Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Do NOT Rake Your Leaves!

It’s always fun to read Mayor Dave Cieslewicz’s blog on the city website. He is a very talented writer (yes, I have confirmed that he does his own writing) and has a great sense of humor. A few days ago he posted a rant about how the “higher authorities within his household” (that’s gotta be you, Diane) had issued a decree that the leaf-raking be done.

As it is in my home, prime leaf-raking time would fall during periods allocated for other activities, such as watching important football games on TV (as it is in the Mayor’s home) or taking a nap (apparently, also as it is in the Mayor’s home). However, I haven’t raked leaves in nearly a decade. And, I didn’t know it, but now no less an earth-friendly maven than City Recycling Coordinator George Dreckmann has absolved me (and Mayor Cieslewicz) from any angst associated with not raking leaves.

I take my giant lawn tractor out of the shed, set the mowing deck down about a half-inch off the ground, and mow the leaves to death. I wasn’t really aware of it, but this is called “mulching” in environmental circles, and is apparently beneficial to the grass.

I’ve done it since 2001 essentially because I’m lazy, and mowing the leaves to smithereens with my giant lawn tractor gives me a sense of power. Now, I’ve learned that I’m being friendly to the environment by being lazy in this manner, and I’m OK with that.

I don’t live in the city of Madison, but in sort of a no-man’s-land in the Township of Madison, which, I’m told, will some day in the mythical political future be annexed into the city. I wanted us to be annexed into Fitchburg, because now with long-time friend Jay Allen holding the Mayor’s office there, I could constantly browbeat and annoy my old pal Jay with bogus complaints about “wasting my property tax money.”

I’m acquainted personally, though not as well, with Mayor Cieslewicz. I never fired him, which I did to Jay in the far distant past. But, as usual, I digress.

Dreckmann says the City of Madison disposes of around 16 thousand tons of leaves every year, at a cost of 1.1 million dollars. Mayor Cieslewicz suggests that given the benefits of mow-mulching, including saving money and fossil fuel, we should feel no guilt about not raking. My giant lawn tractor is, I’m sure, much more fuel-efficient than a Town of Madison dump truck, so I’ll be doing my part to save the planet again this fall.

Particularly when the Badgers play Iowa Saturday afternoon.


  1. Thank you, Tim. You have saved my weekend(s).

  2. By the way....

    Cover your mulched lawn with Milorganite around Hallowe'en. Milorganite speeds the decomposition of the leaf material AND fertilizes.

    Usual late fall dose is a two-fer: north-south and east-west. The stuff cannot burn the lawn and you'll have to purchase sheep in spring to keep up with the lawn's growth.

    Meaning lamb-chops for dinner in summer!