Overwhelmed by the fallen leaves, with a bad knee and an inflexible deadline for the last city trash pick up of bagged leaves, I hired it done.
There are clearinghouse companies that match work and workers; I've used one for lawn-mowing in the past, when neither Tam nor I had time, and they did a good job. The same company coordinates leaf removal. It's not cheap, but it's not excessive, especially considering the alternative.
What showed up was a father-daughter team with basic equipment, on a bitterly-cold day when the leaves were sticking to the ground. The father pointed that out, I agreed and asked him just do what he could; if some leaves were left, that was okay as long as the big leaf piles (I've been able to do a little raking) and loose stuff went away. I told him to ignore the patio, where I have managed to accumulate a loose pile of fallen limbs and small branches, cut-down saplings and yanked-up Winter Creeper.
Two hours later -- two hours of steady effort -- the front and back yards were 95% leaf-free, and he asked if I wanted the brush pile on the patio hauled away, naming a price well under what it was worth to me to have it gone. Darned right I wanted it removed! He was happy to extricate the fire bowl and utility wagon from under the heap and I was happy to have my patio back.
Why didn't I do this last year?
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4 weeks ago