Just Leaf Me Alone

by Curt Kovener
Owing to the summer without rain, the leaves at the wilderness retreat have been falling for quite some time. What with cooler weather and some strong wind, considerably more have hit the earth. But there are still a number of them stubbornly clinging to their lofty perches.
But I have learned that waiting until all of the leaves are down to begin the mulching and collection process is not wise. First, there are too many and they become too deep to mulch with the mower. They simply collect in front of the tractor and I end up pushing the a large pile. Second, if I wait too long it will eventually rain and turn colder and neither of which makes for efficient and pleasant leaf processing.
So much of Saturday and Sunday was spent blowing, raking, mulching and vacuuming the leaves into piles of potential compost.
The backpack blower I have does a good job getting leaves out of ditches & drainage ways and blown down the valley where nature can take it’s course. Those in the flat…well, not as hilly because there really isn’t any flat area in the wilderness… get mulched and sucked into a large cart to be dumped for next year’s compost.
With each dumped load I toss in about three handfuls of high nitrogen fertilizer to help with the composting process. That is if we ever get any rain to get the decaying process started.
Charley enjoys being free to nose around in the woods, marking “his” territory where he thinks interlopers have been. Despite the cool temperatures he still jumps in the lake for a drink and a dip. And because of the lack of rain he has farther to go to get wet as the lake level is down a good 18 inches.
While I don’t realize it while using the backpack blower, it gives my hand, arm and shoulder an isometric workout. The gentle resistance caused by the rushing air and the need to constantly wave the nozzle to keep the leaves a rolling cause for a sore right arm at the end of the day. But a chilled adult beverage in front of the fireplace in the evening helps to relieve my discomfort. But I do have to tip my glass with my left hand just so I do not aggravate my overworked arm.