Air Date: Week of October 9, 1998
Host Steve Curwood decides to dispatch with the task of leaf raking this year... and enjoy the ecological benefits.
CURWOOD: Recently, I've noticed a more pronounced desire to stay in bed just a little later in the mornings. To get to bed a bit earlier in the evenings and crave that second helping at mealtimes. As winter approaches, I confess, I'm getting lazier. Now, that wouldn't be so bad if I were a bear or other such hibernator. But as a 20th century hominid, I'm expected to continue with my various chores, despite the dipping temperatures and longer hours of darkness each day. So you can imagine my delight when my sister-in-law Micki suggested a way I could quickly and ecologically dispatch with the task of leaf-raking this year. Now, usually I love to rake leaves. When I lived in a house with a small yard, I'd take a few minutes with a bamboo rake to pile up the leaves, and then feel deliciously paternal as my kids and their friends jumped in the big mounds and collapsed in laughter. And we'd all swoosh the leaves over to a composting corner by the back fence.
But I moved to a house bordered by a wonderful stand of huge old maple trees and a yard about the size of a soccer field or 2. Raking by hand claimed too many weekends. So, this year, I was tempted to rent one of those noisy and polluting leaf-blowing machines to make quick work of my chore and the mother of all compost piles. But Micki, who is a professional plant person, said, "Don't. Since you're talking about polluting anyway, just run the leaves over with your mulching lawn mower. You'll feed your lawn, you won't have to drag the leaves or compost anywhere, and it'll take a lot less time."
"You're kidding," I said.
"I'm not," said Micki.
"And this is okay for my lawn?" I asked skeptically.
Micki just gave me one of her looks. So, I tried it. I got some funny stares from a couple of passers-by, but more than one neighbor nodded knowingly. I got the feeling that a lot of you figured this one out a long time ago. And when I was done, the lawn looked just fine. The tiny bits of chopped up leaves blended right into the green carpet with gold flecks that mirrored the fall colors. I did have to rake an especially heavy section to spread out the shreds. It's not perfect, but no bags, no piles, and no lost weekends.
I guess it's like so many things in life. What's best is what's simple and what flows with the season. Hominid or not, when the days get shorter, the right flow is nice and lazy.
Living on Earth wants to hear from you!
P.O. Box 990007
Boston, MA, USA 02199
Donate to Living on Earth!
Living on Earth is an independent media program and relies entirely on contributions from listeners and institutions supporting public service. Please donate now to preserve an independent environmental voice.
Sailors For The Sea: Be the change you want to sea.
Innovating to make the world a better, more sustainable place to live. Listen to the race to 9 billion
The Grantham Foundation for the Protection of the Environment: Committed to protecting and improving the health of the global environment.
Energy Foundation: Serving the public interest by helping to build a strong, clean energy economy.
Contribute to Living on Earth and receive, as our gift to you, an archival print of one of Mark Seth Lender's extraordinary hummingbird photographs. Follow the link to see Mark's current collection of photographs.