Thursday, March 30, 2006

Garden Prepping in New England, Part III

Today was a very productive day. Unbeknownst to me, my dear, beloved husband did not rake and dispose of the autumn leaves last year, when he was sent outside with rakes, leaf blower, and plenty of bags. I found that most of the leaves had been simply blown into the woods on the outskirts of our lawn. This is all fine and good until an energetic wind blows our way, and then the leaves manage to make their way back out of the woods and onto the lawn. This happened all winter, but as the leaves were mixed with snow, I did not really notice. Consequently, the lawn had quite a few leaves, and the surrounding woods have piles of them. That simply will not do. I also discovered today, in my day of discoveries, that my dear beloved husband disposed of our Christmas tree, back in January, in much the same way. I found the tree this morning, hovering on its side behind what was left of our woodpile. It was covered in leaves and first appeared to be yet another large pile of leaves; but when I sunk the rake into it, there was our cute little tree, still with a bit of tinsel clinging to the dried out branches.

After taking all our bags of leaves and debris to the local refuse and recycling center, my daughters and I knew we needed to dispose of the Christmas tree, now that it is nearly April, and we also needed to do something about all the down sticks, twigs and branches that had littered the yard, but were now waiting in neat piles. We do not own a pick-up truck or an open-air trailer, so we made due with what we have. We took the back seat out of our seven-seat minivan and lined the floor with a large, thick tarp. We then put the Christmas tree into the back of the van, on top of the tarp, and proceeded to follow up with all our piles of sticks, twigs and branches. This system worked beautifully, even better than a pick-up truck or an open-air trailer, if you ask me, because nothing blew out. When we arrived back at the refuse and recycling center, we simply opened the back of the van, pulled out the tarp, and shook off all the sticks, including the Christmas tree.

I will stress yet again that we have been having simply superb weather for this time of year in New England. On the way back home from our drop-off, we opened the windows in our van and enjoyed the summer-like breeze and sunshine. The thermometer on our van registered at a balmy 62 degrees and we were all smiles. With a spring in our step to match the season and the weather, we plunged back to work and removed many more sticks and leaves from our terribly neglected side yard. Rather than stopping at the garden this year, as we normally do, I decided to take our clean up all the way into the woods (thanks, again, to my husband) so that we might avoid having the leaves in there decide to pick up and move to a new residence back in our flower garden or lawn. I am sure our next door neighbor, the one with the perfectly sweep, weeded, and edged, pristine lawn and garden, will thank me profusely.

After yet another trip to the refuse and recycling center with yet another load of branches, sticks and twigs on the tarp in the back of our van, we came back home for the last time, bagged up two more large bags of leaves from back in the woods, and made our plan for tomorrow. We are having such success at our clean up this year, not to mention the weather, that we are actually enjoying the process. Normally the planning, planting and harvesting has been the only enjoyable phases of gardening for me, but this year, watching such a transformation in our yard, garden, and surrounding woods, I am thrilling at the process. If only the powers-that-be would give us a few more days of this wonderful weather - before the humidity and the insects arrive on the scene. Perhaps this might turn out to be the year that we manage to get everything done. We shall see.

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