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Hard to Be-Leaf It's Already Fall Again

(Sorry, I couldn't help myself)

I live on a gorgeous, tree-lined street in Northern Virginia, not too far outside Washington, DC. My neighborhood is about 35 years old, which may not be old by some standards, but it's old enough that we have some HUGE trees. They are both a blessing and a curse.

Arguably, two of the biggest oak trees in my neighborhood are in my front yard. (Or maybe it's just that when the leaves fall, it feels like they are the biggest) We have more trees in our back yard, behind our back yard, and just over the fence in our next-door neighbor's yard - which counts, because we get to share both the benefits and the work.

During the spring and summer, we have THE MOST amazing shade. Okay, yes, it's hard to grow grass in my yard because of it, but it gets very hot here in the summer and the shade is worth it.

Every fall since we moved here, some or all of my kids have enjoyed making GIANT leaf piles. That's the secondary purpose of leaves, right? (After keeping the tree alive, of course)

Two kids in a leaf pile, throwing leaves in the air

And then it gets colder outside, and the leaf piles get old. The kids are over it for the year, and we have to deal with the fact that our yard (front and back) is blanketed in leaves.

A thick covering of leaves on a lawn

This isn't even the worst of it...

It's not the nice fluffy, warm kind of blanket you may be thinking of, either. It's more like a heavy, wet, muddy blanket that dogs have peed on (or worse).

Yes, it's gross.

But, eureka! The last couple years, we've been able to convince (pay) our teenagers (we now have 2) to take care of most of the leaves. The secret is the lawn mower. We would never get them to rake all that mess. Of course, teenagers aren't the most detail-oriented lawn service, but I definitely don't have to do as much of it as I used to.

By mid/late November, a large portion of the leaves have fallen and been dealt with. The trees in our backyard are mostly done. For the past few weeks, I've had to pay out hefty bonuses for "leaf mowing," because it's been a lot more work that mowing the grass. (Because again, our grass doesn't really grow all that enthusiastically thanks to the trees)

The falling leaves from those giant trees in the front yard, on the other hand, will continue through late December. When it's freezing outside, I always wish we had sycamores instead of oaks - at least I think sycamores are the ones on my street that shed their leaves in August.

Final thoughts:

Huge, old oak trees are awesome, except in late fall.

Having teenagers makes fall less work, but more expensive.

People who don't have to rake/mow leaves in late December, when it's freezing, don't know how lucky they are!

Approximately 32 leaf bags lined up at the curb

This is far from all our leaves. It represents about 10 days' worth, actually.

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