October 17, 2022

Leaf Project 2022 Phase I

As you will notice, compared to past Leaves Projects I have blog about here, I have a different team of supervisors with Henry being the only one that did anything like my past hounds. We have been waiting for the leaves to hit the ground but not until I looked at past blog posts about leaves did I realize we might not see all the leaves off the trees until mid-November. There will be a different change this year compared to our first fall here last year in 2021. I will be doing more raking leaves than mowing leaves.

That temporary fence was taken down last Thursday.

Last year I found out I mowed my yard too low when I was only mowing leaves. I will not make that mistake this year and raised my mower blade up two notches to a level of ~3". After a couple of laps around the yard near the fence, that higher setting was not mulching many leaves. It was blowing what few leaves I was mowing, out under the mower. Time to rake. 

My trash company will haul away anything that will fit inside the trash bin. I had so few leaves that I was pretty sure all of them would fit in the bin, on top of and pressed around the 13gl bags of trash. I pulled out the big wide plastic rake and started in front of my shed out to the edge of the patio. Then I took off from the fence heading across the yard. I put the raked leaves in the trash bin after each small section of yard I raked. Smaller stacks of leaves were easier to work with.

Were these two hounds my 2022 Leaves supervisors? They would not be like Sadie and Stella in the past. They looked at every leaf raked, followed my progress in the yard and only went on strike one time, in 2016. It was a different lawn, different house, but the leaves were the same, only in a larger quantity. You can see those leaf project blog posts here -- 2015, 2017, 2018

The job was going pretty fast. I was loading raked leaves into the trash bin after small sections of work, eliminating the huge pile of leaves. Plus with few leaves on the ground I was able to rake up the dead grass and give the winter fertilizer a better chance to get at the root of the grass once I applied it after the raking job. Henry decided the best thing to do after seeing my row of raked leaves .. was to roll in them. That was what Winston did many years ago. Henry is a similar basset hound to Winston in what he does and the way he acts.

I finished raking the backyard in 50 minutes, with drops of rain hitting my shoulders and ballcap. The rain was not in the forecast until later in the afternoon so I knew I had time to spread the fertilizer. The nice surprise was getting a long steady rain around 12:30pm that lasted long enough to saturate the yard and activate the fertilizer. With the yard being so dry, I watered the whole yard late Friday afternoon, 30 minutes in each section of yard. It looks a lot green today compared to this photo from last Thursday.

The best grass in the yard is the far corner inside the fence. It is thick, stays green during the summer, and shows no signs of dog urine like the fescue does. So next spring I will spread Zoysia grass seed in the backyard and hopefully it will do what it is designed to do ... take over the yard. Flooding did not occur anywhere there is Zoysia grass in the yard.

For many readers myself included, it never fails that after we wash our cars or trucks it will rain. Well by the next morning when I let the hounds and the dog outside I had more leaves blown into the yard than all that I raked the previous afternoon. That was expected. I will keep mowing or raking them to keep them from becoming big piles of leaves that I cannot burn, like I did when I leave up north. Plus if I rake them weekly they should fit in my trash bin to be hauled away. 

No, I will not build a mulch pile to use to fertilize a garden next spring. I have no plans for a garden. I will mow them at least once in the next few weeks because I know that gives the yard nutrients. I will not, unlike last year, mow the grass/leaves lower to make the yard look like it has been vacuumed. Some of my neighbors do just that. I like the raking idea more than the mowing idea.

Walter has other ideas about the leaves project, zero interest in watching or supervising. He stayed inside the whole time that I was raking leaves and taking down the temporary fence for new grass seed. Any ideas how one person can capture a running bulldog, hold him down to cut his toenails? Food bribed so not work. He is hard to catch and once caught is one of the best fighters I've ever had trying to escape. Ideas are welcomed.

Saturday morning with the temps inside the house at 66°, he went to the patio door and barked for me to let him outside. Int must have been too cold for him. This is something he has been doing more of and will go outside without the hounds following him. He knows that morning sunshine is warmer than my house temperature.

I am not sure I am raking leaves today for Phase II of the 2022 project. Neighbors on each side of me on Saturday were mowing their leaves, taking their riding mowers over their lawns 4 or 5 different directions to get every last leaf. Their yards look nice but I think I might wait another week. You can finally see some color in the trees behind the house.

The more I look at these photos from this morning ... I will be raking leaves this afternoon. Besides that I will be unhooking the two garden hoses from their spouts with freezing temps overnight for the next two nights. I have looked at a lot of weather forecasts for the winter and the majority seem to say that in my area of "the tropics" I will have normal precipitation and maybe 1° - 2° colder than average temps. Like today and tomorrow I am too far south in the state to feel the polar rush of cold freezing temps during the day that is predicted for the Midwest.

Every once in a while some sort of electronics has to act up so you can put your brain cells in order to find a solution. ONLY for humor do you call customer service and let their technical department TRY TO solve the problem. What is the problem here ????

My new network name the Directv receiver cannot find is the one listed right above the error message. That is mine after I got a new modem and router last month from my internet provider. I tried all the options from unplugging my modem and router to resetting the Directv receiver. I did that the night I brought the new modem and router home because it was not finding the new network to connect to. After that first night I put the problem on the shelf until later. Well Friday night was later.

Every other device I own connected to the new network with no problem. That included my phone, tablets, Apple TV and Amazon Prime. Without Directv not connecting really wasn't a big deal because I rarely pull movies to watch from "On Demand". Without a connection, no "On Demand". Plus I was bored and needed some humor so I call the technical department at Directv.

Long story short ... I had to talk to two different tech reps. Many times I could not understand the words they were trying to say. Neither had a solution. The last one even wanted to send out a technician to check my connections. REALLY ???? You have got to be kidding me!!

I kept telling both of them all I needed was a way to "reset" the receiver internet connections so I could erase the old network name so the receiver could read and find my new network name, then ask me for my new password and connect. That did not happen last month when pushing the red reset button on the receiver. 

Both techs were close to finding that option but neither did. They both wanted me to download their app on my phone so I could take a photo of my tv screen so they could see what I was seeing. Didn't I tell you I only call any company customer service FOR HUMOR now days???

After the call I went back to start over by reseting only the Directv receiver. I found under a different tab than it should be, plus a couple of other option in that page, the way to 'reset' my internet connection. I knew that would erase all internet data in the receiver giving it a clear path to finding and connecting to my network. My old network name would should not be there to confuse the receiver.

It worked with NO HELP from Directv Technical Department.

I don't do it often because those smaller screens aren't big enough for my satisfaction where the smaller screen break up on DishNetwork is a perfect size and I would use it all the time. Directv in my eyes has a better quality picture so that is one reason I have not switched service to a cheaper option.

Saturday night was sports junkie overload. Three MLB playoff games on at the same time, and four college football games I wanted to see but they were also on at the same time. When I could see "something" was happening in the game I would move that to the tv size screen. It sure beats the old days of having two or three tv's hooked into cable sitting side by side to see multiple games at once.

After a full day of football and baseball from 12 noon on Saturday to past midnight, the hounds and the dog were exhausted Sunday morning. Where's Henry ??? Since he feels winter is here, his morning routine has changed to where he sleeps on my bed after he and Watson play outside. Of course the bulldog never leaves my side and will follow me anywhere I go, except in the shower or bathroom. Then he sits right outside the door and waits for me. I have never had a dog so clingy as a bulldog but I hear from other friends that have bulldogs ... "that's what they do".

When the temps drop I swear the side of my right hip feels different. It isn't but that had me thinking it has already been 3 years since I fell on my bicycle, fracturing my upper femur and shattering my hip. Those were the words from the surgeon to me after he had seen my x-rays. He said you will have a new hip by tomorrow morning and will be home the day after by noon. He was right I was home that Monday just a little past noon.

Out of curiosity I went to Google Maps street view to find where I had wrecked. Looking at the photo it didn't seem possible I could cause that much damage. With my Apple Watch and a Strava App, I can glance at my wrist while riding and see my mph, total mileage, wind direction, and heart rate. I had ridden to the end of that road and turned around. I remember seeing on my watch coming back I was going 37mph. I was going to slow down to nothing, 1 or 2 mph to make that right turn onto the bike path. There wasn't much more small gravel or sand in front of that bike path than you see there.

Yet, quicker than the blink of an eye, I was down on the asphalt of the bike path in pain. Going only 1 or 2 miles per hour and falling maybe 28", I broke my femur and shattered my hip. Although I felt younger riding the bike 100-200 miles per week, my bones were still saying "but we are 67 years old".

48 days after surgery I rode my bike back to that intersection and cautiously moved from the road to the bike path. Every time I rode there, which were many times, I took extra care in making that turn in that sandy, gravel in front of the bike path.

It's all good though. I've never had a problem with my hip. The following May after the hip replacement in September I rode 254 miles that week, with no pain. 99.9% of the time I forget I ever had that hip replaced and only remember when someone asks me about it.

So what am I doing putting this post together around 10am?? Shouldn't I be outside? Well I am not a fan of cold weather. 45° outside at 9:38am is too cold for me. The hounds though are snoring around my desk chair after playing outside for over an hour. That is why I am sitting inside and not being outside to start my day with small things to do today.

Just a few weeks ago when it was much hotter I would have been outside already, wearing a pair of cargo shorts and a T-shirt but not anymore until next spring. 

When will someone invent the vacuum robot for the yard? Now that is something I would definitely buy.

A nice fall day here in "the tropics" of Southern Indiana.


  1. I recall (maybe correctly or maybe not) Sears used to have a yard vacuum robot back in the 70s if I recall correctly. That would have been Pasadena Texas where I was. The trouble with them was the capacity was so small that you had to check every few minutes to empty them.

    1. Not sure I remember that but interesting. That is one reason I don't mow with a bag on the mower, too small and too many grass dumps.

  2. Our Carl was like that, with my son, followed him everywhere... whenever... had nothing to do with me, might open one eye and watch, but that is the only reaction i would get as i went about my day... stepping around him...

    1. LOL "open one eye and watch" ... Walter does that a lot.

  3. Leaves are falling here also. The nearly 20 Dogwoods are in the process and now to look forward to Spring and their beautiful cream blooms.

    That Walter is so photogenic!

    1. He is and also hates the camera pointed at him. If he sees that, he takes off running. LOL

  4. Yeah but a whole bank of TV's was so cool!

    Three years! So long ago but yet just yesterday.

    1. Time is flying. It was amazing time with multiple tv's showing multiple games. LOL