Many of you out there say ixnay to the rakay. Not me. And not Hunter. Because Fall is one of our favorite seasons. You can eat mashed potatoes and gravy without feeling like you belong in a nursing home. The bugs have vanished other than a few buzzed up bees, the occasional bloated tick that rolls off your dog and there are no more spiders. The spiders have made their way inside by now and are busy laying eggs up in all your corners. So, it is pretty nice outside. And it is sweatshirt season. Sweatshirts are the best. Hunter and I love the way they fit. The other wonderful thing about this time of year is it is time to rake. Raking is a great form of exercise. Hunter and I like to stay fit together, underneath our sweatshirts. "Ain't that right, Hunter?" Hmmm. Where did he go? Anyway, today the NRA has asked us to share our technique. "What's that Louisa?" Excuse my sister. She wants to know what the NRA has to do with raking. "Um, it's the National Raking Association, you idiot." Hunter and I are honored to have been selected. This is what you will need. 1) Rake 2) Gloves 3) Tarp And now we are ready to get started. "HUNTER!!!!" Well, I am sure he will be right here. Back when I worked fulltime. And when Hunter napped all day. Before I came of age and Hunter was but a youngster. We used to put raking off until the Spring. We would sit in the house and wait for all the snow to melt before heading outside. I am so glad we have mended our ways. Because that last polar vortex screwed things up real bad for those still on the Spring raking schedule. Some had to miss their annual fourth of July cookout because they were still cleaning up last year's oak leaves. Hunter and I now take care of business in the fall. We used to do it all in one day, after all the leaves had fallen off all the trees. From sunrise till sunset we would be out there. But now with all the extra time on our hands since our retirement, we have decided to spend several days on a project that used to take us just the one day. That is why we are out here. Because even though there are lots of leaves left on the trees, there are many leaves laying in the yard. And since my partner seems to be missing at the moment, I am going to let you in on a little secret. Hunter prefers all things to be neat and tidy. Clutter makes him edgy. "Ssshh." I hear rustling over in those bushes. Yep, it's him. He is coming our way. "What are you supposed to be? A deer?" You would think the dose of CBD oil I just gave him would help to keep him focused. But. "Come on puppy dog. It is time for us to show the folks at home how raking is done." The first thing you will want to do is take off your antlers and put on your gloves. Gloves will help you avoid nasty blisters with puss and such. Okay, grab your rake. Now you are gonna wanna rake a bunch of leaves into a big old pile, with a sweeping motion. Like this. Making that first pile will enable you to spread your tarp out on the leafless area you have just created. This is where your partner comes in handy. It is so much easier with two to spread out your tarp. "Hunter, would you mind grabbing the other end?" Now where the hell did he go? Well, I guess I'll just spread it out myself. At least it's not a windy day. Spreading your tarp is very difficult in the wind. But, Hunter and I do not recommend raking on a windy day. So. Okay, there. Now that we have the tarp spread out on the leafless area of our lawn, Hunter and I will begin to rake our pile of leaves on top of it. "HUNTER!!!! It is time to rake." Well. I am sure he will show up soon, because this is his favorite part. Notice the sweeping like motion that I am using? And the quick little swoosh of a lift, just as I reach the end of the tarp? You want to do this so they don't end up underneath it. Repeat this over and over until your whole pile is resting on your tarp. Yes. It can be tiring. That is why it is nice to have help on your side. "I think I can. I think I can. I think I can." Sometimes a little pep talk is just what you need. We almost have it. Getting closer. One more time. There. Done. Now that I have completed raking the entire pile of leaves onto the tarp, ALL BY MYSELF, I will just take a minute to lean on my rake to catch my breath. Oh. Well, would you look at that. Look what the cat dragged in. "Nice of you to show up, Hunter." Now that everyone is rested up, it is time for you and your partner to take an end of your tarp and drag that load of leaves over to your burn pile. If your burn pile is anything like our burn pile, in that it has not been burned for awhile, and it is taller than we are, you will definitely appreciate your assistant. "Ain't that right puppy dog?" "Puppy Dog?" My little Hunter Bunter is starting to remind me of that one guy who helped us out with the deck last summer. "Hunter?!! Where are you?" Well, I guess I will just drag this mother over there. By myself. I'll just take all the corners like so. And I will put them together, like this. And I will just walk backwards and kind of pull it along like this. And then. Okay, now that I am here I will just lift this thing over my head and,"S##! Fu@#! D@##! Son of a bitch!" And that is all there is to it. We just need to repeat this six hundred more times. And then, some evening when it is not too wet, not too dry, not too windy, not too hot, not too cold, not snowing, and not too anything else your sweet Sven can think of, you will grab yourself a cold one and watch him light a match. It will be super fun. But for today Hunter and I will just finish up round number one. "Ain't that right Puppy Dog?" "Puppy Dog?"