Everyone tells their realtor they want to live in a neighborhood with mature trees, a place with plenty of shade, set apart from those new cookie cutter houses out by the suburbs where the trees all look like toothpicks tossed randomly in the front yard. I imagine that realtors are always glad to acquiesce to this request, after all, they’re probably long gone by fall when the real work begins.
I’ve always wondered if those same people who wanted all the big trees ever call their realtor back on a crisp Sunday afternoon, and complain. “Why didn’t you warn us,” they’d say, as the bags of leaves start to pile up on the curb.
Leaf removal is no small matter in my neighborhood. I live in Beaverdale, just west of downtown, and while it was originally one of the suburbs of Des Moines, the city has grown to surround it, and we’re right in the heart of things here these days. We’re also right under the canopy of trees. There are more than 20 trees in my yard, and half of them are deciduous. I guess I should be fortunate the vast majority are easy to maintain evergreens, but it’s hard to focus on the positive when you’re filling your 100th yard waste bag of the year.
There isn’t any real solution here. The house wouldn’t be the same without the trees shading it all summer, I’ll never cut them down. What I really need is a good supply of cheap labor in order to keep the yard in tip top shape all year. Hiring yard work out has been a mixed bag for me in the past, I’ve gotten really good service from a couple of professional companies, but I’ve paid through the nose, and I’ve also gotten some pretty mediocre work out of a couple of dudes I hired off of Craigslist and then had to watch like a hawk all afternoon. This year I’m going to try an entirely new direction; I’m going to look for volunteers.
I’ve got an ideal candidate in mind, for weeks now I’ve seen friends, mostly female, posting on Facebook about how much they love fall. Pumpkin spice lattes, North Face jackets, Ugg boots, making lists of their favorite things about fall, the whole nine yards. If you’re on social media you’ll know exactly what I’m talking about.
So this year, I’m going to turn my yard into the perfect place to celebrate fall. I mean, could there be a better place to get in touch with nature besides raking leaves in my backyard? I’ll have a number of different backgrounds available, and I’d be glad to help you select that perfect filter so all of your friends will see you right in the midst of fall. I’ll even keep the pumpkin spice lattes flowing, anything to get these leaves out of here.
I’m banking on the promise that the first time you spend all day raking leaves is novel and exciting, but every time after it’s just a chore. Maybe I can recruit down at the local Starbucks, it might even save me a few bucks if I can catch them after they’ve already picked up their latte. If I sound desperate, it’s because I am.
I’ve tried just about everything to find the perfect way to get rid of leaves. I’ve burned them, I’ve mulched them, I’ve bagged them, I’ve even blown them into the neighbor’s yard. One year I filled the back of my truck with leaves and just drove around town for an hour, hoping they’d quietly redistribute themselves into new neighborhoods. So far I haven’t been able to find a solution that doesn’t involve hours of week, and like Santa, I’ve come to the conclusion I need a formidable workforce to tackle this project.
So, if you love fall, and I haven’t managed to scare you off yet, come on over this weekend. We can talk about your favorite things about fall while we rake some leaves. Bring your favorite Uggs, your North Face fleece, and your cowl sweater, I’ll supply the pumpkin spice lattes.
Contact David Dolmage at