I could write a long book about leaves but it would probably be dull and dry not like the colourful topic. For more than forty years we lived in a house surrounded by trees. Most of them dropped leaves in the fall and made bright gold, scarlet and brown patterns on the grass. They looked pretty but from mid September on, we regarded them with some anxiety. Those leaves had to be removed.

We learned the hard way that grass died if leaves remained on it. When we bought the house, the yards were covered with snow and it was only in the spring we discovered we owned a thick blanket of brown slimy leaves which had killed the back yard grass. We also had numerous mole or vole tunnels. The furry little rodents must have enjoyed extending their living quarters during the cold weather.

The town was very helpful with leaf removal. Each fall, the council issued a schedule for pickup which started in October and ended in December. We raked our leaves into piles on the side of the road where they were sucked up by a giant hose into trucks and driven away to a landfill site. At the height of fall, we had waist-high piles of leaves bordering our property. We always hoped for fine weather so we could rake in comparative comfort and the leaves would stay dry to be easily vacuumed up. Wet leaves stuck to the road and the lawn.

Raking became a family event when the kids were old enough to wield a rake. Of course they hated it. I used to make a big pot of soup to warm us at lunchtime but that was small consolation. They did end up rosy cheeked and tired which was good for them. The kids left home and we found raking leaves a real burden. My husband bought a leaf blower. I had always been against these machines because they were noisy and polluting but I forced down my scruples when I saw how fast they could move leaves from our lawns. We often cooperated with our neighbour to clear the sides of our houses where the leaves drifted and collected. He stayed a rake man.

The last pick up in December was always a tense time The oak trees kept their brown leaves until last. We had to wait until they were inclined and hoped it would be begore the final collection. If they were late, then the leaves had to be bagged. You might be wondering what the town did with their leaves. They were left in giant piles on a landfill site to become lovely black compost which could be collected by the residents for a donation to the food bank. A great recycling system.

Not sure abut next week but I will no doubt think of a topic by then.