FALLEN LEAVES–Part I
The City of Elgin spends $1000’s of dollars every year disposing leaves from private property. Is this necessary?
Let’s not be so quick to have them hauled away.
Fallen leaves can be beautiful.
The ground was blanketed with wet leaves of every hue from livid crimson to flame yellow, all their colors intensified by the wet and frost and morning sunlight.
James Alexander Thom
Follow the River
If you need to gather the leaves, have a party using old-fashioned bamboo rakes; then serve real cocoa with marshmallows and cookies to your crew.
Children love to play in piles of leaves, hurling them into the air like confetti, leaping into soft mattresses of them.
The Natural History of the Senses
And if you can find a little girl in a skeleton sweatshirt, ask her to jump in your leaves and smash them down.
The first year we lived here we put all of our leaves in the street. We hauled them there by dragging them with a large tarp. It was a lot of work and the pile on Gifford was so large that it caused a traffic jamb. When we owned 259 Villa we put the leaves on Villa. It almost caused an accident when a guy stopped at the light sliding in the leaves and almost rear ending the car in front of him. After that first year we bought a mulching mower. We set it high and run over the leaves several times. We then put the bag on the mower and pick up the mulched leaves. We actually rake the leaves from the street into the tree bank as we want as many leaves as we can get. We put the mulched leaves in large plastic bags and keep them until all the leaves have finished falling. We typically get about 20 large bags full. We then put the mulch back on our beds. By Spring you can hardly tell it was there. Sometimes we have a few bags left so we keep them and put that on the beds in the Spring.
Ethan rakes ALLLLLLLLL of the leaves into long piles into the backyard and then mulches that down into fine bits with the mower….. I’m surprised that as large as the piles are, it doesn’t seem to take too horribly long. We had rain all week and the weekend was gorgeous. It made the leaves wet and heavy and he actually had an easier time mulching them with the mower. Then he puts that into an enclosed fenced compost pile and he lets it winter over. By the time spring hits he has the most gorgeous top soil…. he calls it black gold 🙂 I have to beg to get any for my containers 🙂 We will have to show you the soil it makes in the spring/early summer 🙂
My friends and relatives keep the leaves from their trees on their property where they belong. Mowing the leaves with the lawn mower starts the decomposition process quicker than if the leaves were left whole. But the leaves will decompose through the winter even if they aren’t mowed.
The Circle of Life
A seed sprouts, is nourished by water and soil, grows, flowers, and then makes seeds that drop to the earth. The leaves fall and decay, enrich the soil, and feed the growing new plant. When we take away the leaves, we interrupt the cycle. Instead of natural leaves fertilizing the plant, we use chemicals made from natural gas that has to be mined and, what’s more, only provides 3 elements needed by plants:nitrogen, potassium, and potash.
Plant leaves, on the other hand, have all the nutrition that the plant from which they fell, needs.
Every single creature of nature follows nature’s rules, except for us, or they wouldn’t be here.
Why do we think there’s no price to pay for us breaking the rules that every other creature follows?
“Obviousy belonging to the world means belonging to the same club as everyone else. The club being the community of life. It means belonging to the club and following the same rules as everyone else.”
“And if being civilized means anything at all, it should mean that we’re the leaders of the club, not its only criminals and destroyers.”
Tomorrow: Create stunning beauty and counteract global warming at the same time and in the same place.