Our backyard has an abundance of trees, which is both a blessing and a curse. In the summer, the leaves form a wonderful canopy to shield our yard during the hottest parts of the day. We look forward to winding down and spending time in our backyard and often refer to it as our own little oasis.

I sometimes think a little cabana would finish off the oasis effect nicely, but so far all we have is the shed that you can see in the picture below, which, although useful, isn’t really the same as a cabana. Although it is handy for when we want the pugs to run off some of their energy (“What’s behind the shed?!? Is there a squirrel behind the shed!?! GO GIT IT!!”)

(By the way, there’s almost never a squirrel behind the shed. But the pugs are ever hopeful.)

But while we sing the praises of our backyard all Summer, come Fall we’re humming a bit of a different tune. For a good six to eight weeks, that wonderful canopy rains down on our yard and covers it in an ocean of leaves. Sure, it’s very pretty to look at to start, but by the sixth week the raking, piling, and carting of leaves to the curb has worn out its welcome and we just want it to be over.

The pictures above were taken today. The pictures below were taken in the middle of October 2008 (the leaves fell a little early that year). The one on the left gives you a bit of a glimpse into how high our leaf piles get – and that’s only half the leaves, the other half are out of frame on the other side of our driveway. Please note that most of the trees still have their leaves at this point.

So, we clearly have a bit of a love/hate relationship with our trees. Beautiful shade all summer, weeks of back-breaking work in the Fall. Usually we try to split the work to save our backs (and sanity) but last year poor Charles had to rake all the leaves by himself, since Abby was just a few weeks old at the time and kind of attached to me 24/7. This year I figured that I could help a bit, but wasn’t sure how much we might be able to do with Abby around.

As it turns out, this year, I think we’re going to enjoy the fallen leaves a bit more.