It's been cold and rainy for what seems to have been a month.  The fall colors are faded but still visible on the trees.  And we have a lot of leaves in our yard.  I mean a lot of leaves.  So last weekend, Diana and Eson set off to buy a leaf blower.

Now, I am a kind of leaf and let leaf guy (sorry!).  Let the leaves fall where they may, blow around, pile up where they wish, get blown around by winter storms, and in the spring, if there are any left, rake them off the flowers.  Not so Diana.

The sheer profusion of leaves seems to have overwhelmed her.  In California, a lot of trees lose their leaves, but they lose them all year long.  So every week, 2% of the leaves on the tree come down.  The low-end weekly gardener service in California is known as "mow and blow"--the blow is all the stuff that is coming off all the plants, all year long.

In New England, it's a glorious burst of color, and then Fooomp!  A gazillion leaves, everywhere.

The leaves can be a problem.  We have mostly oak trees that drop (duh!) oak leaves.  Oak leaves are very acid, and don't decay very fast.  They also aren't really good for the flowers and other plants--not only do they block the light, but the acid isn't always what the soil needs...  So I think there is a good reason to blow the leaves off of lawns and flower beds.  We have a lot of trees on our property, and there is plenty of place for leaves to lie in pretty natural splendor (and keep the underbrush under control, too).

So I'm upstairs paying bills, and before long, I hear the hateful snarl of the brand new leaf blower.  A look confirms it--Diana and Eson are outside, and leaves are blowing everywhere.

After an hour or so, the hateful noise stops.  A bit later, I go out with Diana.  "Doesn't it look better without those leaves?" she asks.  I look around.  The lawn is knee deep in leaves.  The flower beds are similarly encrusted.  But the driveway is perfectly clear.

Now, I have a pretty truthful relationship with Diana, but this was one time I figured she didn't need to hear exactly how I was feeling.  "The driveway is clear," I said.  When you don't want to express how you feel, fall back on statements of fact.  (I learned that from my second wife.)  She went on with pride "They're all in the pit!".

I should digress about the pit.  The area where our house is was once part of a large farm.  Several places, they dug gravel out of the ground, leaving pits some 100 feet across and maybe 25 feet deep.  Our property has one of these pits.  The sides aren't steep, and the whole thing is forested--it's actually kind of a nice natural area.  I'm kind of surprised that it isn't a pond--it appears to be well below grade.  But perhaps there is enough gravel there for drainage.  The pit already has a gazillion billion leaves in it, so another gazillion shouldn't matter.

So back to Diana.  She continued enthusiastically "I blew all the acorns into the pit, too."  At this point, I'm beginning to think there is more to the story than I realized.  I asked a few questions.  Come to find out, when she walks the dog she tears down the driveway (walking him is more like being dragged around by him).  The leaves cover up acorns, and she found herself several times skateboarding on a layer of leaves on top of a layer of acorns.  I shuddered.  And told her enthusiastically how clear the driveway looked.  And suggested that if we wanted any flowers in the spring, it would be good to blow the leaves off the flower beds too.

So that night we had a goodly rainstorm.  In the morning, not a spec of black asphalt was to be seen--the entire driveway was, you guessed it, leaves.  With, I have no doubt, acorns underneath.  I suspect the leaf blower will be used about three more times in its life, and then spend the winter in the garage, and steadfastly refuse to start ever again.  I'm such a cynic.  I'm looking up gardening services in the phone book (turns out they mow grass in the spring and summer, blow leaves in the fall, and plow snow in the winter.  Makes sense.)

Have I mentioned lately how lucky I feel to be married to Diana?  Leaves, dog, and kids and all.  Never a dull moment, and a heap of fun.

Thank you for reading.

Copyright © 2001 Pete Stevens. All rights reserved.