“And he pointed out to me a river of pure Water of Life, clear as crystal, flowing from the throne of God and the Lamb, coursing down the center of the main street. On each side of the river grew Trees of Life, bearing twelve crops of fruit, with a fresh crop each month; the leaves were used for medicine to heal the nations” (The Revelation 22:1-2)
The artist in me revels in the fiery splendor of autumn in New England. This year’s display is particularly vivid and beautiful, made even more lovely by a visit from my brother, sister-in-law, and nieces. The colors simply shout and sing from their branches…and coast down along jets of autumn breezes. It’s tough not to wax poetic at this time of year.
Of course, there’s also the obligatory clean up of those fallen leaves. I confess to being a big kid. I love the crunch and crinkle of leaves under foot, the smoky-tangy aroma they give off when trod upon. I’ve even been known to jump into that pile of leaves a time or two. And, if you share your home with goats, I dare you not to succumb into a full-belly laugh as they jump about, catching those leaves on their fall, and munching contentedly the spoils of their harvest.
I save a couple of bags of dry leaves for my goats. It’s great fodder for them in the wintertime when everything green is dormant beneath the ground. And there’s a renewed warmth in watching their almost-human expressions are sheer bliss when you break open a bag in February when the snow is inches thick on the ground.
Another good use is as compost. Leave mold is extremely beneficial to your garden. It helps build soil fertility by adding nitrogen to your soil. It also helps as a mulch to retain moisture and provides a home for earthworms and other beneficial lifeforms in the soil. There are multiple methods for creating a good leaf mold compost. The easiest is to create a frame using a few stakes and surrounding those stakes with chicken wire, or old wire fencing (if you don’t have the chicken wire), to create a square, or circular, “bin”. (PS Chicken wire is pretty inexpensive and can be used for other crafts later on…even if you don’t have chickens). You’re looking for something that will provide lots of airflow while keeping those leaves contained…so you don’t have to rake them up again. You simply pile them into the wire “bin”, keep them moist (not soaking wet), and turn the pile often with a rake to help speed up the decomposition. Generally, it takes between 6-12 months to make a good leaf mold for the garden. You can also fill lawn and leaf bags, moisten the leaves, tie the bags closed, then poke holes in the plastic to allow airflow. Place the bags somewhere in the shade and give the bag an occasional shake. Every couple of months, moisten the leaves again and shake. Before long, you’ll have an awesome amendment for your garden.
Here’s to healthy soil…and happy, healthy goats (if you have them)!
May God bless you & keep you!