Big Day in the Neighborhood

Big Day in the Neighborhood

Last Saturday was a big day in Southern Gables. With our wild and sudden weather changes, the leaves on many of our trees are hanging on for dear life. We don’t often hear leaves talking (they usually just whisper), but last week they were saying, “Hot day, cold day, oh look, snow!  I’m so confused, I ain’t goin’ nowhere!”  The Friday leaf raking for our seniors and disabled residents was snowed out and postponed, but by Saturday’s Leaf Collection Day we were “open for business” for everyone else in the neighborhood. 

By the time Saturday dawned, the snow that had interrupted Friday’s leaf raking was long gone. Its effects would be felt for a while though. since the young volunteers from Denver Christian Middle School were prevented from raking for our seniors and disabled neighbors who had signed up. During the following days (and even continuing into next week) many of them with their individual families are doing the work, one by one. For the rest of our Southern Gables list, we solicited volunteers to finish the job. Neighbors are stepping up: Good Samaritans, willing to help.  

There are still some openings where volunteers would be welcomed and appreciated….   

But didn’t we have a great time Saturday!  Our Leaf Day was well attended, and we took in 664 bags of leaves from 79 neighbors who drove in and a few who walked in, compacted in our collection bins by dedicated leaf stompers. In addition to the stompers, Ken Fischer brought in a big load with his big blue dump truck, and several other truck runners went around picking up bags of leaves.

Where do they go?  Our contract with Republic Services was not just to haul the leaves away, but to get them into the process of composting so they will have a beneficial future use. The organic matter will be made available through commercial channels to be returned to the soil – where in addition to things like fruits and vegetables, they will end up making more… leaves.

Thanks to all who helped out! Groups of volunteers came from Westwoods Community Church, Carmody Middle School, D’Evelyn and Lakewood High Schools. Individuals from the neighborhood included Doug and Judy Whitten setting up in the early morning and then directing traffic in and out the single gate; Ken Fischer and Jeff Bair driving the truck doing scheduled pickups; Marci DeMott, Michelle Tovrea, and James Johnson at the check-in station; Bruce Loftis, Carolyn Wolfrum and Monica Norval unloading, with Bruce and some of the adult Westwoods volunteers taking turns atop the bins stomping along with the students.

It was a great day!  Click a pic, scroll through.



Leaf Day November 5

Leaf Day November 5

A few weeks ago we gave some tips about preparing for winter. Now we’ve had our first snowfall. (Told ya!) We hope you came through yesterday’s blizzard OK – we could almost see some snow on the grass! Continuing with the theme of having a good ride through the change of seasons, we will have our annual leaf collection day on Saturday, November 5 from 8:00 AM to 1:00 PM

[Edit, November 4: This part is postponed because of snow. Saturday remains the same.]  A week from today, on Friday November 4, we will have some preparatory activity for the Saturday Leaf Day. Groups of eager young volunteers from Denver Christian Middle School will be raking leaves for the 40-some homes of seniors or disabled neighbors in Southern Gables that have signed up with us to have that done. The leaves from all that raking will be collected in two phases. First, on that same day Friday the 4th, a truck from Denver Botanic Gardens Chatfield Farms will be picking up the bagged leaves from many of those homes. Chatfield will use the leaves for over-winter mulch and then they will compost them to use for soil amendment in the next cycle of nature. Then on Saturday, our own Ken Fischer will be piloting his big ol’ dump truck around Southern Gables with other volunteers, picking up the leaves from the rest of those homes that the young volunteers have worked.

That Saturday will be a busy day. That’s the day when YOU, our Southern Gables neighbors, are invited to bring your leaves to the Green Gables Elementary School parking lot. Our receiving bins (dumpsters) this year are being sponsored by Lisa Huntington-Kinn of Your Castle Real Estate. The leaves will be taken to be composted, rather than being wasted in the dump where they would take up valuable space and contribute to long-term pollution. This event is for our Southern Gables neighborhood; even with some being used by Chatfield, we can’t take everybody’s leaves from all over. (We found that out in spades last year, having to turn people away.)

If people from outside our neighborhood come and really want to use the service, which is FREE for you, they will be able to do so at a cost of $20.

Are you in Southern Gables, by the way? Our Southern Gables Neighborhood Association covers the area from Garrison to Wadsworth, and Jewell to Morrison Road. When we say “Southern Gables” we really mean “Southern Gables and Valley View.” Yes we do love you, Valley View!

So then… just between us, OK? Leaf Drop on Saturday, November 5. And if you see the young volunteers working on Friday, wave and shout out a thank-you for their service. They’re such great kids!


Leaves Fall

Leaves Fall

Yes they do. All over the place! Only a few weeks ago we were seeking shade under our trees in Southern Gables, wondering if the heat would ever let up. With a few chilly nights, a cold front or two passing through with parcels of Arctic air, and wham! Here we are, facing winter. It’s OK, we’ve seen it before. 

You might be one of the environmentally-aware neighbors who has gone to xeriscaping, and lawns are a relic of the past. If so, good for you!  You’ll probably still have leaves to deal with, so you can skip down to that part. For those with lawn care concerns though, it’s time to make some choices.

It’s a good time to repair those patchy areas. 

if the rabbits got to part of your lawn, or the sprinklers just kept missing it and it got stressed or worn out over the summer, there’s no magic in the winter snows that will fix it. Now is a good time to do some rescue work, before the first hard freeze. Our local business supporter Ace Hardware has seeding products made for just that kind of repair. The bag or box will tell you to keep the soil moist. We still have enough warm days left to give the sprouts a good start with frequent light watering and then they will go dormant along with the established grass, ready to join the older generation next spring.

The grass is ready to rest. You can start saving on water.

For those of us who still have sprinklers, at least it’s a relief to be able to cut back on the use of water and shut them down for the winter. If you haven’t already blown out your sprinklers by now, it’s about time. There will probably be another few weeks at most before the first good freeze. You can use a hose sprinkler a time or two if if it makes you feel better, or if needed to keep any newly reseeded areas moist. Be sure to disconnect the hose afterward though, to protect against the next freeze. A freeze at the faucet caused by water trapped in the hose can lead to an expensive repair. Once the cold weather sets in for good, you can drop the watering entirely.

Rake your leaves

If you keep the leaves on the lawn thinking they will provide some beneficial insulation, that’s not what will happen. As the sunlight dwindles, leaves that stay on your yard will block the remaining sunlight and encourage mold growth. If you really want to use them for mulch right where they are, in a garden bed or around your trees, chop them up into tiny pieces with your lawn mower. If you will not be using the processed leaves for mulch or compost, it’s not good to throw them out with the trash. If you’re a Southern Gables resident, you can take them into our Southern Gables Leaf Collection Day event on November 5 at Green Gables Elementary. We will have the leaves made into compost so they will benefit the environment and not go to waste in a landfill. By the way, that’s just for us in the Southern Gables neighborhood. Please don’t spread the word to others outside of Southern Gables. Last year, people came from all over. We got overwhelmed and had to bring in extra dumpsters, and still had to start turning people away before the end of the day.

Lower the mower. 

For the last trim of the season as the grass starts to go dormant, adjust your mower to cut at about 2 inches or a little less. Being cut higher in the summer helps shade the roots and blades of grass to retain moisture, but as the snows come on the extra height becomes a liability. In the winter it’s better to keep the grass from being pressed down into a matted mess under the snow, developing snow mold in the shady spots where the snow stays and piles up,

It takes a little work

… to get prepared for winter, but it’s nothing like the generations before us who had to deal with preserving food, chopping wood for heat, and filling the chinks between the logs with rags to keep out the cold. Even here in the suburbs with all our modern conveniences, it takes a little work when the seasons change.