One lesson we’ve learned so far this first year on the farm is that fall yard cleanup takes a MINIMUM of three days. I plan to allocate my vacation time accordingly next year.
On day one, Mike rented a walk-behind leaf blower from the hardware and lumber store just up the road from us. He spent the better part of the day blowing the leaves from the seventeenmaple and three crabapple trees in our front yard into two enormous piles. Each pile, one on either side of our driveway, was about 10 feet wide by 40 feet long, and varied in depth from 2 to 4 feet.
Day two and three were spent raking the leaves onto a 10’x12′ tarp, then dragging the leaf-laden tarp with the tractor out to the pasture to burn the leaves. Burning went well on day two, but we had to take a break between days two and three, because of rain. So by day three, the leaves were wet, heavy, and unburnable. So now our back pasture has 6 leaf piles still waiting to be burned.
With having SO many leaves, we also decided to prepare a Back to Eden-style permaculture garden to be planted in the spring. I used chicken wire and some posts to map out an area behind our barn that we filled with four or five tarp-loads of leaves as well. Part of me is worried we’e going to have a GIANT mess to clean up in the spring, and then nowhere to plant the garden, but I’m trying to have faith and give it a try.
There are still some leaves close to the house, caught in the shrubs and along the porch, that need to be cleaned up. The chicken house needs a final deep-cleaning, and then I think we’ll be ready for winter — ready as we’re going to be, at least. (Brrr!)