An alien of some sort will be appearing to me shortly! (how to rake up leaves)

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That’s the fortune I received in a cookie about two weeks ago. It says “An alien of some sort will be appearing to you shortly!” I’m stayed up late every night but nothing has happened. Even without the alien visitor, it’s a pretty cool fortune.

For those who are wondering about the plug of flesh taken from my head-it was benign and tasted like chicken. At least that’s what the lady at the doctor’s office said.

So what have I been up to these past two months? I guess not very much. And a lot. I guess that’s the problem. My life is either too busy or too mundane to write. I suppose people have made complete careers writing in either genre. But for me it comes down to time and desire. Apparently, I don’t have much of either at the right time.

Most recently I have been waging a war against the falling leaves that are covering my luxurious emerald-green lawn. I used to rake up leaves and put them in the free plastic bags the city gives everyone. I felt a challenge each year to fill more bags than in the past. The last year I did this I made it up to 32 bags. Then I realized that I was being ridiculous.

Leaves are mostly air so they can compress quite a bit. So I started to put leaves in a bag then compacting them with a bowling ball (a 2×4 kept tearing the sides of the bag). This would yield about 60 lb. bags but I could do the whole yard in something like 6 bags.

Then I realized that I was spending too much time in the racking and compacting part so I used my leaf blower which has an attachment for sucking up leaves and mulching them while blowing them into a small bag. The first thing that went was the small bag to be replaced with a dryer vent flexible hose so I could suck-and-blow directly into large leaf bags. This took a long time, however, even though it yielded even heaver bags and fewer of them.

So two years ago I realized that I had a leaf sucker and shredder with about 100 times the surface area and power than my leaf blower. I have a lawn mower. Now I just mow the damn lawn and let the leaves get sucked up, shredded and compacted. I don’t even bother with putting them in bags — too much trouble. I just put them in the garbage. This method even works on damp leaves, which are hell to do by hand and slimy.

So now I just mow and dump. What used to take me days now takes me about an hour. What used to take 30 plus bags takes up about 1/2 of a garbage can (although I do compact it a bit with a 2×4 when I need to.

I’m trying to get my mother to switch to this method. My mother is a leaf-raking freak. I have actually seen her shovel snow off the lawn so she can rake the soggy leaves underneath. Anyway, my mother is getting older and slowing down even though mentally she is faster than ever. But raking up the yard is a terrible chore for her. I think her only hope now is to mow them up.

So how about that? I started off with a story about alien visitors and ended with my techniques on raking leaves.