Friday, September 17, 2010

The Laws of Leaves

I wish that I was in charge of making laws that govern leaves. It would be quite simple as there would only be one rule: DO NOT FALL IN MY YARD or anywhere else on my property. Ever.

For the past several mornings, I have watched single leaves waft down from trees as I drive into the station. It won’t be long before they begin to congregate in mass piles, many of which will be deposited in my yard. Ugh. (My hatred of leaves is well documented. I even wrote a poem about it last year.)

Some folks seem to be getting a jump on leaf management. Somewhere in my neighborhood the other night, someone was burning leaves. The smoke left a thin veil over the entire area. The acrid smell irritates my throat and lungs.

That’s probably why the American Lung Association has been fighting for decades against this practice. And, why it has been outlawed in many communities. Including mine. But for whatever reason, that doesn’t seem to discourage people from doing it.

Several years ago, I watched someone a block away building a huge fire to dispose of a massive pile of leaves. That particularly evening, the wind was pretty vicious. It turned the fire into an inferno, depositing flaming piles on cars and neighboring properties. At one point, the fire burned so uncontrollably, I thought their garage would go up for sure. Ultimately, someone called the fire department or I’m sure that it would have.

Another leaf disposal method that drives me insane and is just as illegal, at least in my town, is leaf-blowing. We have an ordinance making it illegal to blow debris – including leaves and grass – into the street. Yet several of my neighbors do it every year. Between their efforts and Mother Nature’s, I probably clear out a dozen bagfuls of their leaves every year. (We have no trees. Not one. We just get all the leaves.)

So, what are you supposed to do with them? My answer is to mow and mulch or rake and bag. (My community has a yard waste facility where they turn it all into compost.

As fall edges closer and closer (just a matter of days now) we’ll all be facing this annual challenge soon enough. Now might be a good time to explore your options, if you don’t already know what the laws are surrounding them. I wish that some of my neighbors would.


Michael said...

Longtime lurker here.

I enjoy your blog, and share your pain about leaves. I envy my cousins who live in a city where the system is everyone blows the leaves into the street and municipal trucks come and sweep them all away!

NV said...

(This comment is actually from whose comment I published, and Blogger acknowledged with an email, but then refuses to display here. Go figure. Sorry Kate!) I hate leaves. A lot. I think that this year I will be paying some poor teenager to come rake them up for me. I just don't want to face all those leaves on my own!

plumbelieve said...

Ok NV, I know I was the catalyst that caused you to write that poem last year. Now I plan to stir up some more trouble.

What is wrong with just letting the leaves lay on your lawn? They are not dirt but just a natural part of the life cycle. My neighbor is obsessed with getting every leaf off of his lawn almost EVERY day. I rake once a year maybe. The leaves simply do not bother me and are conveniently taken care of when we mow.

He is so bothered by a particular tree of ours (and we are across the street) that he offered to pay to cut it down. He would be much happier and less stressed out about these little leaves if he just got over it.

Anyway, I did preface this comment by stating this would stir up some trouble. Feel free to write another poem or whatever. However, my suggestion is just to relax about it and spend the time you would have spent raking having a glass of wine and enjoying the wonderful array of colors they produce against the beautiful green background. :)

NV said...

Michael and Kate -- Thanks for the support. :-)

PB – you aren’t stirring anything. And it’s a nice thought, really. I just don’t like them in my yard and I especially hate having them ankle-deep in my carport where I have to crunch through them to get in my car. Then, they get tracked all in my car and into the house. Besides, even if I didn’t feel this way, the mother feels just like the neighbor you mentioned. You’ve met the mother, right?