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Fall Chores

November 19, 2011

Tags: order, Boston, Carson – Rachel (1907-1964), chemistry, chore, climate change, fall, Fall Chores, future, garden, herbicides, Indian summer, insect damage, lawn, leaves - bagging, leaves - blowing, leaves - raking, organic, pesticides, plant, raking, San Diego, Silent Spring, snow, traveling, tree

Because we are in San Diego for the sabbatical, we had only two times in Boston this fall for the dreaded chore of raking leaves. I was worried because, usually, it takes weeks of raking to deal with the bounty. - As an aside, we never bag our leaves; we distribute them over the perennial beds. Makes for an untidy garden, and lush growth the next year. Originally, the neighbors complained. Now they are proud of my blooming wilderness. Second thought to the side: One couldn’t do it for dainty little plants, they would be smothered.

Three weeks ago, I had raked for the first time this year. The weather was pure Indian summer, balmy and rewarding, and the chore was done in four hours of hard work – with a blower. I try to avoid the blower, as much for my neighbors’ sake as for my own. But with two days between traveling, I could not have done it by raking.

This time, I had four days, and I raked by hand. Because the weather had stayed beautiful so long, there were astonishingly few leaves on the ground; my task was easy. But it made me worry: Since we won’t be back before deep snow will cover the lawn, the lawn might rot under the leaves’ burden!

But then I looked up in the trees – there are barely any leaves left that can come tumble down. With two sessions, my fall chore is done. Wonderful!


For at least fifteen years I have been observing (and complaining – but nobody listens, it seems) that in summer the crowns of the trees don’t look as full as in my youth. Now – that’s a sure sign of getting old, when nothing compares to your memories any more, isn’t it?

Only this time, I seem to be onto something real: Trees don’t have as many leaves anymore. Climate change. Insect damage. Whatever the cause is – one thing I know that in my garden it is not due to pesticides, herbicides or other bad chemistry – my garden is organic, and has been, ever since we moved in twenty years ago. But the future does not look pretty: Silent Spring.

Perhaps it is time to read Rachel Carson’s book again. And: Enjoy your fall chores – as long as we are lucky enough to have them!
Aspen eyes, by Peggy Peters

Iguazu Falls, by Xin Liu

Alexa Fleckenstein M.D. 2012, by Lolita Parker jr.

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