Autumnal Synonymy (in the rain)

A brief bit of wet, nearly wintry whimsy — just to get something posted today.

Later, I forget to include the back yard in my concluding observation. Plenty of leaves here…

We raked leaves yesterday. For the fifth time.

The two ashes in the front had dropped all of their foliage earlier, following the poplar near the northwest corner of our (back) yard which began the frondy relinquishment this year. The cascade began about mid-September: the city, predictably, will begin its leaf pick-up program November 5, just about six weeks too late. And those industrious city workers are going endure the wetness of November breaking (we hope) the drought of 2012.

I had raked three times on my own and another afternoon (mostly in back, but not solely) with My Belovedʼs assistance. I waited until perhaps September 25th to begin raking, letting a goodly supply of autumnal color litter the lawn (and I mowed up the first scatterings at least twice previously). With less effort than I had recalled feeling the chore had required last fall, I worked a long, large pile of brown, yellow and orange botanical refuse to the curbside (carefully, per our cityʼs guidance/regulations, keeping the pile on our grass) up the western side of the house and from the front yard itself. Then I raked up the eastern side, creating a separate pile on the eastern corner of our lot, beside the driveway. I did the whole procedure again, along with cleaning out the gutters (again), about a week later, and raked some more another time almost immediately thereafter.

Then all the ashes that the developer planted a decade ago, as our mandatory (but slow-maturing) “natural barrier,” having grown to some useful and (by this summer) lovely height, shed their loads of bright red foliage, and our rear region (thanks to northerly winds that had kept our front cleared for weeks longer than recently usual*) needed work again. On a Saturday, I remember, The Lovely One and I created two heaps of leaves on each side of the back yard.

The continuing rainfalls is stripping our maple in front of its remaining foliage…

The following Monday I raked once more and increased both the piles behind our home and the big, long, high heaps barricading our property from the street in front. And then I figured I had better get some of that cleared (plenty of our anterior leaves had been blown around the area and into the gutter). I had heard it was supposed to rain the next day.

So I lifted, hurled, regathered and packed truckbeds full of leaves. Eight times, scattering the autumnal abundance clatteringly around the streets of Our Town as I drove (carefully and generally slowly, yet profligate in my sharing of our arboreal excrescence) the 2.1 miles to the city yard waste site and back home for more leaves. The ninth time, I had just a little stack in the street from the major front accumulation and the renewed heap on the eastern edge of the driveway, plus those new(ish) piles in the back. The rain was predicted to arrive, but I was wearying that day and only loaded the two mounds in front for the final haul.

And then the rains fell, pretty well daily, sogging the chill jumbles of rotting leaves behind the house, between that day and this past Saturday… and the maples, front and western side, began to spill their no-longer-green verdure in damp clusters of faded umber flaxen. Our neighbor to the west took advantage of a drizzleless afternoon on Friday to mow his lawn (and thereby vanish their acquisitions from our mostly barren trees), so when the downpours ceased Saturday morning and didnʼt return on Sunday, She Who Must and I got busy with our yard, too (unfortunately not getting so far as a now-necessary final mowing for this season), raking anew and delivering (from both our front and back) another three truckloads of leaves to the brimming grounds of the city waste site.

As thunderstorms darken today (deeply) and drench all unsheltered throughout the Midwest, I observe that only the maple in front retains any leaves (and large ones those). But with precipitation predicted for much of the upcoming fortnight, I wonder when (or if) Iʼll accomplish that much needed, terminal manicuring of our grass…

…and the bushes in back have yet to shed most of their currently dampened autumnal glory…

* In olden days, before we lost the meadow (and the cows) to our north to commercial development on a concrete barren, when our trees were smaller than they have flourished to tower, I remember barely raking ever in the autumn — our neighborhood cursed, I guess, with our propertyʼs then-lesser spillage of defoliation rather than us. Nowadays, the winds seem more often from the south, meaning that all winter we get brown rags of oak leaves silting over the snow (not to mention the batches of those leaves I rake up before the white flakes fly).

©2012 John Randolph Burrow, Magickal Monkey Enterprises, Ltd, S.A.


Technology Frustration Intermezzo

As I predicted, My Beloved had plenty in mind for our Sunday together.

First, I had purchased a ten-pound turkey* on sale at Aldi** some many months ago, and having gotten the notion to get it out repeatedly too late*** over the summer, we finally agreed to enjoy turkey (and then days of leftovers) this past weekend. (I got the turkey from the freezer and placed it in a cheapo aluminum roasting pan in our beer fridge in the basement on Monday; sometime Saturday morning, She-Who-Must declared it had thawed enough for Sunday dinner.) So we spent a god amount of time on Sunday prepping the bird, making stuffing and boiling-then-smashing some redskin potatoes**** (to be honest, almost all that work was performed by The Lovely One, her own plan; she even made gravy from the pan drippings once we removed the beautifully browned turkey from the oven for its twenty-minute delay before cutting and consumption, as I mashed the potatoes).

Second, it is autumn: the leaves are falling (and falling and falling and falling and blowing around and falling and covering the neighborhood and falling… ). So, as she cleaned up some twice-frosted outdoor plants, I got started on my second raking effort of 2012. And once again She-Who-Must insisted on joining in, even holding the ladder as I blew out the gutters (and thus getting herself buried in leaf grit and black decomposed vegetative matter, probably worse than I usually do to myself atop the ladder). Three hours outdoors in the afternoon, as I pondered the futility of our merely human efforts to dominate Ole Mother Nature*****, while she was dropping leaves almost as fast as we could rake them up (the yard needs a raking again today) even though the two largest trees were fairly bare.

Then back inside to finish preparing the meal (now about 4:30, and we determined the turkey could still use another thirty minutes). And it was wonderful!

The only burr under our (autumnally necessary) blankets was Sunday football.


Why is it that football games can not conclude at the proper time? Admittedly, I donʼt give the proverbial rodentʼs tushie about the clearly most boring sport to feature gargantuan fat guys running as little as possible and taking breaks every thirty seconds. So I donʼt understand why 60 Minutes (and for My Beloved, even more importantly The Good Wife) must always start, through the chilling weeks of the “new season,” no less than thirty minutes late every week!******

Okay, creepy-pale blue (not exactly turquoise), although their purty panties sure looked that effeminate on our TV

Fortunately, yesterday, we had only to endure thirty minutes of excess tedium as one team (in turquoise trousers, nonetheless) failed to score a single point against its purple-clad opponents*******, who had led by something like 23 to 7 right through the tedious final ever-extended, commercial-riddled fourteen minutes of “play.”

However, we watched (botched, “joined-already-in-progress,” and interrupted — thanks to Fox football) Simpsons Treehouse of Terror and then the wifeʼs weekly highlight of Chicago lawyerly shenanigans.

And then to bed. And us to an end, already over 750 words.

Probably back to Technological Frustrations (2) tomorrow… (You may want to review before the mandatory reading comprehension quiz.)

* actually 10.14 lbs.

** Actually, it was two such turkeys (The Lovely One says theres a lot of my dad in me: he used to shop at the Warehouse Market and bring home whole flats of canned goods, the deals were too good to ignore), so we still have one to go, buried in the depths of our freezer.

*** As I have been repeatedly instructed, it takes days to defrost a turkey, so, no, I donʼt get to just pull one out on Thursday or Friday for Saturday-night dinner. Thus my excessively late inspirations had to be suspended until I took the effort to truly plan ahead.

**** She wanted to have the full autumnal turkey experience this time.

***** “I rake only to rake again (and again and again… ), only to end that job for snow shoveling (again and again and… ), only to have spring rescue us from snow in order to begin to mow. And no matter what, nature wins in the end when my failing frame falters into death.”

****** And moreover, as NBC is an even worse offender, why I must miss the Sunday local weather, when the Nefarious Blubbercasting Conglomerate always runs its Sunday Night BoredomFest hours past ten oʼclock Central. Oh for the glorious (however short-lived these days) End of Season!

******* And I furthermore utterly fail to perceive whatʼs supposedly manly about this wimpʼs game… Purple and turquoise? Seriously? Americans only love our own perverted version of football because of the big (fake) point total on touchdown, pretending somehow that real football is dull (nonstop action) with only a single point per (generally well defended) goal…

©2012 John Randolph Burrow, Magickal Monkey Enterprises, Ltd, S.A.