The agony and the ecstasy of autumn


I live in a community that does not have curbside leaf pickup.  Instead, we are forced to purchase and fill paper leaf bags.  In all honesty, I tell you this because I want your pity.   You will see why as my story progresses.

We chose this house 12 years ago because of it’s park-like setting, sprawling yard, huge trees.  We had both lived in the country growing up and had been living in apartments and a condo since our marriage.  IMG_0480

When we moved here to to the North Coast, we had a 10 year old son who loved the outdoors and had visions of again enjoying nature by being in it.  And wow, every fall, are we ever in it!


When we first moved here , the amount of leaves that fell off our trees was rather novel.  We laughed about the 110 bags it took to clear them.  For a couple of years we worked every weekend and nights in November to keep up.  Then my husband got a job on the road and a pay raise, so we were able to afford to have the work done by someone else.  Now, along with many others in this country, the economy has caught up with us, my husband is unemployed and the job again falls to us.


We do have some great lawn care toys thanks to the fact that I work for a company that sells landscaping equipment.  And our son is now 22, a big strong guy who fortunately does like to help us, at least for a while.


The ecstasy of the job?  Being able to commune with nature for a while, marveling at the diverse colors of the leaves, the lovely fall smells, blue skies, listening to bird songs, time with family and a great workout.  I can eat pumpkin pie without guilt during leaf season!


The agony?  The backbreaking part of the job –  filling the damn bags.  There are lots of good ways to move leaves, but stoop work seems to be the only way to get those suckers bagged up.  The city has a pickup limit of 20 bags per week – hah!  We bag that many in a day!  And more the next day, and the next day…

Fall 2009

So, here’ s to the beauty of  fall, the wonder of  fall, the back aches of fall!  I will singlehandedly be keeping the company that makes ibuprofen in business …

Postscript:  Bag count this season = 130, and we’re not done yet!


About SallyK

A little blog about the ordinary and not so ordinary things our family does, places we travel, things we see. Like travel, cooking, family stories, book reviews, music? You will find it all here - comments welcome!
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3 Responses to The agony and the ecstasy of autumn

  1. .Net says:


    I knew you said you had leaves, but damn !!!!

  2. Jason says:

    I don’t have nearly that many leaves, but I have to use those bags for the trash company to take them. What I do is lay the bag down next to the pile of leaves, get on knees, and then shove leaves into it until they’re not really staying in there anymore. Then I stand the bag up and step in with one foot to compact them as much as possible. Then I repeat until the bag is full and dense. I really pack them in there. As it gets full, I can shove more leaves down along the inside surface of the bag and it seems to keep taking more. I should weigh a full bag once, but I bet it’s 50-60 lbs depending on the moisture content of the leaves.

    • SallyK says:

      We all have to find the best way to cope with the leaves. This year our compost pile had reduced to ground level so we are piling them up in the woods. My husband checked the internal temp of the compost leaf pile today and it was 120 degrees! 55 degree air temp, mean it’s all working. Thanks for stopping by!

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