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My mind is numb with endorphins; my muscles are sore, but not as sore as they are going to be; and my hands are thirsty for lotion. It’s leaf pick-up day in the Warner yard.

We have eight (or is in nine?) oak trees in our yard that are continually shedding something. This year there was a bumper crop of acorns and our weather was so weird that the leaves dropped literally within 24 hours. The sudden leaf-dropping and wet weather have conspired to keep us from mulching the leaves bit-by-bit. We’re now forced to try to deal with the lot of them all at once.

With Hubby’s back no longer able to deal with the twisting motion of raking, he decided we needed a leaf blower. We purchased a light-weight (so I can use it) electric one that kicks out air at 150 miles per hour. We got it home and no sooner did Hubby have it out of the box then our neighbor, who owns a lawn-care business, said that Hubby should use one of his gas powered leaf blowers, which have more power than the one we bought.

The neighbor loaned us two leaf blowers. Hubby used one and Young Son used the other. Young Son thought leaf blowing was the bomb and had a blast doing it.

While the guys were busy blowing leaves into big piles in the backyard, I grabbed the new electric leaf blower and went to work in the front yard.  Having not used a leaf blower before, I didn’t realize there was a bit of a trick to it. First, you have to know where you want the leaves to go, otherwise you’ll end up blowing them all over the place. Second, you have to aim low to the ground and perform a kind of scooping motion, blowing down, across and up in the direction you want the leaves to go.

Once we had the leaves blown into ginormous piles, it was time to load them into the trailer so we can take them to the community compost pile. We knew, looking at the size of the leaf piles, that we were only going to be able to get maybe one pile’s worth into the trailer.

This task fell to me because Young Son was done with yardwork after playing with the leaf blower and Hubby’s back won’t allow him to do the lifting or twisting required. Adopting a technique I learned from a neighbor (not the same neighbor who loaned us the leaf blowers), I used two rakes like a clamshell to pick up leaves and drop them into a large lawn bag. When I had filled this, I would drag it over to the trailer and empty it.

After two hours of this, the trailer was full and most of one pile was gone. Not ALL of the pile, mind you, just most of it. And I was exhausted and numb. There are several large piles left in the yard and I will be enlisting the children to help me with those.

One thing I discovered during our leaf pick-up adventure is that one of our rakes is missing. I had left a rake on our front stoop and it was gone, nowhere to be found in the shed or rest of the yard. I have a feeling someone helped themselves to our rake. If this is indeed what happened, here’s a little clue for the thief. If we leave stuff on the curb with a “free” sign, by all means take what’s there. If, however, we have something on the stoop by our front door, we intend to keep using it, ‘kay?