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Raking Autumn's Produce


Practically Family
(Originally written in 2015)

I confess, I really don’t rake much anymore, in the truest sense of the word. I have a backpack blower that I use to gather up the “countless” leaf clutter each year into large piles. Then I do actually rake them onto canvass tarpaulins, approximately 16’ by 12’, and haul them off to the adjoining woods. My home sits upon an acre of property and is flanked on two sides by thickly wooded areas.

This process starts as early as the end of September, and continues, steadily until the week after Thanksgiving. It’s a lot of leaves, believe me. I did some research, and found that the number of leaves on a mature tree can vary from 22500 to almost 200,000. Well this is a very large spread, and since I have an abundance of mature oak trees, and they range towards the higher number, I estimate that there are perhaps 6 or 7 million leaves on just the oak trees sitting on my property.

I mention that the trees on my property contain a vast amount of leaves, because, along with these trees, are the trees in the adjoining woods. Mother nature seems to have a penchant for discarding the leaves of the trees into the wind and then letting them fall upon my property. Given this fact, I would conservatively estimate the number of leaves that fall upon my property at 10 million. Oh, if they were only the money trees my parents often spoke of.

So, each year for as long as I can remember, in my adult life, I have been burdened with this task. No matter where I have lived, oak trees seem to be the most abundant trees on every property I have owned. Not by choice, understand. It just worked out this way. And oak leaves are by far, the ugliest leaves in nature. Ugly brown stiff things that resist decay for years after they have fallen. I actually think you could nail them down on your roof instead of shingles, and they would work just as well.

And, if the leaves aren’t bad enough, then there are the sticks and twigs. These, I pick up by hand, deposit them into a tall trash can, wheel them over to the woods and dump them there. When full, a tall rolling trash can contain a hundred pounds of little twigs and sticks. This task is performed four times each year, or more, if we have a big, windy storm.

Someone once told me, when asking about the creatures surrounding our home, “It’s the price you have to pay for choosing to live in the woods.” Yes, it is that, indeed. But, I am approaching 70 and I do not know how much longer I will be able to keep this up. One thing I forgot to mention, and this is very important, my home is atop a very steep hill, and footing is precarious in the best of circumstances.

So, now the leaves are cleared out for perhaps another week, and I need to go cut the grass. But, I needed this interlude to reestablish my strength and resolve to make yet another attack on mother nature’s fall produce.

(UPDATE 2022)

One big change since this was originally written is that our township now will collect
leaves brought to the street and properly piled up. We have about 125 feet of clear space on our 1 acre property where we can deposit the leaves for pickup. The fee is $150 for a total of six pick-ups, one week apart. The leaves can be piled up to four feet high and four feet wide, and must not be in the street.

This is a BIG help for me and my Bride. This year, for the VERY first time, all the leaves are down, and most will be collected this week. Usually, our oak trees start shedding the leaves in late September, and we are doing the final cleaning the first week of December.

Happy Autumn to one and all.​


Practically Family
Nashville, TN
Last week I had a kid blowing/hauling leaves for my neighbor quote me $80/hr + $100 to haul my leaves. I have 0.8 acres including my house and driveway. My wife, a former ICU nurse, was never payed anything close to that. Here this kid wants it for blowing leaves. I raked and hauled the front myself. The back can wait till they're all down.

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