Noting a few red leaves in my backyard, I had mixed emotions. Although I loved to gaze at the distance hills ablaze with autumn colors, I’d rather not think about the flood of autumn leaves that will soon be falling all over our yard. But with a few suggestions, raking leaves doesn’t have to be a dreaded task.
How can you make raking leaves more enjoyable? Here are a few suggestions…
Wait to rake, but not too long—When we lived in Connecticut I was tempted to get a head start when I first noted leaves falling to the ground in early October. However, after seven autumns living in New England, I discovered it’s better to not jump in and rake the first time leaves fall. Instead, wait a few days. Then start raking a few piles. It’s best to wait until your grass has stopped growing before raking the majority of your leaves. If you start too early, you’ll be creating more work for yourself than necessary, especially on those windy autumn days when all your piles blow all over your yard as if you hadn’t raked at all. On the other hand, don’t wait too long, as your job could be overwhelming if you do it all in one day.
Enlist help—-If you have children old enough to help out, make it a family project. For those less than enthusiastic kids, promise them a night out with a movie and pizza if they do a good job (without complaining.) Or, if you don’t have children to help you, advertise that you’ll gladly pay some energetic teenagers in your neighborhood for their help. Most teens are more than happy to earn some extra spending money for all their fall activities. What’s more, it’s not too early for them to start saving for their Christmas giving.
Watch your back—-As you rake, be careful not to twist your back. Instead, shift your weight by using your legs.
Wear sturdy, comfortable shoes-–Be sure to wear shoes with skid-resistant soles as you don’t want to fall while raking.
Wear gloves-–I learned the hard way. After getting blisters on my hands the first autumn we lived in New England, I now make sure my hands are protected from the constant pressure of my rake.
Pace yourself-–If you need a break, take one. Let’s face it. You’re not going to finish in one session.
Turn on the radio-–As fall is the season for football, why not listen to your favorite team as you get your work done? Or, just listen to some music and dance as you rake. Who cares what the neighbors think? They may just copy you when they rake their own leaves.
Make reasonably-sized piles—-Instead of making huge piles, make them about the size of two full trash bags. Then take out a garbage can and deposit them. Or if your city picks up leaves on certain days, just rake the piles to your front yard swale.
Make compost piles—When you begin raking, first rake toward the back of your yard where you have a vegetable garden. This way you can create a compost pile, making mulch and fertilizer when spring rolls around. When raking, combine summer flowers that have fallen on the ground.
Count your calories—If you rake leaves for 20-25 minutes and weigh between 120 and 150 pounds, you can burn roughly 100 calories. If you weigh more than 150 pounds you burn even more calories. So, if you’re trying to lose weight, this should be an added incentive.
You can probably think of some more tips and bonuses of raking leaves. Just remember—it doesn’t have to be a dreaded chore. As with any task, it’s all in your attitude. When the leaves start to pile up in your yard, just pick up that rake and get started.