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Thursday, Dec. 18, 2014

So I won't need to rake those leaves?

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Yes, it is time.

With a hard freeze this week, it is time to rake leaves, cut back plants, clean and put away outdoor furniture and in general, batten down the collective hatches in preparation for winter.

The yard work of fall is a chore that some readily embrace while others hope for the right wind combination to make the leaves "someone else's" problem. You know who you are....

We planted two trees in our yard when we purchased our home in Le Mars. A linden tree has survived and continues to grow each year. After over a dozen years of growth, the tree actually has enough leaves for me to deal with. The lawnmower is my tool of choice, using it to mulch the leaves into the yard.

The home where I grew up had a massive linden tree in the front yard and several black walnut trees on the property line of one of our neighbors. The walnut trees were a constant bone of contention between my parents and the neighbors. The neighbors wanted to cut them down, my parents enjoyed the shade and tolerated the mess the walnuts would make each fall.

Raking linden leaves was fun. You could make piles that you could run and jump into. Raking walnut tree leaves and walnut remnants was quite a different matter. The leaves were smaller and the walnuts understandably heavier. There was no way that you would want to jump into this pile, unless you wanted some serious pain.

Back in those days, we could burn the leaves on the concrete gutter or the parking. There truly is nothing like the smell and heat of burning leaves on a crisp fall night.

I understand the need to limit open burning and it makes sense in larger communities to have one central burn pile that can be more easily contained and managed. But boy, did we have fun burning leaves as kids.

What if I told you there was a way to avoid ever dealing with leaves again? What if you never had to mulch or rake again? How would you feel if you could finally get rid of that old blanket or tarp you rake leaves onto to make it easier to lift them into your truck or the yard waste bin?

You would probably say I was crazy, and you might just be right.

Crazy like a fox.

According to news reports, Comet Elenin will make its closet approach to Earth this Sunday. Elenin, named after Leonid Elenin, the amateur astronomer that spotted it last December, has been rumored to be the "extinction" comet that will wipe out humanity when its gravitational pull slingshots by Sunday.

End of the world = no more raking leaves EVER AGAIN!

It's been all over the Internet, so you know it MUST be true.

Well, not quite.

Apparently, the comet was about two to three miles in diameter when it was discovered last winter. During its arc around the sun, it encountered a huge solar storm and now it is much, much smaller.

Elenin's apparent demise may come as a relief to some folks, since apocalyptic rumors circulating on the Internet portrayed the comet as a major threat to Earth.

One theory claimed Elenin would set off havoc on Earth after aligning with other heavenly bodies, spurring massive earthquakes and tsunamis. Another held that Elenin was not a comet at all, but in fact a rogue planet called Nibiru that would bring about the end times on Earth. After all, the comet's name could be taken as a spooky acronym: "Extinction-Level Event: Nibiru Is Nigh."

Astronomers say it will be more like a cloud of ice than an actual comet when it does pass by. Don't feel too sorry for Elenin, it will have 12,000 years to get its nucleus reformed before it passes by again.

So, I guess you will need to rake those leaves, after all.

As always, I welcome your comments. You can reach me by email at tstangl@lemarscomm.net, telephone 712-546-7031, x40 or toll free 1-800-728-0066 x40.

Thanks for reading, I'll keep in touch. Feel free to do the same.

By Tom Stangl
From the publisher's desk