Tuesday, November 20, 2007

The Fred Sanford of Leaves

Here's my question: Does it count as mental illness if you are aware that your behavior is aberrant? I mean, shouldn't you get some points for at least knowing what normal behavior is?

I wasn't going to write about this at all until I read Colleen's post about using leaves in her garden. She writes, "I have yet to swipe some for myself, but the temptation is always there."

Well, Colleen, the temptation has been too much for me.

It all started innocently enough last spring, when I noticed that my compost pile could use a little more green, and so I snatched a bag of grass clippings from my neighbor's trash pile. It worked so well and was so convenient, I went back the next week, under cover of darkness, and made off with another bag.

This fall, as I was expanding my beds, it occurred to me that I would need some mulch. A lot of mulch. Acres and acres of mulch. I did some calculating and determined that I needed between $879 and $50,000 worth of mulch. ( I was an English major and only took "Math for Idiots" in college, thus the rather broad range of numbers.)

About this time, the leaves began falling from the trees. This did me no good, since my trees are very small and my garden is now very large, but other people in my neighborhood have very big trees. Many of them also have mulching mowers that conveniently deposit the shredded leaves and grass clippings into a plastic bag, which is then placed at the curb for the trash truck which comes on Monday morning.

Or for me.

Do you know how many bags of leaves will fit into a Honda Civic? Three large bags in the trunk, three in the back seat, and if you drive slowly, you can pile at least three on top of the trunk and back windshield. (Inexplicably, Teresa has taken to hiding her car keys on Sunday nights ...)

If I lived next door to someone whose backyard looked like this, I'd call the city.

We are getting our new fence next week (those diagonal boards are what's keeping it from falling over now) so I don't want to plant anything until the Fence Men finish, and so my mulching is on hold until next weekend. And I don't know how many bags I need. I mean, this looks like a lot, but you never know.

Now if I could just find Lamont to help me spread them.


Lisa at Greenbow said...

You know Fred that Lamont doesn't like to do "your" chores. Don't try that "I'm coming Theresa, I mean Elizabeth" on him either.

Looking forward to seeing the new fence and all that mulch spread. I bet you will have to have more.
We spread 12 pickup truck loads this past spring. UGH... I thank God for my Dearly Beloved daily. He can really spread that mulch.

Carol said...

You are cracking me up. If you know you are "different", it still means you are different.

Unfortunately, no one in my neighborhood has many leaves! However, there are a couple of large Bradford pear trees still holding their leaves on either side of me. I'm watching them closely and think I might just do my neighbors a favor and rake their leaves for them when those leaves do fall. Wink, wink!

Carol, May Dreams Gardens

Connie said...

I am envious of your bounty of bagged leaves! We are surrounded by pines and precious few deciduous trees. Every year we volunteer to rake leaves for a lady that has several weeping birches...they are small leaves and just right for mulching the garden beds. At times we have driven through the alleys in town and thrown the bags in the back of the truck...after asking, of course. :-)

Robin's Nesting Place said...

I nearly choked on my pizza reading this. You are so funny! I was wondering how you knew what was in those garbage bags, then I saw in the picture that they are all in clear bags.

Mary said...

David, you are so funny! Your plan is ingenious! I believe that $50,000 worth of mulch might be needed in that large area you are preparing.

Iris said...

Up here in Madison the townspeople rake their leaves to the curb, and every day a big vacuum truck comes around and sucks them up. Every time I see a pile of leaves I want to run over with my wheelbarrow to get them before the vacuum does. I've resisted so far, but I don't know how much strength I have left before I give in. We still only have the one car, which Josh uses during the day, but I might finally have to buy a little pickup just so I can steal my neighbors' leaves.

Catherine said...

If only I had that problem!~I have more leaves than I know what to do with!! I am surrounded by National Forest....leave's, leave's & more leave's!! I read on the internet that one Oak tree can have more than 200,000 leave's...Can't even begin to guess how many Oak trees are in and around my garden...and then their's Popular's,and Maple's,just to name a few...If I Could send you and Colleen some leave's~trust me I would!! :)
Hope you and your family had a wonderful Thanksgiving!

carolyn said...

I just want to send all of these leaf-hoarding posts to my customers. It kills me to take leaves off a person's property in November, then come back with commercial compost & mulch in April! Even if they're paying me, it's sooo inefficient, and you have to add extra N to make up for the N loss through wood-chips decomposing. The mulched leaves+grass clippings would be perfect. *Sigh*

Blackswamp_Girl said...


lisa said...

Well nobody ever called Fred a "big dummy", and now I see why! There's terrific method to your madness, so I say rock on with your bad leaf-stealin' self!