Botany & Lumber-Jilling

For a yard with no trees, we sure do have a lot of leaves. Every year, the city starts their leaf pickup in early October, when everything is still lush and green and firmly attached. By the third week of October, though, it’s actually raining leaves. I worked at home one brisk day a couple weeks ago and actually got up to look outside at a couple points to see if it had started raining. It sure sounded like rain, but in reality, it was just the sound of thousands of leaves falling – in unison – to the ground.

Our neighbors behind us have the annoying mulberry tree that will drop all its leaves in one fell swoop in the next couple weeks. The neighbors next door have two giant, ancient oaks that drop bushels of big, broad, crunchy leaves, and plenty of acorns Our yard is torn up from the increased squirrel activity, as they frantically try to bury as many acorns before the ground freezes. One brilliant squirrel even buried an acorn in my tomato planter. I’ll bet he goes hungry this winter. Apparently a previous owner paid neighborhood children a quarter per bucket they filled with acorns, then stored the nuts in the garage and parceled them out to the varmints all winter. I’m dealing with generations that may remember that elderly woman – and expect the entitlement to continue. Liberals.

Despite having no trees, we do have one overgrown bush – maybe it’s a mini tree?- that blocks the main living room window. It scrapes up against the house, making pinging noises against the aluminum. A couple times each year, I go out and trim it way back, stopping the scraping and allowing a bit more light through the narrow window. When I first moved in, I thought it may be a lilac, as there were a couple small blooms that have never since reappeared. The leaves on this tree are small and annoying, as the rake doesn’t really pick them up. As long as they don’t get wet, they tend to just blow away and disperse.

I did my fall trimming a couple weeks ago, first taking off everything I could with mere hedge trimmers. Then, for the taller branches, I had to jump up, pull them down and hold in place while cutting. Some of the skinny ones – the newer growth – were easy to snap off, while others required the saw. It was great fun and satisfying to pull down branches bigger than me.

That entire bush/tree will likely come down early next spring, to be replaced with something smaller that doesn’t block the window. I think it’s too late in the season now for a new plant to take root and survive the winter. Of course, I said the same thing at this time last year. Inertia’s a bitch to overcome, no?

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