Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Leaves are Falling, and Backs are Hurting

For a few weeks now, I have seen the impending signs of leaves falling from the trees very soon. I LOVE seeing leaves turn colors and how they change the bright green landscape of your yard to a more cozy fall theme. But, never fail, every year the joy of these leaves is shorter and shorter lived as we grow older and realize those "beautiful leaves" must be dealt with and disposed of.

I have many mature trees on my property, and probably average a total of 100 lawn bags a year from weeds, pruning trees, grass clippings, and leaves. Of those 100, 60-70 are just fall leaves. I'll think of someone else before me, poor garbage man having to move 20 bags a week into the truck! Although the picture of the home depot bags isn't from me, it is a pretty accurate depiction of what I have each fall.

Now, on to me, poor me...and my poor back! Raking leaves takes its toll on your body. I usually get blisters on my hands, scratches on my hands and arms, and a very achy back from raking and bending over. So, as with my yearly summer experiences with poision ivy, my rivalry of fall is raking leaves.

I think with a few years experience under my belt, and a clear head BEFORE the chore is ready to be complete, I have some tips for others who need to make this as quick and pain free as possible.

My theory is close to that of Jairica's "If you see a chore that needs done and can be done in less than a minute then do it now, don't wait". With leaves, they become heavier and harder to rake the longer they sit on your lawn. This is especially true if it rains or you mow your yard. Mowing leaves makes it look better temporarily, but just makes small leave bits get down further into your grass and require more vigorous raking in the long run.

If you rake smaller amounts of leaves (say twice a week) you won't have as much to pick up at once and they will be floating over the grass rather than getting stuck in it. If you can help it, rake before it rains. However, many times it is rain that motivates the leaves to fall from the trees.

Another tip for raking is to get an extension to add to your rake handle. It is the back's equivalent to lumbar support in a chair. If you get this handle extension, you are able to maintain better back posture and not bend over as drastically. It works for shoveling, mopping, sweeping and raking.

In addition to using an ergonomic type extender or handle, I suggest using lawn bags from Sam's club. The price is cheaper, and the bags are slightly bigger than most. This large bag only applies to leaves which are bulky but not heavy. If you are digging up sod, I would get smaller bags!

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