November 25, 2013

Are you keeping your leaves and, if so, have you shifted into bullying your neighbors who still put their leaves out to the curb for pickup?

We keep our leaves (and even take in some neighbors' leaves), and Meade has a composting process that takes a form I like to call an art installation. I've shown photographs of the various stages. Here's how it looked 9 days ago:

Untitled

Anyway, we don't go around shaming the neighbors who dump their leaves at the curb for city pickup, which costs tax money and involves a lot of truck driving that's harmful to the environment, although if they read my blog they might feel a little bad about it.

But this NYT article — "Rake the Leaves? Some Towns Say Mow Them" — ends with an anecdote about a lady who's gone into shaming mode:
In northern Westchester, Fiona Mitchell of Bedford is a mulching convert... And she has become something of a proselytizer for the practice among her neighbors and those in other towns.

“I’m afraid I’m becoming a bit of a mulching police,” she said. “My friends call out, ‘I’m mulching, I’m mulching,’ when I walk by their houses.”
The boldfacing is mine, to explain the tag I'm putting on this post: religion substitutes. That's a tag that frequently goes along with another one of my tags: environmentalism. I once wrote an exam for my Religion and the Constitution class that had a school district arguably violating the Establishment Clause with its environmentalism rituals and recitations.

33 comments:

betamax3000 said...

I don't think mulch about it.

David said...

Burn the suckers. For me it's a religious rite.

Bob Boyd said...

Mulch ado about nothing.

betamax3000 said...

Religion Substitutes often contain spiritual Oleo. This is why such writing often resembles anal leakage.

Original Mike said...

I got the "eyeroll" from a passer by when I was taking leaves (and, mainly, garden waste) to the curb a week ago. I guessed this was what it was about.

The more they disapprove, the more I'm going to do it. I'm getting really tired of busy-bodies.

betamax3000 said...

Would've been funnier with stray capitalizations. Possibly; maybe not.

Bob Boyd said...

You know its become a substitute religion when you respond to an anal leakage by dashing to your compost heap.

mrs. e said...

I'm willing to look into the mulching blade attachment, but I'm guessing that OM's shaming response is more typical.

Insufficiently Sensitive said...

Bravo with the religion substitutes! Urban sophisticates with their 'community' rituals, enforced by oh-so-superior peer pressures, are as good at playing holier-than-thou as any of the insufferable Christians that Mark Twain used to roast.

EDH said...

Combined with the snow on top, won't those leaves kill the grass lawn beneath?

Original Mike said...

"Combined with the snow on top, won't those leaves kill the grass lawn beneath?"

It's not good for it. But the busy bodies disapprove of grass, too.

Fritz said...

If only we had so few leaves...

MomRunningFromCancer said...

This was the first year that we mulched all of our leaves with our mower. In the fall, our lawn didn't "look" as nice as our neighbor's lawns since they regularly rake. Ours instead had lots of chopped up leaves across the lawn - but we figure by spring, they will be gone.

MadisonMan said...

It's not good for it. But the busy bodies disapprove of grass, too.

I'm doing my best to get rid of grass, as I don't like to mow (That's a good thing, right, since I'm not running a lawn mower?). So my garden grows.

But then I can't mow my leaves in the Fall -- because the leaves are in the garden -- and would have to rake for their pick-up by the city. Which path is the greener path? So many things to worry about.

Brennan said...

My municipality collects the leaves and dumps them in the cities' compost dump. They have their own operation where they sell the compost.

Yes, we plebs pay for the brown bags.

I actually want to get the city out of this business as their are private composting companies that will pay your for leaves, grass clippings, and paper products.

It is a substitute for religion. On the sabbath, thou shall raketh and mulch.

EMD said...

We put ours out. I imagine they do to the dump with the rest of the garbage (even though the official line is that they are separated).

But then again, it's organic material which will naturally break down even at the dump.

So what's the big deal?

Original Mike said...

I've removed almost the entire back yard in favor of garden. But that actually makes for more waste to get rid of.

YoungHegelian said...

Left out of the mulching discussion is that a fully grown oak tree produces 750,000 leaves. If you have multiple mature trees in a small area (like we do), you will soon have nothing but inches of leaf mulch and nothing else in your yard. Also, trees like oaks use chemical warfare to limit the competing plants around them, so their leaves are toxic to many other plant species. If you want to grow anything else in your yard, you need to choose carefully or get rid of the oak leaves.

Our county sucks them up from the curb & mulches them at the dump. Matter of fact, I hear them working their way up the hill now.

Original Mike said...

Personally, I think Meade just likes to play with the dogs more than he likes yard work.

rhhardin said...

I rake them around the base of the tree responsible, keeping clear of the trunk though.

It's annoying to scythe under branches, and the leaves kill the grass.

Original Mike said...

"If you have multiple mature trees in a small area (like we do), you will soon have nothing but inches of leaf mulch and nothing else in your yard."

Yep, I can't mow them in.

rhhardin said...

"The last returns are a mess. All the doors of the polling booths bang open and shut. Into the bin! Into the bin! Nature shreds her manuscripts, demolishes her library, furiously knocks down her final fruits."

Francis Ponge, The End of Autumn

Original Mike said...

We took down a large, old honey locust last year. Broke my heart, but it had to happen.

That tree put out massive amounts of the large brown pods. Try mowing those. Each year I hauled many tens of 55-gallon bags of pods to the street.

lemondog said...

Tough to mulch living in the city with tree-lined street with little in the way of a backyard.

I have a neighbor who becomes incensed when leaves are not..... immediately swept up.

Relax ok? Leaves look nice when first on the ground and are blowing around. And, yes, time to pick them up when they get slippery and grungy.

jacksonjay said...

Our small city warns about the problems created by blowing the leaves into the street. Clogged storm drains and flooded streets! Does that stop jackholes from blowing their leaves into the street? NO! Don't blow yo leaves into the streets!

I mow every couple of weeks as they fall. Great for the lawn.

Conserve Liberty said...

My city charges $37 monthly for waste removal. Waste removal includes:

. Single-stream container recycling of almost everything
. 100 ea. 30 gal HD plastic bags / year
. 50 gal. / week of bagged waste. We compress "dirty" waste and barely use a bag a week
. 5 "Brown Bags" / week of yard waste (recyled at city facility). Extras are $7.50 per bag, but they never seem to charge
. 4 passes of curbside leaf vacuuming / season (recycled at city facility)
. Ongoing maintenance of city-owned, public recycling center used by residents of nearby communities.

We've done this for 40 years (the single-stream thing is new) and manage to make enough money selling the recycled materials to pay for 60% of the Collection budget. The $37 is the balance.

No one is a zealot in my community. Every community could do this if only they would try. We actually had to begin hosting fee workshops to meet the demand for information - there were too many requests for tours and site visits to get regular work done around them.

Curious George said...

Rake 'em to the street here is Tosa. They have a cool Bobcat type vehicle that has a leaf pushing cage. They push them right into a truck. No conflict that I know of. In fact because the leaf piles take up a good part of the street it promotes cooperation between drivers at the bottlenecks...it's actually quite nice.

JRoberts said...

I'm no "tree hugger" and I certainly have my doubts about global warming/climate change. However, I do believe we should each be good stewards of what we have and where we live.

I think most able-bodied people would be willing to do a better job of disposing/composting/recycling if communities would stop the mandates and instead reduce the barriers and provide clearer information without condescension or bullying.

SomeoneHasToSayIt said...

Anyone who voted for Obama should probably work on restraining themselves from criticizing others, for anything.

Especially something as trivial as leaves.

southcentralpa said...

Next up ... the Neo-Darwinists!

hombre said...

"... for city pickup, which costs tax money ...."

The city provides trash pickup in Madison. Incredible!

I haven't lived anywhere in thirty years where that was true.

JoyD said...

We composted some and raked some to the curb. Though we have many huge trees, it was an easy job for two on a gorgeous weekend. I was so grateful that I did NOT hear any SILLY leaf blowers buzzing and whining.

I liked betamax and bob boyd's puns. I come here for a little fun, sometimes.

Kirk Parker said...

"I think Meade just likes to play with the dogs more than he likes yard work."


Well, you just can't get a higher recommendation of character than that!