The Last Cut

Finally

Have you ever had to mow your lawn in a snowstorm? Do you keep a heavy quilt on your lawnmower in late fall? Have you ever had a mix of leaves, grass, and snow in your grass-catcher? If so, you probably live in Pure Michigan.

This November, Mother Nature threw us a huge curveball and dumped 7” of snow on the Metro Detroit area on Veterans Day. I’ve been trying to catch up with my yard work ever since. Normally, our fall weather routine is pretty well-established. Leaves change color from mid-September to early-October, then a screaming rainstorm strips them off the trees by early November. Shortly thereafter, that colorful carpet is collected and bagged up for the garbage man. There’s only one problem with that scenario, this year it never happened.

Instead, the leaves just kept hangin’ on. They finally started to drop in mid-November, only to be buried under half a foot of snow. After all the white stuff melted, the leaves still on the branches had turned brown and hung on even harder. Here we are in December, and some trees still have a full inventory of leaves remaining to drop. Both of my trees out front finally gave up their clingers after a wild windstorm. Once the grass dried up, I was ready to polish off the remaining grass and leaves. Then I could concentrate on getting my Christmas decorating in gear.

When the day came for the last cut, it was a crisp 34 degrees. I had my lawnmower under a quilt, warming it up for a quick start. I have a locust tree in my front yard that deposits millions of teeny-tiny leaves and twigs. They would kill my lawn if not sucked up by my mower. The front yard was done quickly. Before tackling the backyard, I took a quick break for lunch. 

There was snow in the forecast, and as I fired up my mower, a snowflake drifted past my nose. Ruh-roh! I got mowing as fast as I could, all the while listening to Bing Crosby crooning White Christmas. The grass was thick from weeks of rain and snow, so it made for slow going. In addition to all the leaves in the yard, I had to look out for biological hazards. Since we lost our crazy dog, we have been frequently visited by treacherous raccoons. Because they are unable to open our garbage cans, they choose to take their revenge by using our backyard as a litter box. So I have to keep an eye out for their land mines as well. Little bastards!

I finished up the backyard without too much snow in the grass-catcher or coming across any Raccoon IEDs. As I stored away my mower, I smiled. Knowing full well that I wouldn’t have to break out that sucker until mid-April. There’s a certain satisfaction you get once the last cut has been completed and all the leaves and grass have been bagged up and dragged down to the curb. It’s an exhilarating feeling, when you realize that your weekends now belong to you for the next four months. So enjoy it while you can fellow yard warriors. Before you know it, that lawn will need to be cut again. But for now, there’s nothing to do but relax and watch the snow. Enjoy.     

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Not So Fast, Fat Man!

There’s Plenty of Time Left for Fall

Have you found that November usually sucks? Are you fond of 45 degrees and sideways rain? Nope, me neither. That’s why I grow a beard at this time of year. Usually, after Halloween, we get hit with a shrieking wind/rain storm that rips the remaining leaves off the trees. Then the trees are bare until snow coats them in December. However, this year has been a little different. I had predicted an early leaf-fall, but it turns out I was 100% wrong. For whatever reason, the leaves are hanging on for dear life this year. It could have been all the rain we received this spring and summer. Whatever the reason, it has resulted in a fabulous November.

It’s no secret that most of the time, we leapfrog over late fall in anticipation of a certain jolly fat man coming to town. This is especially true this season since we recently got hit with over 8 inches of snow in the Detroit area. However, this year seemed to be an exception to the leapfrog rule. I witnessed a beautiful sunrise the other day before the blizzard hit. It was followed by a display of dancing leaves that rivaled any snowstorm. I can’t remember when I’ve seen such a beautiful fall spectacle.

School kids chatted happily, as they ran through a tornado of swirling leaves. Suburban chauffeurs dropped off their precious cargo, then raced off leaving a tsunami of golden leaves in their wake. Since the leaves are still hanging on for dear life, it has resulted in a late fall display that many of us have not seen in this area for many years. So even though it looks more like a winter wonderland out there right now, this season still has plenty of fall splendor to reveal. So hop back in your sleigh fat man. We’re not quite ready for you yet!

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