The right tools for a fight

Occasionally, I go on a tear and feel the need to be productive. Usually my yard is the target of my zeal.

Earlier this summer I took it upon myself to rake our backyard. We have two rather large pin oaks that shade most of the yard. They also shed their leaves year ’round. These little leaves take for-stinkin’-ever to pick up. The chore should be a family effort, but typically it’s all mine.

For whatever reason – I know there was a reason, and a good one at that, but for the life of me can’t remember what it was – I didn’t bag up my piles of leaves. I say there had to be a good reason, because we have curbside pick up of lawn waste and I could have been done and over it months ago.



This week, I finally had enough and decided to clear the yard of what looked like mutant mole trails. During the ensuing months, where once these piles could have easily been gathered with rakes, they have since devolved into nicely composted mounds of rich dirt and fat earth worms.

A rake just wouldn’t do. The silt kept falling through the tines.

So… a shovel was necessary. Keeping under the lovely shade of the offending oak trees, I meandered around the yard, shoveling leaf compost into a wheelbarrow and transporting it to the Mother of all Compost Piles in the far southwest corner of our yard.

As the sun moved, so did I. Florida sunshine will sap all life-sustaining energy very quickly and like an overweight, out of breath vampire, I avoided the light where I could. It came to a point where I could no longer stay hidden.

I moved my efforts to the side yard, which was still bathed in comforting shade from the neighbor’s trees and our security fence. Where the piles in the center of the yard were easy to excavate, the side yard proved to be more of a challenge.

Whether it was fingerling roots from the adjacent trees, or spontaneous generation of plant life from the rotting leaves, I couldn’t simply scoop them up. Tiny roots had mingled with the leaves and twigs, meshing them together into a musty carpet of debris.

I tried to cut these seemingly indestructible tendrils with the blade of my spade but… *see my previous adjective… they were seemingly indestructible.

Through a method of trial and error, using whatever I could find with a thin edge (FYI – a putty trowel does have a thin blade, but is far to flexible to take on Mother Nature), I was able to fight my way through the roots for a short distance. Once the ties to the earth were cut, I could simply roll up the leaves like a carpet.

Darkness and fatigue forced me to stop for the day, but I was determined to find a better – and more effective – way to clear the leaves.

The next morning I visited our friendly neighborhood home improvement store. I asked the nice man in the apron if there was such a thing as a sod knife. Seemed like there should be such a tool, but alas, I was mistaken. Luckily for me, there is another like-minded yard rat who asked the same question of the garden guy about a year ago. He directed me to the flooring department, where I found a deliciously wicked looking knife.

I am now armed with a blade that I can effectively use on the possessive roots holding down my leaf carpet.

Watch out Mother Nature, I will cut a bitch.

3 thoughts on “The right tools for a fight

  1. Scary knife! this: “like an overweight, out of breath vampire, I avoided the light where I could”… such a hilarious and awesome description of my mode of operation while doing outdoor chores!


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