Bill KirbyOnline news editor for The Augusta Chronicle.

Price of autumn sights is hard work

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Autumn wins you best by this its mute appeal to sympathy for its decay.

– Robert Browning

Long-sleeve shirt?


Work gloves?





“On the kitchen counter with a small glass of water, ready for this afternoon,” says my wife, and I am out the door ready to roll.

So it is with autumn and leaves.

No season makes you pay so soon for sights so grand.

The past few weeks have been the best: clear, blue skies, low-angled sun and all those golds and reds and oranges and purples.

Just beautiful.

It’s everywhere and we even have a photo gallery on our newspaper Web site ( where you can post your own photos and look at those of others.

But what grows up, must come down.

I had one beautiful poplar in the back yard that seemed to turn a brilliant yellow before all its neighbors.

That was last week.

This week, the tree is bare and its yellow leaves are scattered across the lawn, thick and not so golden.

That’s the other thing about autumn leaves -- they look best on the tree. Leaves lose something when they leave.

I know. Years ago I took a business trip to Aspen, Colo., in late September and brought back a small yellow aspen leaf as a souvenir. Months later I came across the leaf pressed in a notebook. It was brittle, brown and dull.

So are most of them on the ground, so we rake, and rake.

And rake some more.

All while using the seldom-challenged raking muscle group of arms and shoulders.

Sometimes, in the past, I have bagged my leaves and let someone take them away.

These days, I pack them into a large trash-can on wheels and haul/roll/drag them to the back of the back yard and pile them against the bottom of the fence, where winter and spring will eventually reduce them to mulch.

When the task is done, I will go inside, take the pain-killer then review my handiwork.

New leaves, I see, are quickly replacing the old.

It happens every fall.

TODAY’S JOKE: Here’s one from Everett Fernandez.

A religious cowboy lost his favorite Bible while he was mending fences out on the range. Three weeks later a cow walked up to him carrying the Bible in its mouth.

The cowboy couldn’t believe his eyes.

He took the precious book out of the cow’s mouth, raised his eyes heavenward and exclaimed, “It’s a miracle!”

Not really,” said the cow. “Your name is written inside the cover.”

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Connor Threlkeld
Connor Threlkeld 11/17/11 - 08:53 pm
I spent two years living in

I spent two years living in Rhode Island growing up, and in the fall, we spent our weekends raking leaves. Most of our neighbors had a place to pile theirs, but we didn't have a good place, so we bagged them and took them to the dump. We took out more than 400 of the large paper lawn bags each year. We realized it was out of control when the folks at the dump got to know us by name. Beautiful place, but I think the leaves are what drove my family back to the South.

TheGeorgian 11/17/11 - 10:08 pm
God and lawn care: God said:

God and lawn care:

God said: "Frank, you know all about gardens and nature. What in the world
is going on down there on the planet? What happened to the dandelions,
violets, milkweeds and stuff I started eons ago? I had a perfect
no-maintenance garden plan. Those plants grow in any type of soil, withstand
drought and multiply with abandon. The nectar from the long-lasting blossoms
attracts butterflies, honey bees and flocks of songbirds. I expected to see
a vast garden of colors by now. But, all I see are these green rectangles."

It's the tribes that settled there, Lord. The Suburbanites. They started
calling your flowers 'weeds' and went to great lengths to kill them and
replace them with grass.

Grass? But, it's so boring. It's not colorful. It doesn't attract
butterflies, birds and bees; only grubs and sod worms. It's sensitive to
temperatures. Do these Suburbanites really want all that grass growing

Apparently so, Lord. They go to great pains to grow it and keep it
green.. They begin each spring by fertilizing grass and poisoning any other
plant that crops up in the lawn.

The spring rains and warm weather probably make grass grow really fast.
That must make the Suburbanites happy.

Apparently not, Lord. As soon as it grows a little, they cut it-sometimes
twice a week.

They cut it? Do they then bale it like hay?

Not exactly, Lord. Most of them rake it up and put it in bags.

They bag it? Why? Is it a cash crop? Do they sell it?

No, Sir, just the opposite. They pay to throw it away.

Now, let me get this straight. They fertilize grass so it will grow. And,
when it does grow, they cut it off and pay to throw it away?

Yes, Sir.

These Suburbanites must be relieved in the summer when we cut back on the
rain and turn up the heat. That surely slows the growth and saves them a lot
of work.

You aren't going to believe this, Lord. When the grass stops growing so
fast, they drag out hoses and pay more money to water it, so they can
continue to mow it and pay to get rid of it.

What nonsense. At least they kept some of the trees. That was a sheer
stroke of genius, if I do say so myself. The trees grow leaves in the spring
to provide beauty and shade in the summer. In the autumn, they fall to the
ground and form a natural blanket to keep moisture in the soil and protect
the trees and bushes. It's a natural cycle of life.

You better sit down, Lord. The Suburbanites have drawn a new circle. As
soon as the leaves fall, they rake them into great piles and pay to have
them hauled away.

No!? What do they do to protect the shrub and tree roots in the winter to
keep the soil moist and loose?

After throwing away the leaves, they go out and buy something which they
call mulch. They haul it home and spread it around in place of the leaves.

And where do they get this mulch?

They cut down trees and grind them up to make the mulch.

Enough! I don't want to think about this anymore. St. Catherine, you're
in charge of the arts. What movie have you scheduled for us tonight?

'Dumb and Dumber', Lord. It's a story about....


Never mind, I think I just heard the whole story from St. Francis

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