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Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Leaves: Leave Me Alone

There are many reasons we chose Yuma, Arizona, to be our home: warm Winters, 360+ days of sunshine, low humidity, no mosquitoes, and a supposedly maintenance free yard. Some people attempt to grow grass, others plant oleanders, bougainvilleas, and other non-native shrubs. They plant both native and non-native trees. Some make their yards look like a tropical jungle, filled with flowering plants, trees and shrubs. We, however, have taken maintenance free to an extreme. We have plants that require almost no pruning or trimming. Our total landscaping package consists of three golden barrel cactus and three agave plants. That's it! No bushes, shrubs or trees. We decorate with unique rocks and ceramic pots instead.

My front yard

So, how is it that EVERY day, I am outside filling up bags with leaves? It is Summer, not Fall, there shouldn't be ANY leaves in my yard, and yet, every morning and evening it's the same: leaves, leaves and more leaves.

This is just a weeks worth of leaves

The answer is simple: Wind and Winter Visitors. 

Most of my neighbors are only here from October until April and while they are here, they meticulously take care of their yards. They trim their bushes and vacuum up the leaves. During those months, the wind blows from the North; away from my home.

But after they leave for the Summer, the wind changes and blows in from the South. All the leaves from their shrubs, bushes, plants and trees, which grow like crazy while they are gone, end up being carried by the wind to the Northeast corner of our subdivision and right into my front yard.

Where all the leaves come from

So, every morning and evening, I go out and pick up leaves. I am lucky that they tend to collect in the gas and water line access cut-outs in the concrete and in the corner by the wall. 

I always wear thick gloves when picking up these leaves. Why? Well, first of all, some of the leaves have thorns, but the main reason is... 

you never know what might be hiding in the leaves! 

I should be furious, but I am not. I've been picking up leaves at least twice a day for a couple of months now and have noticed that my ability to bend over, to get back up from squatting, and my balance has improved. 

Does that mean I enjoy picking up everyone else's yard trash? NO! 

It just means I've found a silver lining in an otherwise unpleasant task if you live in Yuma, Arizona, year round.