Before cutting the grass, though, I got out the loppers and attacked the bushes on the north side of the driveway. Even with--or maybe "especially with"--the cherry and elm trees gone, the remainder did not look very good, and even worse, whenever I take the tractor to the back yard I have to fight through all kinds of foliage. All I really did was to hack back the stuff, cutting most of the stalks as close to ground as possible just to get it out of my way. The result was a fairly respectable pile of cut brush by the driveway. I also hacked back all the f-ing sumac trees growing by the fence.
Today, I finally cut down the whatever-it-was tree growing by the air conditioner.
A good six-inch trunk at the base and the tree had to be twenty feet tall. Right next to the damned foundation. Uh, no. No no no no no.
I also lopped off all the fresh growths from the mulberry bush that's growing in approximately the same location. (This weekend I must get a fairly large augur bit so as to drill deep holes in the trunks and fill them with RoundUp.) And then I removed deadwood from the honeysuckle bushes nearest that location.
I'm thinking about clearcutting the honeysuckle and planting something else there. Mrs. Fungus wants a fence; if a fence goes in the honeysuckle will have to come out, anyway. We'll see about that; but for now at least I've dealt with something that nagged at me every last time I walked on the south side of the house.
And the brush pile now spans most of the distance from the driveway to the south property line. And I'm not done; I have more brush I want to clear out, especially right now while we have such awesome weather in the forecast:
Dewpoints well below 65, temps below 80, no rain as far as the eye can see--perfect weather for the Mad Pruner to strike.
The tree was tall enough that I decided I needed to use the pole saw, and it worked a treat! Of course it's brand new, having languished in the garage since I bought it; nothing like a brand-new chain to hack through nuisance timber, I always says.
The other thing I'm considering is to get one of those Pulaski axes, the kind that has a horizontal blade sticking off the back of the vertical one. Because that would be just dandy for hacking the root balls of those motherfucking sumac trees out of the ground!
There's a crapton more of this to do. There is a little 4x20 area behind the garage which was where Mom always planted beans and peppers and tomato plants, back in the seventies. It's all grown over with shrubbery and sumac trees and I WANT IT ALL GONE. I wouldn't mind planting a couple different kinds of peppers there, myself. Bell and banana peppers--the kinds I like best. Maybe one jalapeno, just to see how it went.
Step one: get rid of the trees.
The lilac bush also needs to be hacked back pretty far. It'd be awful nice if we could, y'know, walk on that sidewalk, for crying out loud.
The birch tree is still there and still needs to come down. The pear tree isn't doing very well but it is hanging on; perhaps if I pruned back the box elder tree it would get enough sunlight to carry on a bit longer. And the HUUUUUUUUDDDGGE, the massive infestation of forsythia, which is well into its tertiary growth ring--I like that it blocks the view from the street, across the east 40, though.
I worry about the trees that are growing on the south side of the patio. I think they have to come out; I think they're also still small enough that I could do it my own bad self. Maybe. We'll see.
And once all the pruning is done, it'll be back to the north side of the driveway to work on the flower bed there, which is currently host to all those bushes that I don't want. The problem is that the flower bed is level with the driveway, which is well above grade there, and so when the house was built they put in a little retaining wall made of flagstones. 55 years of Illinois weather have not been kind to it; the flagstones have slid and the whole thing is a mess.
One option would be simply to pull it all out and grade it to slope down and seed it with grass, and to heck with it. Whatever dirt came from there could be used to fill the notch in the back yard where the sand box and swing set once were.
Another option would be to get different stones and rebuild it--update it and give it a fresh new look--and then lay down weed barrier, and mulch or stone with a few shrubs or plants.
The sidewalk on the north side of the garage must either be replaced or at least mud-jacked level again. Water must flow away from the foundation, not towards it.
This is what it's like to own a house.