Getting to Job 1

As I have described in previous posts, I’ve spent a lot of time raking and weeding at the Old Library. Throughout that period, I’ve raked the same areas multiple times; sometimes I’m convinced I’m actually raking the same leaves over and over again. The problem is the magnolia trees. They have been molting for months, so there is a constant new supply of leaves, and the leaves are so large and volatile that it is very difficult to contain them: pile them up and they blow right back where they came from!

For that reason, I had been studiously ignoring the sidewalk that leads from Magnolia Avenue up to the library building. The photos below, from Google Street View, show the Magnolia side of the property in July 2019, before Hurricane Sally, with an arrow pointing to the sidewalk.

I had cleared this walk at least once already, but it had once again become buried in magnolia leaves. On June 4, however, it was sprinkling when I left the house and continued raining just long enough to soak me and all the vegetation, and, as I worked in a clearing east of the sidewalk, it occurred to me that this would be a good time, while the magnolia leaves were wet, to rake that sidewalk.

I had the best of intentions, of course, but, as usual, I got sidetracked. It seemed pointless to rake the sidewalk and ignore the grassy areas on either side of it (previously cleared but now cluttered with leaves again). When I started work on those areas, naturally one thing led to another, and I kept working farther and farther back into the undergrowth, and eventually my working time had expired, and I hadn’t gotten to the sidewalk at all—in fact, I had to leave some piles to be cleared another day. The photos below show the cleared areas east and west of the sidewalk.

On June 7, I was determined to get to that sidewalk. That was Job 1. As you can see, however, there was a little remaining pile of leaves in the area east of the sidewalk, which I wanted to clear up first. Then I encountered the patch of “potatoes” described in my previous post. And I decided I really needed to finish clearing that area between the sidewalk and the driveway. I had started work before 9 a.m., and it was 2:34 p.m. when I took this “Before” picture:

Of course, there was no point in just clearing the sidewalk and ignoring all the leaves and sticks and other debris on either side of it. I encountered another very tempting potato patch, which I reluctantly left for another day, but I did clear out a lot of vines. By 4:19, when the photo below was taken, I was very much afraid I might have to violate my policy of never leaving the site messier than I found it.

I persevered, however, and by 5:18, when I quit work, it was looking pretty respectable. There’s still plenty more work to be done, of course, but it was very satisfying to at least get that part done!

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