Urban Garden Denver Blog

Garden Task-Master

As I was raking my millionth leaf of the season this weekend, I was thinking about my son. When he was in middle-school he vowed that he would never live in a house with trees because we made him participate in leaf-raking and it was his absolute least favorite chore. Now that he is 24, he is in an apartment, so he doesn’t have leaf duty in his own home yet.

When the kids were much younger (8 and under), raking leaves was more fun because there was the jumping in the pile adventure. Then it got to be a chore. And we moved to a home with even bigger trees, and a neighboring tree that was on a different drop cycle. The neighbor’s tree starts dropping leaves in September and our trees go through mid-November. Lots of Saturdays with leaf duty. One time the kids thought it would be clever to rake a bunch of leaves under the car, as if we wouldn’t notice them when we drove out on an errand.

I suppose by the time Andrew was in middle school I could have made the chore more fun if I had purchased a power tool for the project. But I have a strong dislike for the noise of a leaf blower, so rakes and bags and loading the car for the city “Leaf Drop” mulch collection site was our normal fall pattern. In high school I definitely crossed the line of “mom the garden task-master” when I suggested that his friend join our leaf raking one Saturday. I figured since the boys hung out together so much, his friend was almost family. Somehow I imagined that sitting on the couch talking was somewhat similar to raking and talking, but apparently not. I still hear echos of this presumptuous assignment.

For Andrew’s first fall away at college, when I sent a care package with cookies I had the brilliant idea to include cushioning material — a Ziploc bag full of leaves. The reminder of fall leaf-raking was probably enough to avert any potential homesickness.

So now the nest is empty, and my husband and I rake and rake and rake. I’m pretty sure that in another 10 years or so, the cycle will be complete and my son will be sending his own kids out into the yard to rake leaves. He’ll probably enjoy the outdoor time and they will probably whine about forced labor. But I expect that he will choose a home with trees, because I have also attempted to pass on a love for beauty in my children.

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  1. * Scott Mayes says:

    We’ve enjoyed and groaned over leaf raking, too. We typically have about 70 compostable bags of leaves. For us, the city has bi-weekly fall leaf pick up. Last weekend, I raked a big pile for the next door neighbor kids to play in (3, Kinder, 2nd Grade). We all had a fun time playing together. 80% of the leaves are down, but now there’s snow on the ground.

    | Reply Posted 8 years, 3 months ago
    • We’ve had a couple snows in October but it was very dry this weekend when we were raking the last batch.

      | Reply Posted 8 years, 3 months ago

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