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— I thought springtime and summer were my busiest months, with gardening, canning and yard work. But I’ve decided fall is the hardest. This year our oldest son came home from California for a few months. It’s been wonderful having Dan to do the hard work. He’s cleaned the gutters twice by climbing up on the roof and blowing them clean of leaves with the leaf blower.

The last time my husband Jerry cleaned the gutters he said, “I just hoped I wouldn’t fall off the roof.” I hoped so too. I stayed inside so I wouldn’t have to watch this dangerous chore. He has no business climbing around on the roof, even if it isn’t real tall. We’ve hired neighbor boys a few times to do the task but sometimes it has to be done two or three times a year.

Another chore Dan helped with was raking all those leaves off our yard. One time I counted and we had 50 oak trees; we don’t still have that many but we have a bunch. And I think the leaves were the thickest they’ve ever been this year. Though Jerry and I have a system to clear off leaves, it’s still a major job. I rake the leaves into rows and Jerry pushes them off with the tractor. This year Dan used the blower and it made my job easier. Yet, it’s hard work for this couple who is getting older by the minute.

At least we didn’t have acorns this fall. I wonder why? Some years the nuts got as big as golf balls and there were so many I had to shovel them in a wheelbarrow or the front loader of Jerry’s tractor. This year there are none.

One year my brother and his wife came for a fewweeks in autumn. They lived in their mobile home under our trees. They were delayed leaving because of a huge ice storm. Later I mentioned to my sister how noisy it must have been with the ice melting off the trees and falling on their roof. She said it was nothing compared to the acorns falling all the time.

For some reason I don’t remember leaves having to be raked when I was a kid on our farm west of Gravette. Maybe because our trees were mostly elm or the trees had smaller leaves than the giant oak.Our house set on a hill and we probably just let any leaves that fell blow off naturally. We were busy picking up walnuts during those seasons, hulling off the green outsides by running over them in the driveway, then taking the nuts to be sold. Likely at the walnut plant at Gravette. Itdid a thriving business in the fall. We kept a few to crack for Christmas candy.

I told Dan I hoped he came home this time each year to help. In addition to leaves, he’s chopped wood. We don’t still burn wood in the house but Jerry has a stove in his shed and likes to go down there and “work” on cold days. The wood fire feels pretty good and I like to put my feet up in front of it to warm them.

Each season has its chores. At least in the winter months we can stay inside and keep warm. Our radiant heater in the family room is quite toasty. When it snows (rarely) or we have an ice storm we talk about how grateful we are not to have to get out in it and go to work. We can just sit inside and enjoy the weather. I work on jigsaw puzzles or read. I don’t dread winter

News, Pages 4 on 12/09/2009

Print Headline: But Now It’s Leaves and Gutters

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