Now I think this L.O.L. (little old lady) from Tennessee has gone just a tiny bit far. The 90-year old was arrested after a neighbor, quite rightly I thought, reported that she threatened to kill her because her trees were dropping leaves in her yard.

I have lived next to one just like her. Our neighbor in Sydney, having erected a Taj Ma Nasty next door – full of blond textured bricks, Roman columns and Corinthian skittles, completely out of character with the neighborhood – went on a blitzkrieg of complaints always leveled at me, not my husband.

My jacaranda tree – magnificent in November and pregnant with pale purple blossoms – dropped petals on his lawn. Our gum trees – evergreens – dumped leaves on his driveway. Our dogs barked (after he was caught taunting them across the fence). Our cats scaled the fence to go poop in his yard. Our air conditioner was on all night. As we didn’t have an air conditioner, I found this one a bit of a trick. Oh, and he didn’t like the smell of our fireplace.

To say my blood pressure was elevated to blowing point would be an understatement. With 20/20 hindsight, threatening to kill him might not have been a bad option. He was a nasty, vindictive, horrible little man, and it took me a great deal of self-restraint in not retaliating.

Mind you, this year now marks my 20th year in this country, and therefore the 20th winter of copping pretty much all the oak leaves from the two trees across the street.

Quickly moving to Google, I have discovered that a mature oak tree will drop 200,000 to half a million leaves each year. That’s 400,000 to a million leaves in our front yard and gutters each season, so doing a bit of math in my head, that’s 8 to 20 million leaves since I’ve been here that our neighbors have blissfully ignored. And I will confess, that it does seem a mil or two too much.

Not being of the DYI breed of human, we’ve always had “the guy” come and deal with the problem, and this year was no exception.

Our gorgeous D McC, the pea king (only he will understand, but I had to get it in) came before the snow started last year and our front yard was pretty leaf free – for about two days.

We then came home to find that our neighbor to the left of us, a non-oak tree owner, but nevertheless an oak leaf gatherer like us, had managed, either by his own hard work or that of his “guy,” to deposit all his unwanted leaves – onto our lawn.

Our oak tree owners are trying to sell their house, and I’m sorely tempted to collar the Realtor to let her know that we won’t be so lenient next winter.

However, having learned from my experience back in Sydney, the “fruit of the tree” is owned by whosoever’s property it lands on.

So, I hate to tell you, Memphis Gramma, the leaves are yours, sweetheart. I’ll have to lend you my guy.

Annie Dear lives in Lee’s Summit. Email her at