Craving fall weather comes more naturally when we're blistering in the kind of heat waves we've experienced in the summer of 2022.

As I write this, we have temperatures in the 80s and the humidity is at a decent level for Kentucky. But don't let that fool you...I WANT FALL. The crispness in the air. The flavors (NOT pumpkin spice--a story for another day). The smell of burning leaves.

Hmmm. Maybe I should stop right there.

Yes, I do love the smell of burning leaves. I love BURNING them. But that does require RAKING them. No, I'm not lazy, but raking leaves is a pain in the butt, and I've always wanted to be able to snap my fingers and make them disappear.

But that wouldn't be good, either, and here's why.


Unless you really just cannot stand the sight of leaves covering your yard, it's actually much better that you leave them alone. And it's nice to know there are multiple sources who confirm that that particular task should go by the wayside. One such source says that leaves make perfect mulch. I've never heard that before, but it makes a lot of sense.


And if you enjoy the pitter patter of little feet--I mean, LITTLE BITTY feet--leaving those leaves alone, so to speak, creates shelter for a variety of creatures, according to the National Wildlife Federation.

The agency's David Mizejewski offers further details about the benefits of leaving the rake in the shed:

<p>Leaves form a natural mulch that helps suppress weeds and fertilizes the soil as it breaks down. Why spend money on mulch and fertilizer when you can make your own? Turning leaves into solid waste is, well, wasteful.</p><p>Removing leaves also eliminates vital wildlife habitat. Critters ranging from turtles and toads to songbirds, mammals and invertebrates rely on leaf litter for food, shelter and nesting material. Many moth and butterfly caterpillars overwinter in fallen leaves before emerging in spring.</p>


The Grumpy Gardener also chimes in and suggests mowing, instead of raking, in order to compost.

Finally, there's MY reason.


I'll be honest, I just really like the LOOK of leaves covering a yard in the fall. For me, it's natural decor. And since we live right next to a grove of trees, that foliage combines with what's on the ground to become something quite picturesque.

That's right. I'll put out a couple of pumpkins, some gourds, and maybe one of those folk-art scarecrows, and they'll be naturally framed.

I love the fall. It's the best time of the year. And if I'm getting green lights from every direction about NOT raking, that is fine by me.

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