Branch out with an new game you won’t beleaf

Column by John Akal
Posted 11/6/21

Ah yes, fall is in the air. It’s also all over the ground. We may have had a lot of unusually warm weather to start off the season, but once there was a bit of a chill in the air it seemed like …

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Branch out with an new game you won’t beleaf


Ah yes, fall is in the air. It’s also all over the ground. We may have had a lot of unusually warm weather to start off the season, but once there was a bit of a chill in the air it seemed like every single leaf on every tree just jumped ship and floated on down. I mean all at once in a single day or two. That’s probably an exaggeration but it sure seemed like that at my house. I almost need a blower to find my car in the driveway.

I know, it happens every year and to be honest, I tend to wait until most of the leaves have fallen to start raking them up. I don’t see much point in cleaning up the yard just to have to do it again the next day.

Which brings us to one of the best, but least glamorous events that happens twice a year here in Golden. It’s time to get ready for the Pay As You Throw - Fall Yard Waste Pick Up. They have one in the spring, too.

Yeah, I know. It’s not exactly the kind of fall event that you start waving banners about, but I guess you could turn it into something more fun by capping it off with a tailgate party in your driveway. Actually, that’s a pretty good idea! Start sort of a neighborhood tradition. I’ll have to work on that. Celebrate the fact that you just managed to put 20+ bags of stuff in front of your house and don’t have to pay extra to get it picked up and hauled away.

Let’s start out by putting a different spin on the whole task at hand and turning it into a fall sport like football. On one team we have you and your family with a bunch of trees on the opposing team. The game starts with Team Tree kicking off their leaves onto the playing field. The leaves are then picked up by Team Family and run into a paper bag until it’s full, thus scoring a touchdown. Branches count as a field goal and any leftover weeds get you an extra point.

Now, like any game there are a few rules. First of all this collection is only for organic yard waste. That means leaves, grass clippings, pine needles, branches and ground or chipped wood. Anything else draws a penalty flag. This stuff is recycled so no plastics, dirt, cactus, tree stumps, branches greater than four inches in diameter, ashes, animal waste, treated lumber, logs, old garden hoses or broken flower pots. No building material either.

The next rule is that all the yard waste has to be collected in either compostable paper bags or in that nifty new “organics” container you recently got with the green lid. Anything else is considered an ineligible receiver and will not be picked up. No plastic bags. You can get those paper bags at any hardware store and as long as you are there, you might want to pick up some natural fiber twine, string or rope to tie them up with because using anything else, like nylon or plastic gets you another penalty flag. You will also need to use that kind of rope to tie up any branches or limbs.

Speaking of branches and limbs, you can dispose of any of those that are less than four inches in diameter by bundling them together and setting them next to the rest of the debris to be collected. Bundles must be four feet in length or less and no more than two feet in diameter.

Now, on to the playing field description. You are limited to three cubic yards of waste per resident, which equals about 4x4x4 ft. or 21 certified compostable 30 gallon bags. So, go ahead and smash your opponent down so you can fit more into a bag. Defense, defense, defense!

Golden’s Fall Yard Waste Pick Up will be happening during the week of Nov. 8. Just put everything out near the curb by 7 a.m. on your regular trash day that week. Try to remember it’s there when you back up out of your driveway that morning. Don’t ask me why I mentioned that.

Alright, now put together a good game plan. Even though you can’t burn leaves in the street anymore, you can fire up the barbecue when you are done and celebrate a Team Family victory! Cue up the Family fight song and go out there and get ‘em! Rah, rah, rah.

John Akal is a well-known jazz artist/drummer and leader of the 20-piece Ultraphonic Jazz Orchestra. He also is president of John Akal Imaging, professional commercial photography and multi-media production. He can be reached at

Avenue Flashes, John Akal, yard waste, Golden Colorado


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