Rake at the ready …

    We use calendars not only to track appointments but to remember other things, like children’s sleepovers and the first snow. So Saturday’s square has YARD WORK! written on it.

    The aforementioned children thought I was insane. I was so, so, so happy to be able to rake the yard.

    Understand today is not a raking day. Raking does not happen in the cold. It does not happen in the wet.

    Strangely, this makes much of fall largely unsuitable for raking.

    OK, OK, what actually makes much of fall unsuitable for raking is that it hits in “back to” time: back to school, back to Scouts, back to hockey, and first the evenings fill, then the weekends. By the time things settle down a bit, well, it’s cold and wet and once again I have doomed my yard to a winter blanket of wet leaves.

    Where does this all lead? By Saturday I was itching to get out and clear off the brown-gray, dried-together ick that had been packing down for four months. There was no dancing, but definite giddiness.

    I raked behind the house, around the patio furniture that remained out all winter. I raked my unpaved driveway, with the scads of tiny twigs that came down in the high winds. I raked the iris beds, the birdbath area, beneath the maple tree.

    Then came time to tackle the chainlink fence that separates our yard from the neighbors. This drew the interest of the neighbor’s dog, who was fine when I raked under nearby plants, or even a foot from the fence. Then I touched His Fence.

    Barking ensued. I again offered my hand for sniffing, then bent back to my task, tossing in periodic “What a good boy” reassurances.

    There was no threatening, no growling, but muchmuch barking. The Fence! Someone is touching The Fence!

    The dog looked toward his house. The People! Why were The People not coming? He had something important to tell them about The Fence!

    Finally came putting the front paws on top of The Fence. I decided that while the dog seemed nice enough, I probably was no match for a golden Lab if things turned, so I took the rake elsewhere.

    Now things are as I guessed they would be: The job is partly done, with piles of dead leaves scattered about the yard, and it is too cold for my yard work standards.

    But like I said, I have children.

    This post originally appeared on ourMidland.com, the online home of the Midland (MI) Daily News. Republished with permission.

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