Saturday, September 4, 2010

I see trees of green

Anyone who has seen our house or a picture of it has seen the six builder's special shrubs stretching across the front of the house. Depending on how long it has been since you've seen it, or even which season you saw the house, you might have through the shrubs were a bit out of control. You would be right. The four innermost shrubs were imposing and difficult to keep under control. The two on the ends were far beyond control, and I could only trim them as high as I could reach, so at about eight feet up they exploded into chaos much like an old man's eyebrows above the roofline of our house.

A little over a month ago, I decided I'd had enough and that the shrubs had to go. Seriously; one day it was "yeah, we really need to work on the front yard some day" and the next it was "They have to go. Now." J, as I'm sure you can imagine, quickly saw what his role would be and was not so thrilled. Lucky for me, he understood that my growing unhappiness at work had left me a little emotionally fragile, and that this request (demand?) really wasn't the kind of thing to argue.
We made plans to start the destruction on a Friday after the sun went down and hoped we could gather the mess the following morning in the cool of the day (this was the last weekend in a very hot July, mind you). Instead, we went to a birthday party Friday evening, and J went to work on a Habitat House all day Saturday. He came home exhausted and in search of a cool bed. See the last paragraph for a hint of how well I took the news that my shrubs might not come down. It wasn't particularly pretty, nor was the attempt to get the chain saw working in the dwindling light. Running out of options to please his unstable wife, J grabbed a pair of loppers and went to work, which resulted in half the shrubs coming down before bed time.

Sunday morning dawned early with a quick trip to Lowes, an attempt to get the chain saw going again, another failure, more loppers, more trips to Lowes, more failures, and more loppers. That J could move a muscle in his upper body by the end of the day truly is quite shocking. In the end, we were left with a huge pile of branches piled in the front yard, lots of stumps and sticks protruding across the front of the house, and a happy JE.

On Monday, I started researching how to get rid of mass amounts of yard waste so that we could clear the yard. I also managed to get sick enough that J was willing to pay an arm and a leg to just be done with the darn project. I agreed and called our lawn service to see if they could help. Tuesday morning, they arrived to haul off the shrubs, leaving us with the stumps and a promise to come back and remove them, too.

We spent most of the month of August being "that house" on the block--our stumps, the dead grass (have I mentioned the hot, dry summer?), no storm door (result of a strong wind storm back in July, and quite frankly, another long story), and huge tomato plant (with only one tomato) hanging out on the front porch. It was starting to be a bit embarassing.

Finally, the stumps have been removed, a new front door has been ordered, and I've spent some time at a couple of local nurseries checking out native, low-maintenance species to plant out front. I'm looking forward to sharing the final results in another month or so, but decided that the story is too long not break into two posts, anyhow. Oh, and we're thinking about adding this little guy to welcome the world during the World Equestrian Games at the end of the month. Thoughts?

Title: "What a Wonderful World" by Louis Armstrong

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