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William C. Altreuter
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Monday, October 14, 2013

Of all the chores I hate (and I'll be honest here, I hate them all) perhaps the category I hate the most is yard work-- and the yard work that I find the most unpleasant is raking leaves. A. claims that gardening is one of her hobbies, but apparently leaf-raking isn't gardening, so it falls to me. It is a chore that cannot be deferred with any success, particularly in our backyard, which features a Black Walnut tree. Black Walnuts are, literally, poisonous. Their roots are toxic to the surrounding vegetation, and so too are their leaves. The leaves themselves are abundant, and decay into unrakeable mulch almost instantly. Fall in Buffalo consists of a brief period of pleasantly clement weather followed by a series of torrential rainstorms, then Halloween, then snow. Sometimes Halloween and snow are concurrent. What that means is that it is imperative to get the leaves raked, and keep them raked, even though the weather is so nice that there are a million other things to do that would be preferable to the worst chore of the worst type of chores. Hell, even watching a Bills game would be preferable. To add insult to the entire process, the damn trees continue dropping leaves right in front of you as you rake. Lawn mowing is no treat, but at least the grass doesn't immediately regenerate to ankle length. A raked yard is simply a new canvas for the Black Walnut and its pals, and they approach it with the same enthusiasm as a juvenile delinquent with a Sharpie approaches a factory-fresh subway car. Like King Canute I am powerless.

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