Thursday, November 30, 2006

The autumn leaves....

The down side of having an half acre of aging trees for a yard, besides the fact that major limbs crash to the ground in every rainstorm, is what to do with the leaves in the fall. I'm telling you folks, they were ankle deep out there and I was feeling guilty about it. In the last week every one of my neighbors, except for the mysterious actor next door who rarely comes out of the house, had cleared their yards. Well of course, every time the wind blows my leaves were moving onto their lovely clean lawns.

They're very cool neighbors, nobody ever complains but you know, I still feel bad about it so I went out yesterday and scratched away for an hour or so until my back gave out. I barely made a dent in the yard. I mean I started at the road and you couldn't see it from the house. I figured it would take me till about May to get it done at that rate and I woke up this morning barely able to move from the exertion.

So I'm sitting here in my pjs and bathrobe this morning, thinking about what to do and I find an ad in the local weekly for someone who does leaves. I'm just thinking about calling the guy when I get a knock on my door. This is the magic of this place. There's a big black guy standing on my stoop and he says, "Hey Lady, you need some help with these leaves?"

"How much?" I said.

We take a little tour of the yard and he tells me it will be $150 bucks. I laughed and told him to go home. No way I can afford that. He hedged. He asks me how much I got to spend? I tell him my max is fifty bucks and tell him he doesn't have to take the leaves away. I just need them blown into a couple of piles in the back and down to the road in the front. He and his buddy conferred and took the job. They didn't do a great job, but it was good enough and it took them over two hours so I think it was fair price. And let me tell you, did I have a great bonfire this afternoon.

It was marginally windy and I would have liked to put it off but the weather is going to turn by tomorrow so I chanced it and lit that windrow up. It was a long and wide pile of leaves running the whole length of the yard. For a minute I thought one of the trees was going to catch when the wind turned but I managed to burn it out without burning down the neighborhood.

Man, do I love me a good fire. I started it at one end and let it burn to the other and at one point it was seeping into the dry thatch on the lawn but it was so hot I couldn't get anywhere near it. I wasn't that worried though. While I was tending it, the fire marshall drove by, followed shortly thereafter by the local constable. That bitch was smoking heavy at the time. I expect they saw it from the main road.

I was surprised that neither one stopped to holler at me. Up north, they would have hollered. You need a farookin permit in New England to burn leaves. Even if you live in the country. Meanwhile, my neighbors were thrilled. Every single person who drove by made a big point of waving.

Fifty bucks is still a lot of money for me this time of year. All my car stuff comes due and I'm still paying off an unexpected medical bill for some tests that weren't covered by my exorbitant insurance. It's going to cut into my beer money this month but it was worth it to get the job off my mind and restore my status in the hood. My only regret is that I forgot to bring out my camera and get some shots of it. I think that was the probably the biggest fire I ever lit on my own.


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