Got too many leaves? Here’s a way to use them!

Fall is upon us and if your trees and your neighbors’ trees are like ours – and theirs – your lawn and garden is becoming thick with the yellows and reds and browns that turned out to be outstanding despite the drought.

So what do you do with them?Remember the days when you would get out on a Saturday morning or afternoon with your dad and help him rake all the leaves into one mammoth pile?

Then my dad would take an old quilt – we didn’t’ seem to have tarps back then – and we would rake as many leaves as we could carry together and haul them out to our one lane road and piled them up in what passed for our gutter.

We carried load after load out there until we had practically all our leaves picked up; then came the exciting part.

I am not sure every kid loved fires as much as I did. I was no pyro though one of my jobs was to burn our paper trash in our metal incinerator in the far back field.
But for that one afternoon in the fall, my dad and I would have a smoldering blaze out in our gutter. The fire was never any hazard nor was it ever really a blaze, as it was a smoky way to make our leaves disappear.

Can you remember the smell of burning leaves?  I had a friend who loved burning leaves smell so much he burned leaves in his fire place.

Today I rake them up, haul them in back near our composter and they become the mainstay of our compost cover through the winter, since when we put our kitchen waste – fruit and veggie skins, nasty lettuce, coffee grounds and tea bags and the like, we have to cover this with garden waste.

This is a great way to use all those leaves, but I still miss the smell of those burning leaves and the joy I had helping my dad.

Bill Baker

About Bill Baker

Bill's interest in a clean place to live is rooted in growing up in the country – a cornfield across the road and fields, sandstone cliffs and hundreds of acres of woods where he spent many hours.