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Guest Kit: Ode to Autumn

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An Ode to Autumn

By: jack

The trees in the yard began to set flowers and leaves this past March and were promptly hit with a late frost that denuded everything. I was surprised when the trees' flowers and leaves reemerged in mid April, however, nature's payback originates from Hades and the leaves are only beginning to fall. Thus, the annual breakout of seasonal yard tools will be accompanied by the same for the turkey cooker.

Raking leaves used to be fun. We'd ride our bikes through the leaf piles like Steve McQueen rode his motorcycle in the Great Escape. If we tried that with the kids in our yard today, they'd have to negotiate downward sloping yard bordered by a wrought iron fence and a climbing roses directly after emerging from the leaf pile. It's likely that someone would do something radical, like put out an eye, and we'd lose the children to foster care. Leaf raking, therefore, has become a chore. Being somewhat green, but short of a tree hugger, we have an electric leaf blower guaranteed to generate F5 blasts of air and move everything from leaves to small mammals. It's unwieldy, one has to run nearly 500 feet of drop cord to get the job done and it sets your entire torso vibrating and tingling for hours afterward. Its time for one of those swell backpack two stroke blowers that the pros use, a proper yard assault weapon.

As if yard work isn't enough of an adventure, one can always turn to the turkey cooker. The manual for this bad boy might just as well be printed entirely in red #20 Gill Sands Ultra Bold, and come with a Nomex suit, helmet and facemask. My Dad had a hard enough time with the fact that we burned candles incessantly in the presence of houseguests. His ashes must stir every time I fire up the cooker. This will be the third annual attempt at frying the holiday bird. The first year it was overdone, but the family was too nice to let on to the shoe leather consistency until last Thanksgiving: "Oh, you're frying the turkey again. Try not to incinerate it this year, honey." This year's attempt will be charmed, as long as the yard doesn't catch fire.

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[Photos by Paris Achenbach]

By Joel Achenbach  |  November 20, 2007; 10:57 AM ET
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