Last weekend, N-son and I did our first raking of the season, and so I got to break out our lawn tarps again.
When I was growing up and raking leaves with my dad and sisters, we always raked leaves this way:
- rake the leaves from all over the yard into one or two giant piles in the middle of that section of our yard,
- stuff as many leaves as we could into a giant plastic or metal trash can (one sister was in charge of jumping up and down in the trash can to help pack as many leaves in as possible),
- haul that heavy trash can around to the back of the house where the compost pile was,
- dump out the trash can, banging it a bunch to get all the leaves we'd compacted into the bottom out of the can;
- repeat steps 2, 3, and 4 until that section of the lawn was clean.
It wasn't horrid work, but it wasn't easy, either.
And so now I don't know why the heck we never used tarps back then. (An old shower curtain, or an old sheet, also works great for this). A tarp is so much easier to use at every step of this process.
- Put the tarp right next to the leaves you want to rake, so you don't have to keep re-raking those leaves across the yard to a pile; the pile is right there where you're raking. Move the tarp along with you as you go. You never have to move the leaves more than 2 or 3 feet with the rake.
- Raking leaves onto a tarp that is on the ground is a lot easier than picking the leaves up and trying to stuff them all in a can. And no need to try to pack them down, either. (Sorry, jumping sister!)
- Folding up the corners of the tarp creates a "bag" that you can carry over your shoulder or even drag along the ground to wherever you want to take them. Not as heavy or unwieldy as a trash can!
- Dumping out the leaves is as easy as letting go of one set of corners and shaking out the tarp.
- You might have to make more trips than with a trash can, especially if your tarp is small, but the rest of the process is so much easier; so who cares?
Raking leaves is still a bunch of exercise and effort, but because I remember the hard work we all did as kids without these, I was just all smiles when we got out the tarp this past weekend.