Tree Removal Shenanigans

Everything is overgrown, partially dead and fugly.

You may remember, this house was a short sale. It took a million years to finally close and during that time, the landscaping went straight to hell. Also, there were renters in the home for about 5 years prior to it becoming a short sale. My guess is that there was no landscaping maintenance for approximately 8-10 years, when the housing market crashed in ’06-’08.

I can tell that the original homeowners took really great care of the exterior. They put a lot of money into retaining walls, a pond, a pool, gas fireplaces that run from the home gas line, concrete edging, new siding and a maintenance free fence. I also inherited all of the paperwork for those items! Nice! My guess is that they also planted the arborvitae trees in a very horrible location, smack against the front of the house.

What were they thinking?!?

Front Exterior

As usual, I try to do everything on my own. I started by just vacuuming up the rocks. There were pine needles that were a foot deep. The vacuuming of course turned into me trimming off the bottom branches of the trees. Before I knew it, I had trimmed an entire tree bare as high as I could reach without using a ladder.

Perfect! My house has a nose!

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Everybody in the neighborhood is super friendly. As I was vacuuming the pine needles they stopped to introduce themselves and nearly every single one of them mentioned “Brian.” One of them even brought me Brian’s business card! I wasn’t ready to give up and call Brian just yet, but after standing back and looking at my house from the street I was. Ha!

Honestly, as I thought more about removing the trees by myself (with a truck and a chain?) I got a bit nervous about potential gas lines, the house foundation and other unknowns.

I texted Brian, the lawn guy that everybody in the neighborhood raved about. Brian showed up a few days later and we walked around my big and bushy yard. These are pictures of different bushes, all around the house.

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Besides being highly recommended, Brian was also familiar with my yard from previous years! We discussed what he would take care of vs. what I would take care of on my own and he told me he’d be back on a rain day. He does lawn care and saves tree removal types of projects for days that he can’t be doing lawns.

It literally rained for 6 days straight. Each day I would drive toward my house hoping that it would be the day. Then, on day 6 of the rain, there it was! A bobcat! Right in front of my house! Yasssss!

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I now had a blank slate to work with. He pulled all of the bushes and trees from around the front of the house. I haven’t decided on exactly what I’m going to plant yet, but this is already 110% better than owning a house with the nose.

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Spark Plugs and Yard Gear

I have a lot to learn when it comes to lawn care.

I purchased the house in mid-December, my priority was learning how to work the snow blower. Now that it’s spring, I’m learning about lawn care.

The previous homeowner left a lawn mower behind. During the closing while we were awkwardly sitting around the same table, he filled me in on a few of the quirks of the home. I asked him if the lawn mower in the shed worked and he said that it did. Bonus! Maybe. I didn’t know if I should believe him, and I also didn’t know if it had been prepped to sit outside in the shed over the winter.

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I’m 99% clueless when it comes to small engines, oil, special gas and spark plugs. I turned to YouTube once again. I watched a few videos on which oil to use in my mower and also learned how to prep my snow blower for summer.

Fleet Farm.

You guys. I can’t think of a single thing that I would need that they don’t sell at Fleet Farm. I know this because I was unfamiliar with the store and ended up going down nearly each aisle before I found what I was looking for:

  • Sta-bil Fuel Stabilizer
  • Siphon
  • Oil
  • Gas can
  • Fogging Oil
  • Lawn Blower / Vacuum (electric, because that’s easier for me to start and maintain)

I haven’t tackled the snow blower yet. Honestly, in MN we may still need it.

My 13-year-old and I headed to the shed to tackle getting the lawn mower started. I checked the oil and added some. I checked the oil again and it was at the correct level. I added gas (it had been winterized!). I yanked on the rope thing to start the lawn mower a million times. Nothing. I had my 13-year-old (who might be stronger than I am) also try starting the lawn mower. Nothing.

All of a sudden, from somewhere buried deep in my brain, I remembered about spark plugs. I looked all over the lawn mower to see if mine had one. I honestly have no idea if they’re standard. 😀 Mine had one! I took the cap off of it and put it back on, twisting the cap back and forth and pushing as hard as I could. I pumped the primer 10 more times and had Mr. Muscles try starting it again. Like MAGIC the lawn mower roared to life!

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We hooted and hollered like we’d just won the lottery. I’ve never been so excited to hear a lawn mower engine start up! I guess the jiggling of the spark plug cap is the trick because we had to do it again the second time we used the lawn mower. I’m guess that’s a sign for needing a new one…which means I have another YouTube video to find.

Other Lawn Care things I Need to Learn:

  • how to use a weed sprayer
  • how to use the sprinkler system
  • how to use the natural gas line that is setup to run an outdoor fire pit and grill