I was always a proponent of lay the tarp down early and fill it, then let nature do the rest. Mine was always a leaf magnet as well but I was always diligent removing them - either by hand, shovel or the one year we used a pool skimmer. You'd be amazed how much ice you can make overnight at some of those temperatures and how little will disappear at the warmer ones.
Hard to believe that last year I had already been skating for two weeks at this time and this year I put up the Christmas lights on December 5th and not a single clip broke in the cold weather.
Making Backyard Rinks from 1999-2015
Twitter: @kevmac_5 or @macisaac_odr
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