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  • Writer's pictureNic

Let’s begin with the end…of the summer.

So  we begin, but let’s not be too ridiculous, who has time to read what others write these days?  Words are cheap, this blog is, in fact, free, which is cheaper than cheap.  Yet we write on… I love the autumn and all the changes that it brings.  My birthday is in the late fall and that could be by why fall feels so magical.  It could be the new “school year” effect, or the shifting weather from hot to cool, it doesn’t matter.  I just long for October from May onward. Now it’s here and for a few brief weeks I can be hot in the sun, cool in the shade, and glory in the colors of the leaves as the spiral down onto my lawn. Trees and their leaves are super-cool.  Think about it, can you absorb carbon dioxide and cool a city block with the moisture you exhale?  Have you ever sat in one place for a hundred years or more?  Can you act as a windbreak for your  home? I didn’t think so (and for the record neither can I) but for me the real riches come now in the fall.  Leaves are a gold mine if you compost they make some of the richest compost you can find. I rake mine up and stuff them into 2′ diameter cylinders of vinyl coated wire mesh  1″x2″, I just hook these to my fence and there they sit all winter.  I then alternate layers of leaves and kitchen scraps in my (extra cheap and easy) compost bin, and when I need fresh fun for my chickens, I throw an armful in.  I also fill contractor bags with leaves (5-15 of them) on really dry days and then store them under my deck.  I seal them twist ties, so that when the chicken run gets mucky and nasty after a week of rain I can put in dry crunchy leaves.   Last year I shredded leaves to fill my tiny 18 inch by 10 foot garden.  This past spring the plants grew like mad.  Thriving in a rich brown soil made of kitchen scraps and leaves converted by an army of oversized nightcrawlers that had moved into the garden. I try to make at least one huge pile for my kids and the neighborhood kids to jump in, hours of free fun right there.  Leaves also make beautiful garlands if you gather a big pile and thread them onto wool or cotton yarn, they dry and curl and form a nice bushy garland that, when you are done with it, is biodegradable!  Now, I am not forgetting the pleasure of pressing and ironing leaves in wax paper (which by the by are also biodegradable when your done-so off to the compost they go) but, it is the fact, that we spend way too much time disposing of our leaves and then driving out to Home Depot in the spring to buy potting soil and topsoil.  A little cylinder of wire doesn’t take up much space and think of all the pretty dirt you can be making. I threw my last stubborn, clotted mat of leaves from last year, out the bottom of my wire cylinder and into the chicken coop to make room for my first raking of leaves on Friday.  Our chickens are not too smart, but after they determined the leaves wouldn’t eat them, they got busy.  They scratched the leaves apart, ate the bugs and other goodies hiding inside, and are now happily sprawled out.  Where can you buy fun like that for your citified chickens?  Especially since they can’t free range.  We have at least one, if not more, huge redtail hawks, that live on the ridge right above us.  They  insist on flying down the alley behind our house checking out the really big “pigeons” we have  in the coop and run?  So while the kids can frolic free, the chickens have to play it safe. The leaves, they just get coralled and then doled out for the rest of the year.  Who would of thought that money could grow on trees? But it does (check out the price of organic potting soil at the Depot or Lowes) then make your own using all that green falling from the trees. #gallery-1-1 { margin: auto; } #gallery-1-1 .gallery-item { float: left; margin-top: 10px; text-align: center; width: 50%; } #gallery-1-1 img { border: 2px solid #cfcfcf; } #gallery-1-1 .gallery-caption { margin-left: 0; } /* see gallery_shortcode() in wp-includes/media.php */

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