Our house is on a very wooded lot, in a very wooded neighborhood, which means every autumn we have a lot of leaves. Last year, we managed to fill over 40 bags before the town collection date and we'd only worked on two sides of the house. This year, we decided to try mulching instead. It was so much faster! If it doesn't totally kill the lawn, we'll be all set. Along with leaf cleanup, we collect an enormous pile of sticks and branches that I burn in our fire bowl. This year's burn went very well. The boys helped with the collection and sorting and Chris helped break everything down to burnable sizes.
We had about five hours of active fire and I didn't get to burn anything from the dead tree stack in the lower yard. Once everything was stacked and ready to burn, I enjoyed the late afternoon reading my next book group book in the porch rocker Chris got off our neighbor's trash pile. The kids were all over the place today, playing with friends in every yard but Ross came out to sit with me as dusk fell. We watched the bats and looked for stars and talked about what he wished for, "the best Mama in the world and ALL the cowboy stuff (except the horse...and the gun)." I said that was really two wishes and Ross said it wasn't because he already has the first part. Moments like that make all the rest of it worthwhile!