Raking up is hard to do

I love working in the yard in November. I especially love the fact that thousands of free leaves are at my disposal to use for composting, mulching and tilling into beds…..what a resource! Granted, raking up is hard to do as Neil Sedaka might say, but great exercise and opportunity for fresh air!

Unbe-leaf-able resource!

Who doesn’t love the smell of fallen leaves and the crisp air of a sunny November day.

Well it appears many don’t use the resource in their own yards based on the lineup I saw at the yard waste recycle station the other day and the huge pile of leaves generated in a matter of days!

Yard Waste Leaf recycling

That’s OK, if you’re not into composting or fine mulching leaves into your turf or into piling them into a leaf lasagna. You’re doing the right thing by recycling the leaves with your neighbors at the municipal recycle yard.

A natural resource or burning memories?

But it caused me to think of my younger days when people would rake the leaves to the curb and light them on fire. The smokey haze would block out the sun and street lights at times and create an eerie atmosphere. We thought nothing of it and rode our bikes through the smoldering piles of wet smoking leaves. Thank goodness and fortunately today we compost and mulch our leaves and do not burn them……but some reminisce of the aroma and the haunting haze when we were kids…..to the point you can buy a burning leaves cologne.

I decided to test whether or not others had the same smoky memories in their past and was surprised by the amount of responses on a Facebook post.

Smoky Memories

It “leafs” me speechless the number of people who miss the aroma and haze of neighborhood piles of foliage belching smoke into the sky. Quite amazing that these childhood recollections of torched leaves have been burnt into the memories of those 40 years and older. Here is a sampling of some of the many comments people made on Facebook:

“I remember hot smoldering piles of leaves with foil wrapped baked potatoes cooking inside them…… LOVE the smell of burning leaves!…… So would a burning leaves cologne leave you “hot under the collar”? …….One of the best childhood memories…… I miss that smell everywhere you went…… While burning the leaves we would take an apple, take out the core, put in a couple of marshmellows, wrap it in tinfoil and throw it in the fire. Soon we had a hot apple delight! It was GREAT!!…….. I am allergic to tree mold. I can barely breathe. I have headaches Bring back the smoke. you can stay in the house when someone is burning…….. 

Leaf Mountain

My husband Dave takes great joy in burning what he doesn’t compost or turn over into the garden late at night, it looks like a pagan ritual……Love the smell. Inherent, due to my age…….The smoke does contain a carcinogen…….. It’s almost a polarizing topic among people however I believe most would agree that it’s a good thing we mulch and recycle our leaves today and don’t burn them………. We burned leaves for years…I think we turned out ok. That smell is the tell-tale sign of fall. If someone wants to come over and take my leaves and recycle them…you’re invited!!!……… What a great memory!! We have lots of leaves..but unfortunately the govt at this level prohibits us to burn it! please bring back the old days!……… Funny you should mention burning leaves…my husband just mentioned it saying, ‘man, I wish we could burn leaves again.’ Growing up on the east side of the state, I don’t recall anyone in my neighborhood burning leaves so I’m w/o such aromatic memories………. I love that smell it has been a very long time since…… Yes I do remember. My dad would have MSU football on the radio, nothing like burning leaves.

See what I mean? A polarizing topic burnt into the memories of those of us old enough to remember the crazy hazy days of November past.

Piles of Leaves

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