The best leaf rakers Mom and Dad had for our New Jersey yard were us children—six of us. (Mom and Dad helped, of course.) With half an acre to rake, we got after it, making huge piles of walnut, willow, oak, sumac, and maple leaves to jump and roll around in, before we piled them in the garden for compost. These days, Dad does not bother with rakes, except to pull leaves out of the bushes and tight corners. Instead, he mounts his riding mower and sucks up the maple and sweetgum and beautiful red pear leaves into the two rear-mounted canvas bags. This technique saves Dad from the impossibly fatiguing task of raking, and gives him the pleasure of riding his mower long into the cold season, when the grass has stopped growing. With no vegetable garden to nourish, the bagged leaves find their way to the landfill.