Removing leaves to end the season
The end of my “summer job” is within sight. In just a week or two, the roar of the lawnmower and the smells of newly cut grass and leaves will just be a memory until next April or May.
Back in May and July, I wrote about my new role as unofficial groundskeeper for my mother-in-law’s house in Medford. It started with cleaning out her garden beds in the spring, an experience that proved to be much more difficult than it sounds. Then I fell into the more familiar routine of mowing the lawn — a task that made me nostalgically recall my first-ever paying job as a kid. The lawn in Medford is one of the bigger ones I’ve ever tackled, so it was never just an easy stroll.
In the past couple weeks, we’ve entered the third phase of outdoor lawn maintenance — autumn. It’s actually more accurate to just call it fall, since that’s what all the leaves do while the grass continues to grow. In a very literal sense, it adds a whole other layer of work to do on the weekends. It had been a long while since I last faced the task of removing fallen leaves from a yard. Thirty years on, I can still remember trying to line up the corners of a giant blue tarp while helping my parents and brother rake leaves off our lawn and carry them into a compost pile. Those weren’t exactly pleasant memories, but I do fondly recall that our parents would let use deep-fry our own cinnamon-covered donut holes as a reward for our extra work.
If you’re not into raking, there’s always bagging the leaves with a lawnmower attachment. In theory, this is a great way to avoid getting blisters on your hands and kinks in your back by not having to bend over and rake. But, it also makes mowing a much more time-consuming process since you have to stop after each section to dump the clippings into a black bag bound for the city’s compost pile.
One major upgrade for me is that I now have access to a leaf-blower for the first time in my life. My mother-in-law sprung for one a few weeks ago, and when I get my finger on the trigger, I feel like a kid blasting away everything in front of me like I’m in a real-life video game. In short, it’s a lot more fun than dragging a rake across the grass.
Still, with this extra tool comes extra responsibility. Not only did I spend a lot of time blowing around leaves on Sunday, I also got recruited to remove piles of Asian beetle carcasses off the deck. The task proved to me more tedious and challenging than I first expected; those little bug bodies were everywhere and they don’t always just skitter away with one blast of air. The blower’s battery died a couple times before the day was done.
With snow in the forecast for Saturday (ugh!), my mowing days are likely coming to an end — at least until 2021.
OUT FOR A WALK