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Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Confessions of a "leaf-raking slacker"

   They say that confession is good for the soul.  So today I have to confess that I have never seen the point in raking leaves.  Somehow taking organic material like leaves and putting them in plastic bags that don't decompose seems like an non-environmental way to address removing leaves from your yard.


     As an aside why hasn't environmentally sensitive Howard County come up with a more environment way of disposing of leaf waste than our present disposal method of putting our leaves in plastic bags for pick up?  I assume that they are not dumped in our landfill but what do they do with all the plastic bags?


    My hometown in Pennsylvania has trucks that suck up the leaves that have been raked to the curb and then mulched for providing the town residents free organic decomposted mulch in the Spring.
   When we first moved into our lovely treed lot many years ago I found out that if you wait long enough the leaves would mostly blow away to some other place (like my neighbors yards).  My wife always said that there seemed to be no yard work that I couldn't find a reason to avoid.  She didn't buy my "environmentally sensitive" excuse.  Unfortunately getting two dogs meant fencing our yard and providing a barrier to my convenient "excuse" for not raking the leaves.  My next solution was to buy a mulching lawn mower and leaving some of the mulched leaves on the yard.


Piling most of the mulched leaves in a pile in our backyard makes for easy work of this chore.


   This solution doesn't leave a perfectly clean yard but what is left does seem small enough to find its way out of our fenced yard (sorry neighbors)!

P.S.
   The U of MD Cooperative Extension in partnership with the Howard County Master Gardeners have a "Rake and Take" program that will take your leaves to be used on community gardens.  For info call Pat Hooker at 410-489-4319.

P.S.1
     Like most couples my chores tend to be the outside chores and my wife's chores (minus cooking) tend to be the inside chores.  I don't have any idea how our washer and dryer work and she wouldn't know how to start the lawnmower.  This annual ritual of slacking on leaf raking always leads to a "discussion" with my wife about the division of our household chores.  She would prefer that our yard look more like our perfectly manicured, well maintained neighbor yards and I point out to her the harm of fertilizing and watering yards to get them to look that way.  She then points out that if she did her inside chores the way I do my outside chores our house would be one that we would be ashamed to have anyone enter.  Thinking this over I have to admit that it is a good thing that I am the only "environmentally-sensitive" person in this household.

P.S.2
  Speaking of my hometown, one of the things I miss about Fall is the smell of burning leaves.  This is how we disposed of leaves way back when.  It was a pleasant smell that foretold of colder weather, football games, apple cider and pumpkins.

6 comments:

Dan said...

I think having a truck come by is an awesome idea. The county does give free paper bags for yard trim, they gave me six yesterday.

Annie Rie said...

Howard County does recycle yard waste. They prefer paper bags, but take plastic.

They won't allow plastic at the landfill drop off. If you take plastic there, you have to unbag, which we do.

Usually our yard waste, in clear plastic is picked up by our rake and take partner, then dumped in appropriate ratios, grass vs leaves, on their composting piles.

The county has a very good program providing grass cycling for compost, and also brush recycling for mulch.

duanestclair said...
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duanestclair said...

I called Environmental Services at DPW and they said they take the plastic bags out at the site that they recycle the lawn waste.

Annie Rie said...

Interesting that they say that. It hasn't been our experience.There are signs that say. o plastic bags at the yard waste dump.

There is also usually someone in a massive piece of equipment that will drive over and yell at you if you bring leaves or grass in bags.

We always use lightweight clear bags and we cut them open, dump the clippings and take the bags with us.

We only go up there when our rake and take partner is unavailable for an extended time, or when we have large amounts of tree limbs.

West county does not get yard waste pick up. We have to go to Alpha Ridge.

www.HowardCountyRecycles.org said...

Plastic bags are not allowed at the Yard Trim drop off area at the landfill. However, because the composting facility at the landfill uses material that is collected from residences, plastic bags are permitted there.

The County encourages everyone to use paper bags or reusable containers for yard trim.