Fuming over fall foliage!
I“I think that I shall never see A poem lovely as a tree”
have always felt that when Joyce Kilmer penned those well-known lines he was under the influence of some sort of psychotic drug. It was long before marijuana was legal and past the time when opium was in its heyday but nevertheless I am sure he was dabbling in acid or magic mushrooms or the like.
Don’t get me wrong, I realize trees are an essential part of life here on planet earth. They provide shade, they reduce carbon dioxide in the atmosphere, they filter out pesticides and fertilizers before they hit the water supply and in a pinch serve a decorative function as well. It’s just that come October, each and every year, without fail, they start their annual shedding. Like one enormous deciduous dog their branches shake and shimmy in the wind and disgorge a ton or two of foliage into my yard. And I hate it.
For two full months I take up the annual struggle. Armed with an array of tools, bags, and high-tech electrical equipment I rake, blow, bundle and bag and still the leaves come down. There seems to be no end.
The first year that we lived in Casa Loiselle I decided the best thing to do was to wait until all the leaves had fallen before scooping them up. This way, I surmised, I could reduce the effort to one, albeit very long, day. As far as errors go this was right up there with Hitler’s invasion of Russia in 1941. Just as the Soviet interior proved to be an endless tract into which the Russian army retreated undefeated, the pile of leaves that accumulated defied my limited imagination. The result was that I spent considerably more than the anticipated one day knee deep in leaves. To add insult to injury, it had been a wet fall and the sodden leaves proved unamenable to being scooped up by anything other than a shovel.
Part of the problem is that my home is located in close proximity to somewhere in the neighbourhood of 6,000 maple trees. Our own yard contains two large maples in the front and a mini forest in the rear. To compound the problem, our neighbours all appear to be under the thrall of the abovementioned poet and insist on having trees of their own. The result is an endless flurry of leaves blown from whichever way the wind chooses to gust.
Why not try mulching the leaves you say. After all they make good fertilizer for the lawn and gardens. Well, in fact, I have tried a limited mulching program but soon realized that I could have garden soil to rival the fabled fertile crescent and still have barely scratched the surface.
Short of buying one of the used grain silos that dot the Saskatchewan prairies for storage I would still be overrun with leaves.
The only one in our household that appears to look to the fall with great anticipation is Brando the Wonder Dog. Unlike his master he never met a leaf pile that he didn’t like. As a result, no sooner have I raked or blown the maple detritus into a manageable pile than the dog launches himself, torpedo like, into the mound disappearing entirely save for a merrily wagging tail.
The only up side to all of this, at least, is that possessing the extra lot, as treestrewn as it is, gives me some place to put the leaves once they are gathered. If not for this space I would likely have to negotiate a contract with Kruger or Cascades for a semi trailer load of suitable bags.
Short of that, the only alternative would be for the love of my life to get me the Christmas present I’ve long yearned for - a nice, self-sharpening chain saw.