Flip It

A few weeks ago, on a gorgeous, sunny Saturday, Anthony and I decided to go on a date in our own back and front yards.  Winter had come and gone and spring left it's mark of leaves (yes, down here, leaves fall in the spring...and fall...and winter) and dried up flowers in our lawn and the once-pristine pine straw beds we built up last fall looked no more like well-groomed landscaping but more like leaf heaven. 
Here's a glimpse of the mess:
I'd been eye-ballin' this mess every time we left the house and passed by it on our way down the driveway, not looking forward to the soon-to-be day we'd have to go out there and hand pick those pesky leaves out of the beds, one by measly one.  We had plenty of pine straw still in the beds, so that wasn't a problem...just the leaves. 
Well, that day came - our yard duty date - as I mentioned above.  Anthony mowed and edged while I put on my gardening gloves, squatted down on my haunches, and began the tedious task of picking and picking and picking and picking and...  After five minutes of that, I was done.  My quads felt like I had just run five miles and I was simply wasn't feeling productive.  So, I switched up my technique.  I thought, "What if I just pick up small sections of pine straw and shake 'em a little?  Would the leaves and dead flowers just fall out leaving the pine straw behind?"  It was worth a try.  So, I picked up the first little section of pine straw, gave it a little shakeroo, and only a few leaves fell out of the bundle...not what I was hoping.  So, thinking I was gonna have to suck it up and start picking again, I threw the pile of pine straw back down and that's when the heaven's opened and angels started singing...well, not really, but I'm sure God was laughing at me.  You see, when I threw down the pile of pine straw I had been holding it landed upside down in it's spot so that the leaves were underneath and all you could see was "fresh" pine straw!  Glorious!  Away I went, picking a section up, flipping it over, and throwing it back down. 
Here's the same bed shown above halfway done:
Sure there were still a few leaves and a little dirt mixed in, but after the first rain the dirt washed down through the straw and I easily picked out the few leaves that were noticeable.  I'm not sure this is the "correct" way to do it but it works!  I convinced myself this way was actually more beneficial to the dirt underneath though because those darn leaves will decompose and leave nutrients in the soil, making healthier dirt for the plants...am I off my rocker or is that true?  Anyone know?
So anyway, after about 20 minutes of picking up sections and flipping them over, every bed in our yard could once again be labeled "manicured" and I was drinking a tall glass of ice water, relaxed in our back yard.  I wish every fix was this easy...and free too!

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