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!


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.


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!



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.


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!


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