“We want a big yard with lots of trees!”
Those were our words eight months ago, while house shopping in January. Since then we’ve endured a summer of bickering over who’s going to mow the 1/2 acre lawn with a push mower. And just when the grass stops growing, we enter yard work hell…leaf season.
We got what we wanted, a big yard with lots of old big trees. They give you that fleeting moment of blazing fall color, then they shit all over your yard. The colors are beautiful, don’t get me wrong. But until today, we didn’t even own a rake. We didn’t have many trees in the yard of our rental house in Knoxville, and it doesn’t come in much handy when you live in an apartment in south Brooklyn.
I sort of had a sunny disposition this morning about doing something quaint and very autumnal like going out and raking leaves. But now my arms hurt, dammit.
I set out to do as much as I could of the front yard. There are two biggun’s out there that dropped their leaves early. And you know, to keep up appearances with the front yard being nice and cleaned up. No one can see into the backyard so our laziness can hide out there for a while.
After about 20 minutes of back-breaking labor, the neighbor took pity on my pathetic weak arms and revved up his gas powered leaf blower. That thing kicks ass. It makes short work of those leaves. Your arms still kind of hurt afterwards, but it’s over so much quicker than raking.
In Knoxville during the fall you just pile up all your leaves along the curb and this big sucker truck comes around once a week and sucks them up. I have no idea if this is a common thing or not, since leaf removal was so far off my radar for the first 26 years of my life. I clearly remember my dad getting mad at us for jumping in the leaf piles and messing them up because he had to bag them all up himself (and was bitter about it to at least to some degree).
Conclusion: We need a leaf blower. Stat. Before the big backyard trees really drop.
In other fun fall news, yesterday I made these excellent apple cheddar scones, and I got my first CSA butternut squash of the season. For dinner tonight is my absolute favorite butternut application, this Ina Garten risotto. Well, I make a somewhat hacked version of that risotto that eliminates the saffron (I’m cheap) and the pancetta (it’s totally unnecessary).
Also in the fall spirit, I haphazardly planted these three mums in the flower bed out front. And I also buried about 25 fall bulbs around the joint. We’ll see how those work out. Talk about unrewarding effort…digging and refilling 25 holes and having nothing to show for it until six months later. It turns out that yard work is hard. Who knew?