The never ending leaf battle

I love watching the leaves slowly fall to the ground and the beautiful scene of how they cover every inch of my backyard like a colorful, thick, blanket. But it’s no fun come spring when you’re knee-deep in leaves and they all have to be vanquished.

Last weekend I began my annual mulching of the leaves in my backyard.

I promised myself several years ago I wouldn’t let it go too long, largely due to my disdain for the rake.

It’s also more practical to get rid of them as they fall because once they cover the ground, you’re in danger of stepping in the hidden land mines that two large dogs are certain to leave behind. I often find myself walking the perimeter of the property when leaves cover the ground and I need to retrieve something out of the shed in the back corner of the yard. You never know what lies beneath.

My methods of removing the leaves now involve cranking up the blower and directing all the leaves out of the flower beds and corners of the yard and on to the lawn so I can attach the mulcher to my John Deere mower and chew them up until they’re reduced to hardly visible crumbs.

The blower, however, doesn’t exclude some of the troublesome laws of physics that also encumber the dreaded rake.

I must have been absent the day in high school physics class when the teacher explained how it’s impossible to have the wind at your back when you’re trying to move leaves in any direction.

However, that’s not as big an issue right now as it will be closer to spring when every last leaf must be removed.

This was only the first run of this fall season as the giant oak trees that stretch over my yard are still retaining more than half their leaves. In fact, my backyard was barely ankle deep on this initial run so it didn’t take long at all.

They were still plentiful enough that I had to pull out the dust mask to protect my sinuses from the thick clouds of dust that rise from beneath the mower as it grinds the leaves. It’s not the most masculine look, but other than a one-time battle with food poisoning, no sickness beats me down more than a full force assault on my sinuses.

Sometimes, when the leaves are thicker, I have to break out the clear safety glasses too.

My eyes were watering throughout the mowing last weekend, but my only pair of glasses were some I recently picked up from Haworth during a tour of the Bruce plant. They were so nice I decided to save them for the Harley for when I get caught on the bike after sundown.

By Monday morning the backyard was nearly half covered in fallen leaves again. I better stock up on masks. Looks like it will be a busy fall.

You may email Joel McNeece at