Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Around the Yard

Forsythia treasure trove, a TV, a clay flower pot,
and two falling apart wooden ones. One collapsed
when it was moved.
Since Dad's death in November, there's no reason for us not to take care of yard work he'd neglected horribly during the last decade of his life. If we had tried while he was living, he would have had a fit. There was not much admitting that anything was wrong for him, and little more admitting something was too much for him to handle.

So I've been gamely trying to prune bushes and generally getting rid of a lot of mowing nightmares. Dad loved trees and bushes, and he'd stuck them all over the yard without much rhyme or reason. My problem with them is that few were either flowering or useful, and most all of them have thorns. Argh. Trying to get the mower up under them is as bad as offering yourself up to the torturer.

I've already taken out a forsythia bush that I swear had a diameter of at least 8 feet. Granted, forsythia bloom and are a beautiful yellow sight in the spring. However, I'm allergic to them. They're one of the few plants I actually am allergic to, according to the allergy test I had done a long time ago. Or maybe :-) I have too many memories of having to go outside and get my own switch, with only ones from the forsythia being acceptable (not too hard.)  Hidden inside it were 3 huge flower pots, old rails for a garage door, and a 40" TV. Oy. I've planted a lilac bush in it's place and hope the lilac won't turn into the same kind of monster the forsythia became. At least it will smell pretty.

Then I started working on the dogwood trees that line the front yard near the road. Beautiful when they bloom, but they'd not been pruned correctly. They had some low branches that tried for all their worth to take your head off whenever you mowed around them. They were also laden with dead branches. So I did a lot of work on pruning new limbs in unacceptable places and taking out dead wood. When Max was in this last weekend, he took the chainsaw to them and whacked off the worst offenders for decapitation.

Speaking of dead wood, when I went out this morning to take the photos of the dogwoods I found large pieces of a dead limb that fallen from a huge tree we have in the front yard. Sadly, we've decided the tree needs to go because it's a danger to the house and people. It's old, in bad health, and sheds limbs continually.

I've taken out two other low bushes, one in front and one in back. Max is slowly removing the stumps as he can get to them. In place of the one in the back, I've planted a red raspberry bush. We put another in about 5 feet away. Sometime during the summer I hope to get a nice trellis up, and we hope for raspberries next summer.

As out of shape as I am, I keep expecting this work to lay me low, but so far the worst problem I'm experiencing is stiffness in my hands. Of course, I'm taking this easy, and not trying to do it all in one day. About three hours of the physical work is all I'm handling in one day. Hopefully this will help me get into better shape. Ya think?

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