yard.

Wednesday, Nov. 11 – Seventeen tarpfulls. Yes, folks, seventeen! In my sixteen seasons of removing the leaves from this property, I had never before hauled so many leaves in one day. I believe my previous one-day record was thirteen. I also cleared the roof, gutters, and front yard.

After dragging twenty-six tarpfulls of leaves to the curb in two days, I was physically spent, to put it mildly, and took Thursday off.

Friday, Nov. 13 – Four tarpfulls. I also cleared the roof, gutters, and front yard.

Number of tarpfulls, week #3 = 34
Total number of tarpfulls to date = 59
Percentage of leaf campaign completed to date = 98%

Because of the unanticipated early leaf fall precipitated by the unusual weather conditions, the 2020 Leaf Campaign is almost complete, three full weeks ahead of schedule! Unbelievable!

Leaf campaign trivia: Besides removing the leaves from the lawn, the other problem with living in a house amidst so many oak trees is that the gutters constantly fill up with leaves in the Fall and with catkins in the Spring. If a rain comes and the gutters are not cleaned out, the downspouts become clogged and the rainwater seeps over the gutters. We have one particular stretch of gutter where the rainwater seeps over and down into the basement window wells and the next thing you know, I’m removing rainwater from the basement floor with a wet vac. But climbing an extension ladder and getting up on the roof and cleaning out the gutters with a handheld electric blower is dangerous for a young guy, let alone a 64-year-old. My wife keeps nagging me, er, I mean, lovingly warning me to stay off the roof and have gutter guards installed. But gutter guards have mixed reviews. They’re expensive, they don’t keep out all of the leaf and catkin material, and they limit water intake in a heavy downpour. What to do? This is a problem that won’t go away and only get’s more dangerous for every year that I age.

Above: Yup, that’s me corralling leaves in our backyard this past week with my Husqvarna 350BT backpack leafblower.

2020 Leaf Campaign Update – Week #2

Photo above taken Sunday a.m., Nov. 8th. – 58% of the leaves are still on the oak trees

I’m pleased to report that Week #2 of the 2020 Leaf Campaign went very well. A brief summary:

Monday, Nov. 2 – The wet, cold, and windy weather that arrived in Rochester last Sunday continued into the evening and early Monday morning. When day broke, there was a substantial number of leaves on the back lawn. After taking care of a few other chores, I fired up the Husqvarna 350BT backpack leafblower and collected the backyard leaves into large mounds and also blew all of the frontyard leaves to the curb. I then raked the backyard leaves onto my tarp and dragged five tarpfulls to the curb.

A spate of unseasonably warm and dry weather precipitated some major leaf-fall for the balance of the week, enabling me to hit the leaves hard.

Wednesday, Nov. 4 – I cleared the roof and gutters with my handheld electric blower.

Thursday, Nov. 5Four tarpfulls to the curb

Friday, Nov. 6Four tarpfulls to the curb.

Saturday, Nov. 7 – Three tarpfulls to the curb. In addition, I once again cleared the roof, gutters and frontyard.

Number of tarpfulls, week #2 = 16
Total number of tarpfulls to date = 25
Percentage of leaf campaign completed to date = 42%

Week #2 was very productive with 16 tarpfulls and I’m closing in on the 30-tarpfulls halfway point. But all of the activity this past week really tired me out – I feel like I was hit by a Mack truck – so I’m taking a break from the leaves today.

Leaf campaign trivia: Every year, my lovely wife remarks that she thinks my leaf collection process is inefficient. She believes it would be much more efficient to wait until all of the leaves fell before collecting them, which, she suggests, would leave me more time to address her to-do list. Every year I must explain that waiting until the beginning of December, when most/all of the leaves are down would mean processing 60 tarpfulls in the one week prior to the last town pickup; a guaranteed coronary event. And there’s the very-real possibility of snow at that time, which would interfere with the collection process. With the help of my leafblower, I’m able to collect and process the 60 total tarpfulls over the course of 6 weeks, which still breaks down to a very challenging amount of leaves to process each week.

Above: Tarpfulls #s 7-25 piled up on the curb and awaiting pickup by the town.

2020 Leaf Campaign Update – Week #1

Photo above taken Sunday, Nov. 1st. – 85% of the leaves are still on the oak trees

I thought I’d send out a weekly update every Sunday on the status of my 2020 Leaf Removal Campaign.

I usually drag 60 tarpfulls of leaves from our backyard to the front curb every season. The campaign usually starts the last week of October and ends the first week of December, when the oak trees finally give up their last remaining leaves.

Some leaves fell early this year, so I got a jump on the season, beginning on Friday, October 16. Using my Husqvarna 350BT backpack leafblower and my sturdy metal rake, I corralled 3 tarpfulls of leaves and dragged them to the curb. On Friday, October 23, I was able to collect and haul another 3 tarpfulls. The town highway department picked up that leaf pile a few days later.

I anticipated gathering up another 3 tarpfulls today, but after watching our livestream church service this morning, I saw it was sprinkling slightly outside with heavy rain forecasted for the afternoon. Too bad. Leaves don’t wait. I fired up the Husqvarna, gathered up the leaves, and hauled 3 tarpfulls to the curb. The rain was very slight and didn’t slow me down.

Total number of tarpfulls to date = 9
Percentage of tarpfulls completed to date = 15%

After I finished working on the leaves today, the weather worsened dramatically as forecasted with heavy rain and some wind, resulting in many leaves coming down. I anticipate hauling at least three more tarpfulls tomorrow.

With approximately 51 tarpfulls remaining, I need to average 10.2 tarpfulls per week for the next 5 weeks.

Tarpfulls 7-9 resting on the curb