Loppers and ladders

I have not seen so many beater pickups since high school football games in rural Wisconsin.

Being as the new-to-us house had been a rental unit for a couple years, then sat vacant for about a year, the yard had been a bit of an overgrown mess. Scott had been trimming back the shrubbery during the few dry spells on the last rainy week, and I had previously made a pile of pulled stalks from discovering that some *#%^[! had disposed of aggressively invasive Himalayan blackberries* by putting them in an in-ground compost heap. And during move-in, Amanda and Janelle had tackled the front yard’s English ivy problem.

So we already had most of a load of yard waste, and the sun was shining (finally!), and thus it was time to weed. I ran some errands, including picking up flooring for later and hitting the Hollywood farmers market for veggies, and came home to assist in snipping, pulling, and loading the old pickup Stacy had loaned us.

The neighborhood cleanup day was the first weekend of June, and as a neighborhood association fundraiser, they put a dozen semi-sized dumpsters at a park, labeled with “metal” and “yard waste” and “electronics”, and for a donation folks brought loads down to fill them.

We were happy to pass the volunteer $15, and even happier when we found they had other volunteers who were hyped to help us unload. I’d pull a bit of trashed conduit we had found in the weeds out and someone would take it from me and carry it over to the metal bin. They took the paper lawn bags and launched them towards the back of the bin. They helped pull the tangles of vines and branches out of the truckbed. They found us a broom to sweep the truck before we left.

Then Scott ran an errand to Lake O while I weeded, and upon his return, we generated another two paper lawn bags^ and then proceeded to use snippets, loppers, and a bow saw to deal with a pair of ugly problems that had grown together. There is a clematis growing along the side of the garage, through the walls, and under the roof. I’ll have to deal with that more someday, but in addition, it had grown along the power line attaching the garage to house, been snipped but the refuse left dead on the wire, then grown over it again, several times. And a small pine had been left beneath this in its nursery bucket about 10 years ago – it was a bent over, unpleasant plant and had long since split its pot, and the trunk growing out of the pot remains was 8″ diameter. The branches were now merging with the tangle of dead vines.

I have the head for heights, so we pulled out the ladder & up I went, showering myself and Scott with dead vines, leaves, and bugs as I snipped at the tangle, pulling down chunks and lopping off branches and being very careful of the live romex power line I was working around. Scott used the bow saw on the tree branches further down, and we are down to a trunk in a pot that will wait for a serviceable chainsaw to remove.

We loaded up our second refuse pile and made it to the drop off site before they closed. Plenty of others were trying to get that last load in, and the drive through area was a mess. The volunteers were still happy and meaning business.

Our efforts left the back yard neater and opened it up to sunlight in places that haven’t been bright for a long time.

Also, speaking of light…I hadn’t put on sunblock, and had been enjoying being warm and able to wear just a strappy top while we worked. Alas, this means I toasted myself. My back and shoulders are bright red.**

I think that’s required for a full day of yard work.



*For those of you who aren’t around here, the Himalayan blackberry is plump and tasty, has lots of sharp thorns, grows visibly after a rain, sprouts from dropped leaves, crowds out all other plants, and eats buildings. Do not put invasives in your compost, send them to the city heap or burn them with fire.

^I suppose we didn’t have these person-tall, extra strong paper bags in the Midwest due to the wetter fall conditions, but they still strike me as a ‘genius’ idea. Why put leaves into non-compost able plastic?

**I burn extremely easily and should know better. Alas, it won’t fade to tan, but will peel, yellow, and fade to white. Aloe is my friend.


This entry was posted in House. Bookmark the permalink.