a peek inside the fishbowl

13 Nov, 2018

What does your leaf raking style say about you?

Posted by andrea tomkins in: Home/reno

Over the past few weeks I’ve raked multiple lawns and moved what might possibly be a metric ton of leaves from one place to another. I raked the small forest around my mother’s place on two occasions this fall (picture full-size maple and oak trees, so many leaves they can’t be bagged), my in-laws small suburban front lawn, and our own yard (which also involved breaking down a stack of branches left over from Tornado Weekend). So this is a question I’ve had a lot of time to ponder: What does my leaf raking style say about the kind of person I am?

  • I’m not a perfectionist and don’t expect others to be either. I don’t care if there are stray leaves on the lawn after I’m done.
  • I clean up the bulk of the leaves on the lawn but leave some in the flowerbeds.
  • I like using a big rake and the feeling of progress. This is comparable to what I enjoy the most about painting a wall: I get a lot of satisfaction from broad strokes and a big roller. I don’t enjoy taping and the detail work.
  • Bagging the leaves is ok and I don’t mind it too much. I like pushing them down and making space for more. In fact, I find it very satisfying to stuff the bags with as many leaves as possible.
  • I do not have a methodical approach to raking a lawn. It defies logic, but somehow I can’t find it within myself to start from one side and make my way to the other. I like tag team raking. I rake a pile and someone bags it. Repeat. Switch. Repeat.
  • I do not like putting away the garden tools. This feeling flows from the same fountain as the one that hits me when it’s time to empty the laundry basket.

We have two ways to compost in our backyard. One is with an enclosed black unit with a lid. It’s ready for winter now. I do this by turning it, then adding layers of “green” matter and “brown” matter. The other composter is essentially a pile of leaves contained by two-by-fours and chicken wire.

Some of the leaves are dumped into our compost, and any overflow is bagged and put out by the curb for pickup.

Fall in Ottawa = leaf collection.

Composting makes me very happy, and I feel very strongly about leaving some yard waste to decompose in the flower beds. It’s important! Leaves and twigs eventually decompose into lovely organic material that contributes to healthy soil AND as a bonus, saves us money in the long run because we won’t need to amend our soil with more soil and fertilizers. What’s more, the leaves provide food and shelter for bugs, birds, and other critters, which in turn creates a healthy backyard eco-system that is a joy to behold.

If you’re in Ottawa you’ve also experienced a recent little snowfall (which took place after the photo was taken above)! Did you get all the leaves cleaned up before it snowed? We didn’t, and I am ok with this. They’ll be gone by spring.


p.s. On this theme, I recommend this thoughtful opinion piece over on the New York Times website: How to Rake Leaves on a Windy Day.

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The Obligatory Blurb

My name is Andrea and I live in the Westboro area of Ottawa with my husband Mark and our dog Piper who is kind of a big deal on Instagram. We also have two human daughters: Emma (20) and Sarah (18). During the day I work as a writer at The Royal Ottawa Mental Health Centre. I am a longtime Ottawa blogger and I've occupied this little corner of the WWW since 1999. The Fishbowl is my whiteboard, water cooler, and journal, all rolled into one. I'm passionate about healthy living, arts and culture, family travel, great gear, good food, and sharing the best of Ottawa for families. I also love vegetables, photography, gadgets, and great design.

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