Yard work | October 20, 2021

My ten-year-old and his buddy spent thirty minutes raking leaves a few weeks ago and henceforth decided to turn their newfound skill into a leaf-raking business.  This was the conversation we had on the ride to school the next morning:

TEN’S BUDDY, stopping raking leaves in his own yard to get in the car: Hey, can I use the thing later? [note: “The thing” is Kyle’s leafblower, which also reverses and acts like a vacuum]

TEN: Yeah.  I think we need to get some really big garbage cans.

ME: Oh, for your leaf-raking business.


ME: What about those pumpkin garbage bags?

TEN: No, we need garbage cans because we’re dumping the leaves on our trampoline.

ME: What?

BUDDY: We can draw a pumpkin face on the garbage cans.

TEN, seeing a neighbor’s yard with a smattering of leaves on the grass: That yard is worth about one-fifty each.

ME: Maybe you should make a flier.

TEN: We can put our faces on some buff bods.

[Both boys break out in peals of laughter]

BUDDY, seeing another yard with a considerable number of leaves: That yard is worth about five-hundred.

ME, realizing they meant $150 earlier, and not $1.50: I think it’s more like $5.

TEN: No, five hundred.  We’ll make about a million dollars this week.

ME: Strong goal.

BUDDY: I don’t really need a million dollars.  I have [thinks for a moment] $91 in my bank.

TEN: Whoa.  You could buy [thinks for a moment] like, 100 things with that.

Either the $91/100 items situation was more than enough to sate the dreams of two ten-year-olds or the boys were banking on a big payout from their respective parents (good luck) because all of their raking/leafblowing efforts over the following days were focused solely on their own two yards – specifically, on gathering up 25% of the leaves on the ground and dumping them on our trampoline.  Our ten-year-old missed a day of leaf raking and his buddy came over the next morning and said, “I dumped a HUGE can of leaves on your trampoline yesterday,” and Ten said, “Thank goodness,” so they were obviously working on some kind of goal beyond the million dollars.

Whatever the intention, after enough leaves had been sufficiently piled up they took to jumping on said trampoline while throwing handfuls of foliage at one another.  Our six-year-old joined in on the action, coming in a few minutes later covered from head to toe in miniscule leaf shrapnel.  We shook him off the best we could, plunked him in the bath, and then skimmed off a river’s worth of missed vegetation that had been hidden in…his…let’s say… cracks.  Ten came in a while later and clogged up the shower drain with his own leaf bits.

Twenty-four hours later they were back at it again – pile-driving into a leaf extravaganza, and then tracking the remnants of their fun all through the house and plumbing.

Meanwhile, my husband was standing at the window.

“It’s going to rain this week,” he said to the sill and (maybe) to me.

“Yeah, it looks like it,” I said, flipping through my weather app.

“Those leaves are going to get all wet,” he said.

“Presumably,” I said.

“And heavy,” he said.

“I suppose,” I said.

He nodded.

The next day a few greyish clouds casually scooched in between a crowd of fluffy white ones.

“It’s going to rain tonight,” Kyle said when I got home from work.

“Yeah, it looks like it,” I said, turning my head to the sky.

“Those leaves are going to get all wet,” he said.

Kyle glanced at the boys.  Ten switched his rake to his non-dominant hand and waved.

“I’d assume so,” I said.

He nodded.

The sun was setting when I got a text from Kyle, who had taken Six to football practice.

“It’s going to rain,” it said.

Ten pulled up on his bike.

“I think Dad wants us to move the leaves,” I said.

It took those boys hours upon hours to pile those leaves on the trampoline, but only about ten minutes (including a few breaks to jump in them) to shovel them into a couple of garbage cans.  With every scoop, Ten repeated, “We need to save these so we can use them later.”  We put them in the garage.

It rained the entire week.  At the first break of sunshine, I asked Ten,

“Do you want some help re-piling your leaves?”

“Oh, no,” he said.  “Those are old.  We’re going to get new ones.”

Last night they were at it again – raking, piling, jumping.  It’s supposed to rain again later this week, so they decided to forgo the trampoline and just keep the leaves stored on the ground (where they can be as heavy as the Earth’s core can stand).  Ninety-nine-percent of the leaves have ended up back sprawled across the lawn, but they are definitely earning their millions of dollars (or a trip to Dairy Queen) for effort.

Speaking of millions of dollars – the photo today has absolutely nothing to do with the story but I won $20 the other day at bingo and I wanted you all to know.

This week’s news has a farewell parade, a DinoMummy, and the best-tasting water in North Dakota.  Read on.

My dad wrote a story last week about a very important topic: odometers.  Read it here.

When Buxton’s Milo Simonson neared the very end of his cancer fight, the community – led by Milo’s grandson, Chance and with the town’s mayor, Travis Soderberg – said goodbye with a 30-vehicle classic car parade. (Hillsboro Banner)

Katie and John Fugle had my husband’s ultimate wedding: on the ice at the H.A. Thompson & Son’s Arena in Fargo. (KVRR)

Together, the Minot Lions and Dr. Darin Johnson have been providing free screenings and eyeglasses to community members for over 15 years. (Minot Daily News)

Every year, the Dickinson Fire Department gives out hot chocolate and truck rides. (Dickinson Press)

The best-tasting water in North Dakota can be found in McVille. (KX Net)

North Dakota is the sixth-best state in the country in which to have a baby. (KVRR)

The North Dakota Heritage Center has its “DinoMummy” exhibit back with a replica of a teenage dinosaur that was found in North Dakota with its skin intact. (KX Net)

The Minot Hardees has gone viral for its one-word sign advertising “Burger.” (KFYR TV)

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