Sunday, November 2, 2008

the leaf people

Our neighborhood is a place full of giant old trees: elms and big leaf maples, oaks and walnuts and sweet gums, chestnuts and birches and alders (oh my!). Along with all these big, wonderful old trees come huge amounts of leaves.

It's fall, and certain sounds dictate a call to action around here. The sounds of heavy equipment and the buzzing whine of tractor tires zipping over wet pavement makes everybody jump.

The city sends out a battalion of huge dump trucks, water trucks, street sweepers, and tractors outfitted with scoops to pick up the leaves. They're supposed to just be here to take care of the leaves that fall naturally into the streets and clog the sewers, and causing a dangerously slippery surface when wet.

Supposedly, the individual homeowners are responsible for raking and bagging the leaves that fall on their property and the sidewalk. However, when everyone hears the leaf people coming, the phone trees start lighting up from block to block, passing along the message: "they're coming!" Thus begins the mad Sunday morning dash to rake all the leaves into the street before they get to your block.

While people scramble to move their cars, the scoopers zoom down the street, pushing the leaves into giant piles in the intersections.

The dump trucks move in and wait for the scoops to come back and fill them with leaves.

Before long, the water trucks and the street sweepers blow by, scrubbing up the remnants.

Just another quiet Sunday morning in Oregon...


g said...

How funny!! Rake it into the street so the city picks it up. I guess it works. Does the city compost greenwaste? (In Orgeon, I'm sure!)

In Seattle, where we used to live, I was quite devoted to composting. but here in dry arid southern California, yardwaste doesn't really compost well in a home composter, because everything is too dry. Plus, my leaves tend to be those nasty dry brittle little coastal live oak leaves - not fun to rake. or jump into the piles.

We let the oak leaves stay as duff under the oaks, as nature intended.

but we don't get that nice crumbly compost.

such beautiful photos of lovely fall deciduous autumn trees!

Suz @ Alive in Wonderland said...

This was a really good post! I had no idea things like this happen. Living in California, we just get a few leaves, that we cuddle with and cherish as our only clue fall has arrived.