Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Unapologetic insolence from an aging subversive

Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Bloody Leaves

As I was raised north of the tropic, I find more seasons than two a mite confusing.

Back in Carmilla, there was only ever the Wet and the Dry. It was very simple and symmetrical.

You spent half the year mowing and clearing encroaching vegetation, and the other half trying to keep it alive.

Here in the garden city, it’s more complicated. We have something approaching a Northern hemisphere autumn and spring, as well as the other two. This is picturesque (even spectacular – especially in the spring) but some elements of it leave me cold (excuse the bad pun).

One of these is the bloody leaves. My wife loves the Japanese maple that grows in the front of our home. For ten months of the year, I don’t mind it, as it does the usual tree thing of standing there looking green. During May and June, however, it goes feral and drops what seem to me tonnes of pretty brown leaves everywhere. The prevailing South-Easter gets hold of them and blows them into the front of the house and the garage where they rot and decay and generally mess up the place.

This means that I have to rake them almost daily. This is not fun. Once raked, they have to be put somewhere. They are not particularly useful as mulch, and take up lots of space. Bagging them means they can be stored, but what then?

They’re aromatic, and smell good when dry and put into our wood fire, but you need to dry them well or lots of white smoke results and we don’t get a new Pope, no matter how much I wish we did.

1 comment:

Boy on a bike said...

Leaves? That's not a pile of leaves. Try spending some time in Canberra in autumn and then you'll know about leaves.

We borrowed a house in Canberra for a few weeks when I was a kid and i was quickly given the job of raking the back yard every day. The house sat on 1/4 acre and the yard was full of trees, and they all dropped their leaves. I'd make a huge pile each afternoon, then spend a bit of time stage diving into it.

After that, I'd burn them in the incinerator. Since they were all a bit moist, they gave off tonnes of smoke - but all the houses up and down the street were doing the same thing, so no one thought anything of it.

My favourite thing was to get an empty shaving cream can and toss it in the incinerator after it got going - it would explode within a minute, and send up a huge mushroom cloud of smoke. The noise was also impressive. By the time we left, the poor old incinerator was looking a bit the worse for wear.

I'm still amazed at the things my parents let me do. I must have been 10 at the time.

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