A Southern California Transplant Falls for Kansas

It’s that time of year again, and no I’m not talking Christmas season even though that has now all but arrived, I am talking fall in Kansas.

My family moved here exactly a year ago. We love everything about Kansas so far, with the exception of missing really, really good authentic Mexican food — what I wouldn’t do for an array of ceviche right now! We bought our home in September 2019; we literally hauled our family of six to Kansas to pick it out. Did I forget to mention, that visit was also my and my children’s first time ever in Kansas. Before that first trip, all we knew of Kansas was Dorothy and tornados, so we were pleasantly surprised how much we instantly loved it here. 

Since it was September when we bought our home, the leaves had just begun to change. The weather was perfect the week we came out, and (dare I say) even better than in SoCal. But as you all know, Kansas weather is alway up in the air and constantly changing, you know what I mean. We learned this within our first couple of weeks living here. It was sunny and warm one day, snowing the next, followed by rain and our first midwest storm.

But enough about that. Let’s talk about the autumn leaves that my husband and I fell in love with. In September, the leaves were beginning to change and they were gorgeous; we ended up picking a home with about 40 plus trees big and small. Come November when we moved our family and all our belongings into our new home, I got my first dose of Kansas fall reality with these beautiful trees of ours.    

The leaves were falling, they kept falling, and falling, and falling. Our neighborhood is quite established, lots of mature trees, lots of original owners, and neighbors with routine landscapers and gardeners who come weekly for lawn-mowing and leaf cleanups. It’s really a beautiful street we live on, and I continuously pinch myself saying do I really get to live here? But again, let’s get back to these leaves

Luckily, we quickly learned how kind people are in the Midwest and how neighborly it can be. We got a handful of referrals for landscapers and gardeners. We also quickly learned from said neighbors that our home’s previous owner loved taking care of his own landscaping so it was untouched by anyone but him. So naturally, we were concerned about finding the right person for the job. I called around and guess what, it’s very hard to find a landscaper or gardener in the middle of this time of year when they are already booked up for weeks on end. 

Which brings me to my second Kansas fall reality check, no green waste trash bins. Wait, what, is this for real? I searched around our house, no green waste bin anywhere to be found. I asked a friendly neighbor and they looked at me confused as to what I was asking about, a trash bin for leaves and brush? Then, I learned that I was to go buy brown bags to fill myself and so I headed to Lowe’s and bought one ring of bags. It’s laughable now to think five bags would be all I needed with our 40 plus trees. I did more yard work in November of 2019 than in all my life — I filled 32 bags in two days. 

Last dose of Kansas fall reality, I took my 32 bags and lined them up on my lawn like other neighbors had done with their bags. I proudly looked at them, excited for those bags to be picked up. When I came out to check, there were still 20 bags sitting on my lawn, which is when I learned from a note on one of the bags that my city allows a twelve bag pick up limit a week. You bet I left those bags out there for another two weeks until they were all picked. And no, the leaves did not stop falling.

After that first pick-up week, a landscaper called us back and we paid to have those second and third rounds of leaves removed. I’m writing this now after walking the dog and taking a look at our home, the leaves have almost all fallen. I underestimated the beauty of Kansas, the work it takes to maintain, but boy do my family and I love these trees and watching the fall leaves change, all 32+ bags of them!