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Courtesy of WikiCommons and most emphatically not my own photo.....

Courtesy of WikiCommons and most emphatically not my own photo…..

Greetings, my fellow port swillers!

Ol’ Robbo spent about six hours yesterday dealing with the autumnal leaves around  Port Swiller Manor in general and in particular the ones shed by the three maples and one oak that occupy the ground between the sidewalk and the street in front of Robbo’s demesne.

Because of the hedge of hollies that line the sidewalk on the Manor side, effectively blocking  all transport of said leaves from any passage other than the narrow channel of the Port Swiller driveway, removing teh leaves from these particular trees is a multi-stage task.  First, I have to blow or rake them into piles.  (Standing on the road itself with my leaf-blower, one eye continually cast downstream in order to ensure that I don’t receive a Beemer SUV in the small of the back, is always a stimulating experience.)  Then, I have to transport said piles, one wheelbarrow-load at a time, up the sidewalk and  on to the tarp conveniently laid out on the Port Swiller driveway.  When the tarp is sufficiently full, I then have to drag it round the side of the house, down the slope of the back yard and through the back gate, finally dumping its contents in teh little ravine carved by the local stream just inside the wood line.

As they say, lather, rinse and repeat until done.

I have found through trial and error that the best way to attack these trees is a two-stage approach:   I make my first sweep when roughly half the leaves are down.  The second usually comes a couple weeks later, after most of the trees are pretty much bare.  (The oak always hangs on to some of its leaves and sometimes requires a subsequent mopping up.) This has a definite advantage:  The first sweep, like this weekend’s, usually takes place in fairly amiable weather -cool but bright.  The second is, almost inevitably, much colder and danker.   So, although I’m doing a double operation, I’m halving the amount that has to be done when the weather gets nastier.

Strictly speaking, I suppose I could hire a crew to come in and deal with teh leaves.  Also, in a less precious-snowflake-coddling environment I could request and require teh gels to take care of it.    But this is one of those tasks that, from a psychological point of view, I have always somehow found it important to take care of with my own two hands.  It’s a small and perhaps silly thing, but I see it as a symbolic tribute to a more self-sufficient, autonomous way of life, one almost completely wiped from, if not outright despised by, the so-called “cultchah” in which ol’ Robbo finds himself living.

Well, eh.   I don’t think the Counter-Revolution is going to be sparked by some rapidly-approaching-middle-aged dweeb who insists on raking his own damn leaves.  You guys are going to need a better leader, perhaps one who refuses to separate papers and plastics……  On the other hand, when we right-thinking people have been confined to the FEMA “cultural reeducation” camps, perhaps ol’ Robbo can provide some cover for the tunnel-digging with his scientific approach to leaf-removal…….(Cue theme muskic)

One other thing, though.  In teh South Texas of Robbo’s misspent yoot, we never had to deal with teh annual fall foliage drop.  The live oaks and mesquite had relatively small leaves and the juniper scrub was evergreen.   So I never got to experience teh Good Old Days of leaf clean-up.  One thing that I would dearly love to do is to have an old-fashioned leaf-burning.   How eagerly I would trundle wheelbarrow-loads of leaves down to teh pile and fling them on.  How lovely would be the smell of smoke drifting back up the hill.

Ah, well….perhaps someday, after we bust out……




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November 2013