Monday, April 7, 2008

Is There Anyone Out There Needing Aerobic Exercise?

This past Saturday morning, this is what I heard!

Saturday was the beginning of the first extensive raking season of "a year in the woods." It was a beautiful, clear, blue-sky, warm day! Beginning around 8:00 a.m., I raked the 4 inches of last Fall's oak leaf mulch from the south and east and northeast flower beds. Next, I grabbed two big, blue tarps (I'm guesstimating them to be around 9'x12') and headed to the backyard.

I didn't shred these leaves... there were tooooo many of them. I raked until 2:00 p.m., when my friend/neighbor Chris and I enjoyable a walk in the woods. We returned around 4:00 p.m. or so, and I resumed raking. I admit to taking time to cook and eat a quick meal, and then I finished raking for the day. My it felt good!! A grand total of 18 tarp-loads of leaves were dragged to the ravine. Not bad if I may say so myself! :-)

On Sunday afternoon, I managed to rake and drag 5 more tarp-loads. And this evening (Monday) I began work in the "Sunny bed" in the front corner of the yard, as well as the north edge of the driveway, and hauled 4 1/2 more loads to the ravine.

Unshredded leaves take much longer to decompose. My theory about the lack of deer in my backyard is that they don't appreciate trying to climb the bank when it's covered with so many layers of foot-deep leaves. I'm going to operate on that theory and continue to drag those leaves down there! ;-)

I tell myself, by composting leaves, I may gradually increase the square footage of land back there! ha. (What do you think?) We own land on the other side of the ravine, and a small trickle of water flows between the banks. I haven't pursued the possibility that mosquitoes breed there, but I assume it's very likely.

Can you see the edge of the ravine back there?

These photos were taken from the dining room windows
at nearly 5:30 p.m. Saturday.
You can probably tell by the source of sunlight and slant of the shadows.

Looks nice and clean, though, doesn't it?
(Sunday's raking cleared leaves from about 10' behind
that soon-to-disappear log pile.)It will remain beautifully clean for only so you may notice, if you look closely at the trees,
many still hold their leaves. ;-)But those will be a project for another day.

And I'm ever-so-hopeful that I haven't raked too early!

Nothing shady here, yet.


Kathleen said...

Wow, that's a lot of raking. It looks great tho!

Gail said...

That is a lot of work...I love tarps, easy to move the leaves around but it is still work! Last fall I ran the mower over leaves and raked them on the beds, there were still plenty after that to clean up.

I love your property and all the wooded areas.


Shady Gardener said...

Kathleen, It can also be fun. :-) Thanks!

Gail, I do have a couple of machines that I use when the piles of leaves aren't so very deep. It's great because one is a shredder that cuts the volume by 1/4! :-) Thank you for stopping in so often!

Anonymous said...

No, I won't be over to rake, anytime soon. After I deal with mine, it's off to rake my Mom's entire yard... all set on aerobic activity. My goodness, you have a lot to deal with - looks great all cleaned up. What a pretty, natural setting... Deb

Gail said...


You're so very welcome.


J said...

What a beautiful bunch of birds all singing away like that! Thanks for "capturing" it to post on your blog.

I did a bunch of work outside this past weekend, and had that nice garden ache the next morning. I'm one of the few who actually loves to rake leaves, but, geez, what a lot of leaves you have, eh?

Thanks for the great post.


2greenthumbsup said...

Hi Shady Gardener,

You've done a tremendous amount of work and it looks great! Mom and I just started raking the matted down leaves out of our flower beds today. All my fall raking took care of most of the leaves - we're just dealing with remnants that blew in late in the season then got covered in snow.

I swear that after taking the leaves out of the beds and poufing up the mulch things have grown another two inches just this afternoon!


Shady Gardener said...

You are so right! We received 1 1/2" of rain yesterday (over the entire day) and I'm SURE I watched things grow! ;-)

How nice you and your mom can work together!


Iowa Gardening Woman said...

Wow, I'm tired just reading your

Mr. McGregor's Daughter said...

Hey, whatever works to keep out the deer! You're definitely raising the ground level back there. I love leaf mold - & so do my plants.

kate smudges said...

That's an amazing amount of work you've accomplished and add to that a long walk. I like your theory about the deer. I have to tell my mum about this - she collects endless bags of leaves and is constantly looking for ways to keep the deer from munching her hostas at the cottage.

Shady Gardener said...

IowaGW, I'm so glad you came to visit! I'll be over. You haven't "been home" for awhile! :-)

MMD, It's a theory. ;-) You're right. There is a certain amount of shredded leaf that I left on the beds. I understand we're to get a little snow on Friday?? Hope things take the change in weather alright... :-\

Kate, I think it's the adrenaline. ha. I'll be raking a lot more, but the weather isn't cooperating, I need a bit of a break, and there are people to see, places to go and things to do! lol. Thanks for stopping! :-)

Lisa said...

I'm exhausted just reading about all that work you did. Wow... I used to want to live in the woods. Now. Not so much! ;)

Shady Gardener said...

Ha! Many of my neighbors with larger yards have large riding mowers with big "hampers" that catch the debris. The mowers shred the mowed leaves,etc. They have it easy! ;-) I don't have one. (My yard isn't large enough... and I have so many things that interrupt it!) But, a little later I'll show you a couple of things that help me Immensely! My super shredder cuts the volume by 1/4!

This particular raking was taking the 4-5" of oak leaves off the flower beds (that I'd put there last Fall as mulch!) ;-)

Rosemarie said...

What an amazing yard you have! I shredded my leaves for the first time last fall and then used them al over my beds and for the 1st spring, I don't have anything to pick up, they all decomposed so nicely. But after 2 days, I was one sore chick.

Shady Gardener said...

Hi Rosemarie! Good job! (I actually did shred a lot first, last fall. Then I mounded the other oak leaves on top as insulating mulch. Oak leaves don't seem to decompose very quickly, so I'm leaving the shredded leaves there. ;-) I probably won't have to mulch much this summer! Yea!
Thanks for visiting! I understand the word "Sore!" ha.