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Sunday, October 16, 2011

Autumn, again: Harleys, blowers, and rakes

                                                            Autumn, again

I decided to try something today.  I went to my garage, moved an inordinate amount of non-vehicular stuff, and found an old, prehistoric implement; I believe in its day, it was called a “leaf rake.”  I took the old rake out to my front yard and began to use it in its intended manner.  Lo and behold, it worked.  After a while I began to notice green grass, unencumbered by the brown of the fallen leaves, yearningly seeking out the morning sunlight.  Amazing.  Also, I began to hear the twittering of neighborhood birds and even enjoyed the company of my two cats who came out to my work space to try to fathom what exactly “in tarnation” I might be doing.  On figuring out to their satisfaction that my efforts were not generating anything worth eating or playing with, they returned to their napping spots to simply watch. 

One of my neighbors apparently had a similar notion.  I became aware of this when he cranked his 100+db leaf blower.  RRRRaaaaaahrh!  Tranquility a thing of the past, I came inside to leave a few tracks on the old word processor (remember that, another thing of the past.)  Oh, well, I digress.  I don’t know if such an animal still exists.  In any case, you can buy a program for your laptop that turns it into a good, nay, improved, version of a word processor, which is what I actually have done.  The laptop word processor is really a better use of 3D space in that when it is not used as a word processor it will allow for quite a few other uses--unlike the leaf rake and its successor the leaf blower. 

Things seem to have quieted a bit outdoors; guess I’ll return to my raking.  Yup, the birds are still twittering away and I believe I can hear a train from the tracks a couple of miles away.  As to the birds, I can readily identify the jays and the mocking birds.  Among the other twitterers are possibly the nuthatches and Carolina wrens that regularly visit the suet holder outside our front window and the cardinals that like the sunflower seeds in the mix in the bird feeder.  Purple finches also frequent the feeder and probably may be originating some of the other unidentified twits (or is it tweets?) I am hearing.  A rat-a-tat or two could be coming from a red bellied woodpecker, or a downey, both of whom also appreciate the suet feeder.  RRRRaaaaaahrh!  Oh, no, my neighbor again.  This time it’s only about 90dB.  The “muffler” on his riding mower is a bit more efficient than the “muffler” on his leaf blower.  I don’t blame him for wanting to get out.  The sky is robin-egg blue; the temperature is a perfect 69 degrees; the only other sounds (other than the occasional truck on Whiskey road, a neighborhood away,) are the birds and the scritch, scritching of my rake.  Oh, well, this will be his last time to ride his John Deere until his rye grass gets up.  He looks quite contented with his paper mask and airport tarmac ear muffs.  More power too him.  Guess I’ll go back inside and record my musings until the Gong show comes on and we again change places. 

Back to the rake.  Tranquility, it seems, is a bit underrated these days.  Perhaps there is something different between the folk and rock generations.  Judy, Joan, and PP&M seem to have left us with a group of emerging oldsters who still have some modicum of hearing—some of whom even may be able to hear that elusive ring tone that the kids call their own and use to communicate with unbeknownst to their gaol (er-) teachers.  I was not one of the fortunate ones, though.  I call my impediment M-16 ear.  I came about it honestly, though, and find no fault and I still can enjoy many sounds and types of music that seem to be lost to others.  No matter, Chaqun a son gout, each to his own. 

A veritable explosion next door lets me know the grass cutting job is finished.  Hopefully the Harley is on its way somewhere and not being cranked to be worked on.  I don’t know what it is about Harley riders.  I guess it has to do with not getting enough attention as a child.  Look at me, Daddy!   I understand Harley does make relatively quiet bikes, but, for some reason, most of them do not remain that way for very long after leaving the showroom floor.  I had a Honda once.  It was fairly quiet, ran sufficiently fast, and did in one of my knees.  Yep, it qualified as a motorcycle on all fronts except the one that the Harley riders seem to value most. 

Ah, good.  Quiet again.  Perhaps the Harley has gone to town or to the mall.  It’s safe to go out again. 

I now have a line of leaves that stretches across the front yard.  It consists of oak and pine leaves.  Where there are mostly oak leaves I make piles to take to the mulch pile.  Where the pine predominates, I’ll have to ask the wife.  Generally these go in several areas to use as ground cover.  When enough cover has been accumulated to suit her, the remainder is generally placed at the base of a number of azalea bushes on the edges of the yard.  Any excess above this joins with the oak leaves in the mulch pile.  Some people call their mulch piles compost piles.  For some reason, my dad called ours a mulch pile.  Which is why, I guess, I call ours a mulch pile.  Mulch or compost, it all goes in the garden in the spring.  I like to point out to anyone who might listen that we were organic before organic was cool.   My apologies to C&W fans who might want them.  In any case, with the Harley gone it’s time to stop huntin’ and peckin’ and get back to the rakin’ and proceed with the pilin’ up and the haulin’.   That’s actually how I say ‘em.  It’s just as easy to type the “g’s” though.

Moving leaf piles can really be getting down and dirty.  The smell is usually good (to me, anyway) though there can be a bit of dust.  The temptation is to overload the old blanket and end up with a burden that borders on back breaking.  Usually just one of these suffices to mellow out the remaining loads.  In any case, that’s how it goes with me.  Once the leaves or needles reach their destined spots the job is done, for a few weeks or so, until the leaves again require a repeat performance.  Of course this will be a welcome task, though the weather may or may not be as perfect as it was today.  It will probably be cooler.  The grass will probably not be as green.  And my neighbor may or may not be as noisy. 

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