Wednesday, October 28, 2015

Leave the Leaves

Beautiful Fall on Forsythia Hill.
Chestnuts roasting on an open fire... Beautiful Fall colors... Cozy beside a roaring wood stove... Warm homemade Apple Pie topped with a luscious ball of Vanilla Ice Cream. Fall activities that makes the loss of Spring Daffodils and Summer flowers not so bad. Six months of no roaring lawn mowers and whirling string trimmers.

Jethro = Leaf disposal system
But wait, my senses are elevated only to be snuffed out by the roar of leaf blowers, more lawn mowing, and fumes from leaf burning. Unfortunately mechanical devices have turned a moment of convening with nature into one of hurry and frustration. Mainly I leave the leaves, but rake some into flowerbeds, the chicken yard, or add to the compost pile. Chickens like nothing better than to peck and scratch in a big pile of fresh crunchy leaves.

Underground Burn Pit that I get to see and smell.
Apparently leaf burning is a contagious endeavor as it seems once one neighbor is doing it, others get in on it. Heaven forbid should a leaf be allowed to drop without its prompt removal. I love the sound of leaves beneath my feet and the free fertilizer. If we allow nature to tend to the leaves, our planet will behave as it is intended. Read about the natural cycle from Trees for Life.

This fire was left to burn all night. 
I can get away from the noise but burning yard waste is another matter all together. Closing all windows and doors is not enough protection from the stench. It's perfectly legal in Albemarle County to burn yard waste (and even though it is listed as illegal, the fire dept said burning construction material was fine as long as not painted or treated wood). Unlimited sized Burn Pits are also legal in this county.

Clear blue sky, what our lungs need.
Fires are problematic when they are left to burn overnight allowing smoke to linger. An unmanned simmering fire is the worst fire, releasing toxins over a long period. One would think our county to be more progressive by not permitting the burning of leaves that can add such benefit to nature. Instead we are harming nature and causing a nuisance.

How much pollution is a little leaf burning contributing? Read it here... a lot. There is an interesting site that shows the air quality live. The second most significant form of biomass burning in the US is the burning of leaves. Burning a ton of leaves will produce 117 pounds of carbon monoxide, 41 pounds of particulates (easily absorbed by the lungs), and at least 7 highly carcinogenic polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons ( Battelle, Friedman).

Little Spring Crocus happy in the leaves.
If you can't stand leaving the leaves for nature, you can mulch the leaves with your racket maker, mowing them into smaller pieces that will decompose literally before your eyes or ditch the mower and get a workout, raking like a mad man, spreading the leaves all around so they decompose faster.


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