So we have this tree in our front yard that I've nicknamed the Leafy Bastard. It's a silver maple and it is huge.
The plus side of having a huge silver maple in the front yard is that we have some lovely shade in the summer months, something we never had at our old, virtually shadeless house. The downsides of having a huge silver maple in the front yard include the helicopter seeds that come down in massive quantities for weeks and weeks in the spring, followed by a summer's worth of bird crap all over the driveway (and anything thereupon) and what has happened over the past month. The shedding of the leaves.
Now, having a virtually shadeless yard up until this point in our homeowning lives, we never had to deal with leaf collection and removal. The two ornamental pear trees and one tiny maple at our old house only shed a minimal amount of leaves that were easily mulched in with the lawnmower. Not so the Leafy Bastard.
A few weeks ago, I attempted to rake the seventy-six squillion leaves that LB had dropped all over the front yard.
My next door neighbor kindly lent me her gas-powered leaf blower, and I had a fair amount of fun blowing the leaves towards the front of the yard before raking them to the curb. The residual effect of not being able to feel my arms from the elbow down after leafblowing with such enthusiasm for over an hour was a small price to pay. "Hey, leaf removal isn't so bad!" I thought to myself. Kiddo definitely thinks it is a grand, old time.
So, happy with the leaf containment I had achieved, I congratulated myself heartily on a job well done. Then I woke up and looked out the window the next day. Leafy Bastard had decided to mock my earnest efforts by dumping another seventy-six squillion leaves on the front yard. I'd have thought I dreamed the entire leaf-removing experience except that my ginormous pile was still there at the curb and the blisters were still all over my hands. (Yes, I wore gloves. I shudder to think what my hands would've looked like if I hadn't.)
It wound up taking four full leaf blowing/raking events over a three week period to get the majority of the leaves to the curb. Leafy Bastard. If you think I am being unduly harsh to ole LB, let me tell you this. It turns out that leaves are a serious allergen for my poor,beleaguered eyeballs. All that leaf work culminated in my eyelids swelling to the size of golf balls and my eyes feeling as though they were being stabbed by red hot pokers, along with my vision degrading to the point that I felt like I was seeing the world through heavily Vaselined lenses. I would've taken a picture to show you, but my eyes were getting really sensitive to the light too and I didn't want to kill them with the flash.
After a few days of worsening eye problems, I took myself over to the eye doctor to get 'em checked out. Sure enough, the icky eye disease I dealt with two years ago, GPC, had reoccured, and I also have some SPK going on, and the combination of the two has made a hot mess of corneal badness. (Google the abbreviations if you must, but do so at your own risk because they're both really icky.) For the record, things you don't want to hear while at the eye doctor include "Wow, it looks like someone took sandpaper to your corneas!" and a general sucking in of breath in horror as he gazes in the other side of the machine you're holding your eyes up to for examination. Now I'm back on eye steroid and antibiotic drops and off of my contacts while my corneas heal.
At least this gets me off of leaf-removal duty for the rest of the year. Did I mention we have another huge, leafy silver maple in our back yard?