The trees in this picture are now naked as jay-birds. The leaves turn a serious yellow in late fall, and the last of the leaves drop off in late December. We have 4 of these trees lining our curb, so you can imagine what the lawn in front of our apartment looks like, until the wind either blows them away or the lawn mowers chop them to pieces so they'll end up as mulch.
This year our whole lawn system maintenance has broken down, and the best that our maintenance department has been able to do is to send a sole man out with a broom and dustpan to get the leaves that have landed in the gutter into piles. I suspect that someone is to come around and remove these piles, but we residents don't bet on anything any more.
Yesterday (a Sunday, of all times) the sole man came in front of our yard and we ended up with the tidy piles below. I watched him do it. I couldn't believe how slowly he was working (cold? bored? low energy level?). This was about 3 p.m., and at the end of his last pile he got into his little golf-cart maintenance truck and drove off. Jer and I went out for a taco last night about 6 p.m. and the piles were still there. Since we are prone to winds here in this area, we laughed about where his designer piles might end up.
In the middle of the night a Santa Ana wind came up. It blew like crazy! These are serious winds, usually around 50 mph but with gusts over 60 mph. It blows big rigs over on the freeways, sends tree limbs smashing into utility lines, and of course worse case scenario takes advantage of sparks to force fires in the hillsides to wipe out hundreds of homes at a time. However, lying in bed and hearing the winds start up, all I could think about were "the leaf piles."
Jumping ahead a little bit, I stepped outside early this morning to see if the weather was tolerable for my walking activity. I admit to being surprised that I was hoping to find the winds calming down a bit so I could take my day's walk. In the past, I've always used the weather as a legitimate excuse NOT to walk. To learn that my first thought was to hope it wasn't bad enough to keep me from walking was a nice revelation to me, and confirmed what I had started suspecting....that I was actually looking forward each day to my walk.
But unfortunately, as I stood in the front yard, it was obvious that I needed to wait a bit for a lull in the winds. The wind chill alone was enough to freeze one's buttons off (about 26F, it appears!) It was just downright nasty outside. I'd thrown on a long sleeved t-shirt, a fairly heavy flannel shirt and then my car-coat and still I was nearly frozen to death before I got off the porch. So I bowed to the Santa Ana and decided to wait for early afternoon, a stronger bit of sun and hopefully less wind, though the chart below would indicate that it's not all that hopeful.
But what made me laugh, and run for my camera, was to look out at those leafy piles in our gutter. Not a leaf has been relocated. Obviously the wind does NOT blow at street level. I am totally amazed to learn this. I am sure any nosy neighbors would wonder what this old woman was doing NOW, out in the street taking pictures of leaf piles.
They just don't know that bloggers can find a story in anything!