Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Winter leaves

During our first autumn here in our new home, I was delighted to be tasked with the job of raking leaves. Deciduous trees are so rare in the inland northwest that raking leaves was a fun novelty.

I looked forward to doing the same thing this past fall, but we had an early snowstorm before the trees lost the majority of their leaves.

We had something of a January thaw, however, and I didn't want to leave the wet compressed leaves on the grass until spring. So, in the temporary absence of snow, I gathered up a rake and pitchfork and got busy.

It was a multi-day process. Some days were fairly warm (highs in the high 30s), others were cold and the leaves were frozen to the ground.

Before and after:

One sections of the yard took longer to rake because it was in the shade of the shed, and got no sunlight. The leaves stayed frozen to the grass.

I tossed any random sticks I found into the fire pit...

...which Mr. Darcy would promptly raid.

Gradually the chore was accomplished.

The yard certainly looks improved.

Side yard, before and after:

Right now the leaf bin is filled to overflowing and it's too close to the house, but that's okay. It's just a temporary structure until we get the chicken yard built, at which point these leaves will become the foundation for our chicken yard compost pile.

We have snow moving in this weekend as well as bitterly cold temps (well below 0F), so I'm glad to get this chore buttoned up before that.

Raking leaves in January. Who'da thunk?


  1. Which weather site do you use? I like the detail on it. Thanks!

    1. I use -- usually defaulted to the 10-day forecast.

      - Patrice

  2. Just think of the great workout session you got without the need of going to a gym, or running your fool head off down a road to nowhere😁. I’m surprised no one has started an offshoot of CrossFit, called “FarmFit”. Several times a day groups of people go to a farm, work so hard they puke, come back the next day, and pay the farmer for the privilege of doing it.

  3. Great job!
    Raking is one of the chores that renders my hands useless. So I default to my mulching push mower with a bag. It still hurts but if I take it easy and don't aim for a schedule it works out well. I've been out pushing the mower and bagging leaves and straw all :winter", and have quite a few bags !

    I plan on creating some raised beds in the yard and between the leaves, sticks and branches that blow down and are also getting saved, and compost, think there's enough free material for a good start. I also have a lot of huge pots I keep tossing worms in, and they're pretty much black clay from worm poop, and that needs paring down and refreshing with maybe peat or more coconut hulls. Also use plain cardboard. Have tried veggie scraps but tiny flies and aphids seem to get in there too so that just goes to the compost pile.
    But I may put some of that black gold in the raised beds too.
    I don't envy you the cold, but it has one great benefit. It kills off a lot of insects. If we don't get some real cold weather down here, pine beetles get out of hand and destroy a lot of timber.

    Looking forward to hearing about your new chickens when you get them! They are going to be lucky chickens judging from your preparations!

  4. Looks great! Living in the north east, I tend to take for granted all the raking I have to do. One thing you may want to look into is what type of critters winter under those leaves. A couple years ago, I learned that some beneficial insects cocoon and/or winter under the debris, so I try now to wait in the spring to move what leaves are left to allow things to wake up so I don’t accidentally kill them with the frosty nights. There is, however, a definite satisfaction in seeing an area cleaned up, though. Enjoy your trees!! I love your posts.