February 12, 2004
buzz

Man, I don't know why I never got a chainsaw before.

We had a row of about a dozen photineas along the edge of our yard, relatively old, really gnarly and tangled up with the fence and whatnot. Well, they were pretty overgrown, and it looks like they got the blight, or maybe it's just their time, but they were on their last legs, getting all yellow in the leaf, then brown, turning brittle and falling apart. I had to remove a couple of them a month or two back, because they were just bare in the ground, not doing any good but looking bad. So, over the last couple of days, we went in, and took them all down.

Holy moly, those are some tenacious little plants. The bigger ones were running eight or nine feet high, and probably ten or fifteen feet across, and they were'nt going without a fight. Bernie started using clippers on the outside branches, and I went to work with a hand saw. Well, that was pretty slow going, so I busted out the little Black & Decker saw, which took them back to the biggest branches. The time had come for some real hardware; I just bought myself a new axe, but I was pretty sure that the wood was a bit dense for that - and it turned out that I was right. So, it was back to the giant evil orange box to get a chainsaw. We wound up getting a smallish electric saw, which chewed those stumps up real good, but I don't expect it'll be much use on a cross-country zombie hunt, like a proper gas-powered one would be. On the other hand, as long as the cords stay secure, I reckon we can fend off a pretty sizeable number of the moaning dead within a fifty foot radius of the house.

It was drizzling a little bit when I finally got up and out to do some violence on the shrubs - I woke up around 3pm, as I'd been up all night slogging my way to the final chapter of the latest Final Fantasy game. I tell you what, those electrics saws hold up pretty well in the damp, although you have to watch for the mud getting in the plug-holes. (I did manage to give myself a little jingle today in the dry safety of the inside, while unplugging an old air conditioner by grabbing the prongs when it was halfway undone. Dumbass.) We also took an hour or so out of our herbicide to perform some demolition on an old driveway gate that was taking up some valuable yard space, seeing's how there's a driveway there any more. Jutted about five feet into the yard, and was pretty much falling over - although it did provide pretty good visual cover for the back part of the house, it had to go. Overall, we got pretty wet and mucky tearing up the yard, and now we've got about a ton and a half of green wood and junk that needs to get hauled away tomorrow morning, but I think we done good.

Then, in the afternoon, when it's all gone, our landscaper is going to give us a new wall of broad-leaf cluming bamboo, and install some new trees. Couple of white crepe myrtles, a little mexican redbud, and a granny smith apple tree. After we're all installed there, it's back to the yardline to build us a new fence, to put some small barrier between our new plants and the little bamboo-yanking rapscallions in the neighborhood. Either that, or build a little hunting blind up on the roof, and load up on birdshot.

Speaking of critters, we've got a new one in the attic, and it's not very interested in being sneaky. I can hear it right now, scraping and wheezing and thumping about twenty feet behind and above. We had a "structural animal damage control specialist" over today to investigate the situation, and he's pretty sure that our new pal is crawling under the house, and then climbing up inside the bathroom wall, and up into the attic. He said that the best thing that we could do would be to dig an eighteen inch deep trench around the whole house, and build a little barrier out of metal and cement to deter critters from getting under there. Unfortunately, he doesn't do that, and he couldn't recommend anyone who could, so we've got to track down a trench-digger ourselves. After that's done, he'll come back and make sure the beast is either dead or gone. And then we can get to planting the new stuff up against the side of the house.

This whole home ownership thing, man. It's a good thing that I don't have something better to do.

(February 12, 2004 12:08 AM)
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