Every year around now I go to war. Like so many other conflicts it’s a war of tactics, weaponry and timing. My enemy is not a human or a wild animal and there is never any blood shed but this foe has the strength to stop a train in its tracks.
I’m talking about the war against leaves.
I have a blower of course; it’s a beast. High-powered and efficient, it relies on the leaves being dry and there being no wind to re-disperse them once they’re airborne. The trees that surround my garden know this and muster their leafy troops with military precision. They wait until you have no spare time and then, spurred by wind they descend en masse in a day. Their arrival is cue for rain which renders them to an un-blow-able mulch, buttered thick on the worm casts and the wet grass below.
My loveable but obese canine takes part in our war unwittingly. Unaware that autumn leaves and Labrador poo are identical to a short-sighted gardener he mines the field of battle with stealth and filth in equal measure.
This year however the rain held off over the weekend and the carpet of curled menace lay still and crisp before me. Revenge that sweet Sunday was swift. 300 watts of power from my blower/shredder took the day. With rhythm and not a little satisfaction I swept forth; plumes of ash leaves rose and fled before me. Working in rows I bullied and spooned the leaves into ordered piles before clamping them with boards and condemning them in the death march towards becoming next year’s compost.
Yes, this year the battle was mine.