Friday, November 6, 2009

On Greed

I don't consider myself a greedy person. When my husband asked me what computer I'm going to buy, I said I'd just take his hand me down when he gets his new one. My current computer is six years old. It freezes up occasionally when I have too many images open in my photo editing software. But I don't need a new computer. A hand me down is perfect. I want for very little.

But this last week I've been getting flashes of greed. I see gold. Gold leaves that is. They carpet my neighbors' lawns. Yesterday was the piece de resistance. As I was leaving my neighborhood, I saw a pile of leaves as high as I was. It was about 25' long. My jaw just dropped. I wanted that pile. I dreamt of leaf mold. I've never had enough leaves for leaf mold before. I've only collected enough for compost for the next year. This year I didn't even have enough and resorted to shredding newspapers. Greed is not something I feel very often, but I did want that pile. Sadly I was stymied since I couldn't figure out a way to drag it to my back yard.

I have been busy collecting leaves on a more modest scale. All my leaves get mowed up and put in my bin. My neighbor was busy raking and he gave me his leaves. Then I've started collecting leaves from Lexington. My town doesn't have trash pickup, so no one bags their leaves and puts them by their curb, but just a few blocks away is a town that does. Last week I stopped and peeked into some brown compostable bags by the curb, but all I found was branches. It as a bit too early. This weekend however we had a nice wind storm. Most of my leaves are off the trees already. So I figured I was safe trying again. Score! Most people still haven't raked (or they use a service), but there was one person that had a bunch already bagged up. I picked up seven bags worth.

I took them out of their bags and mowed them up. Mowing chops them up and makes them compost faster. I put them all in my bins.

Right now my bins are full, but they will pack down some more. I'll keep collecting leaves. The bin on the left partially behind the tree is about 7' around and three feet high. The square bin on the right (behind the tree and tools) is my old potato bin and holds a cubic yard. The black bin to the back is one of my compost bins all ready to be spread.

It is a sad season for me. Greed has taken hold and I've turned into a bag lady. I'm sure my family is shaking their head sadly at me and wondering what will become of me.


  1. Ha!!! We're right there with you, Daphne!!! We're always desperately looking for that rare bag of leaves or grass clippings set at the curb. You haven't lived until you've been trapped in the car with a bag of decomposing grass clippings on a hot day. Eeeewww!!! Loved your woodland shot, by the way.

  2. I experience leaf greed every fall. It's not bad thing. Give in to greed! Compost! Mulch! Everywhere!

  3. I'm right there with you Daphne! My neighbors know of my greediness and help me out quite a bit. With all the wind we've had the past 2 weeks, all the trees have given up the gold. Its a wonderful thing.

  4. It is a sad season for me. Greed has taken hold and I've turned into a bag lady. I'm sure my family is shaking their head sadly at me and wondering what will become of me.

    Haha! That was funny stuff! I think you should find some way to get that big pile to your house.

  5. If I wasn't so far away, I'd be more than happy to give you half of mine, Daphne !

    Grab all you can. You go (bag lady) girl !

  6. That reminds me -- I'm going to use my computer to facilitate my greed and post to Freecycle for leaves.

    This greed is good, I believe. The bag lady thing is just sad, though. I'll save some fingerless gloves for you.

  7. Hi Daphne, join the bag leaf lady club !! my allotment is on a housing estate and I go raking the leaves into bags all the time. I get the funniest remarks and comments from non-gardeners who think I am on a mission to do the local councils job of clearing up the estate of fallen leaves. Last years collection is now a super big bag of lovelyness ( well to a gardener anyway !!)it's black gold.

  8. It's hard not to have leaf greed! Especially since it all compacts down once mowed, and especially if the stuff is already bagged and just enticing you to steal it! We have a leaf vacuum service provided by the city, so if I wanted to steal, I'd have to show up on someone's curb with my own trash can and rake. Luckily we live under a few maples that provide all the leaves I have room for. You've got a huge bin! That leaf mold/compost will be great next year!

  9. If the only form of greed was "leaf greed" the world would be a much happier place!

  10. It seems that you are in very good company! If I had easy access to bags of leaves I would join you. There's lots of Live Oak trees on my property and I compost those, but they're so tough that I takes about 2 years. I'm hoping some quality home produced chicken poop will speed up the process this year.

  11. our friend Ben, ack. I've never collected grass clippings. Between my grass, and green waste from my husband's company (coffee grounds and the occasional veggie matter from the cook) I always have enough. So I've never had the honor of smelling decomposing grass clippings.

    Dave, Isn't greed one of the seven deadly sins? Somehow I think leaf greed would be forgiven.

    The Mom, I think the coming Monday will have a lot of nice leaves by the curb. The weather is going to be nice and we have had a bit more wind.

    EG, I wish. I'd have to find a way to contain the huge thing. Another leaf bin would work.

    Miss M, Oh I'd take them. I'll be out again next Monday looking for more.

    Stefaneener, I hadn't even thought of that. I'm sure you'd get lots of people saying it is all yours for the raking. Oh I've been wanting some of those fingerless gloves ;>

    Kate and Crew, :>

    Maureen, I get some strange looks from people when I pick up bags too. They can't imagine what I'm going to do with them, but so far no one as accosted me and asked why I'm stealing leaves.

    Wendy, I just wish the bags were labeled. Some people mow up their leaves and bag it, some rake. It would be so nice to get the premowed leaves. I could dump them right into the bins.

    Jackie, it would indeed, but couldn't you imagine the leaf wars we would get. You would have to defend your leaf pile with your pitchfork so someone wouldn't make off with it.

    Michelle, I have oak too. Shredding the leaves first is really important if you want them to break down quickly. Unshredded oak leaves take forever. The front yard is maple though. They decompose so quickly.

  12. I can think of worse kinds of greed to have. Seriously! We put out most of our leaves but my husband takes some for the compost. I do have bin envy, your operation looks so neat and tidy!

  13. For weeks I have been gazing at leaf covered lawns on my way to work with envy. We of all people understand your "bag lady" tendencies this time of year.

    BTW, I have “hammered” you for the Honest Scrap Award. Please visit here for the details. I completely understand if you chose not to participate in this sort of thing. I just want you to know that I enjoy reading your blog.

  14. Sadly, we leave before the leaves fall so I don't even get to stare with envy. I do, however, have a wonderful neighbor who bags her leaves and tosses them over the fence for me. All I have to do is dump them out on the spring grass and mow them to add chopped leaves and clippings to my compost.

  15. I have the biggest grin on my face reading this post...we are driving an hour north tomorrow for the sole purpose of bagging up leaves at our cabin so I can have them for the garden. We even had to borrow a trailer because I'm hoping for a haul! Greedy is a good thing sometimes, Kim

  16. Sally, I love using the wire mesh to do compost. The leaf piles blend into the woods and I can more them around and add to them really easily. I do need to replace the mesh sometime soon though. It is a couple decades old and starting to rust.

    GrafixMuse, Thanks for the honor, if I have time I'll respond to your award on Sunday. Don't count on it though since it is supposed to be a nice day :>

    Annie's Granny, that is a very nice neighbor. Most of mine use services for their lawns. The neighbor that gave me his leaves is doing his own for the first time in years. He has three boys that are all big enough to help this year so they were working on it (and grumbling the whole time - reminds me of me when I was a kid).

    the inadvertent farmer, I've never thought of the "owning more than one place" strategy for collecting leaves. I bet that works pretty well.

  17. Ooooooh, that's a relief! I am not the only person sneeking around to find some gorgeous piles of leaves! I haven't admitted it to anyone, but I drove to the other side of town last week, the upmarket area in the forest. Lots of big piles of leaves outside gates, waiting to be collected .....
    I glanced over my shoulder, quickly filled 7 bags and sped off. Hmmm, that's pretty sad, isn't it?

  18. Leaves... oh I wish we had some, but we're surrounded by pine trees and olives!

  19. I also have leaf envy. My dad just gave us 9 bags of shredded leaves, they went right on the beds for the winter.

    I work at a federal facility that has 14 huge mature sycamores, 7 huge mature oaks, and probably 4 dozen other trees in various stages of growth. I asked this year what they did with all the leaves they vaccum up.

    "Oh, we just pile them all at the back of the property....year after year...."

    OMG. Can you imagine? I'm going to ask if I can pick some up this year.

  20. Jody, Oh my gosh, can you imagine the soil back there. I want a shovel ;>