PHOTO: George Doyle/Stockbyte/ Thinkstock
October 11, 2011

At our place, leaves are raw product. We gather them up and run them through a shredder for mulching perennials before winter. The problem is, of course, that we can’t mulch until we’ve had a hard frost and the weather has turned cool, if not cold. When the leaves are falling in 70- and 80-degree weather like they are this year, we have to store the leaves for a week or two or three. If we shred them too soon, they tend to start heating up, and we’ll only have piles of ash to mulch with.

Stockpiling the leaves, instead of simply raking up a pile and shredding them, means having to move them. In the past, I’ve used my pickup, a cart behind the ATV and even a small tarp, depending on the distance to be moved. Of them all, I like the tarp the best. It is a minimalist approach … no fuel, no noise, no complications.

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There’s a lot to be said for keeping things simple. The tarp is easy to load, too, a lot easier than a cart or pickup box. Simply rake the leaves into place, grab two corners and pull it to the leaf pile. I used to use a smaller tarp, grab all four corners and throw it over my shoulder. This tarp is 12×16 and a bit heavy to throw over my shoulders when piled high with leaves. That’s how I discovered that simply pulling from one end is just as effective. When the corners are pulled together, the sides curl up around the leaves and every leaf stays where it belongs.

Life is good when it’s simple, and it doesn’t get any simpler than this.

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