Thursday, July 19, 2012

Trimming Cedar Bushes

About every five years or so we have to trim the cedar bushes/trees. This can be quite a chore. Turtle is allergic to them, so we proceed with caution. He pulls out the handy-dandy teeny tiny little chain saw that fits on the end of the weed-eater. (Weed-eating, by the way, is Turtle's sole domain. I can't manage the weight safely with grass blades on it, let alone with the chain saw.) Then we walk over to the trees and I show him which branches need loping off--those that are shooting out in odd directions and those that are growing toward the ground. Eventually, we get it right. I spend a little time with garden cutters of various types, up underneath the tree dome, pruning out dead wood and branches that are full of dry leaves. Pruning shears work well until they get dull--same for garden snips and for that not very effective cross-cut saw.

For five of the trees, this was the second pruning. They had gotten to look just a little too much like Dr. Seuss trees--top heavy with long, pointy branches of wispy leaves. The sixth tree/bush-trosity had never been pruned. It squatted on the side lawn like a great green cave. My grandchildren used to hide beneath the branches, and, at one point it was home for a cottontail or two. There was no way to get a mower to the underside of it.

After we cut all the bottom branches away, it looked like this. It seems small in this picture, but imagine me, trying to reach the top to tweak off an unruly leaf or two--I can't, ok, and that's why they are still there! We collected four large garbage bags full of vintage leaves and needles from around the base. (notice the large, brown bare spot) Then I painted all the chopped spots where bare wood was showing. At first, I used paint, but, since I liked the look of the natural grain, I switched to varnish. The job took a couple of days, not because we are wimps, but because it's simply too hot out there to work after mid-morning and before sun-down. Well, we could be wimps too, but hey, we did it!

 Here's what's waiting for the city truck. It's seven feet wide, twenty-five feet long and as high as my waist--all branches and wood chunks of sweet-smelling cedar. Smells better than Turtle and I did when we were through with the job.

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

Great Summer Exercise Program

Most of my summer exercise program this year has been automatic and relatively painless. I don’t have to pay a membership fee or wait until a friend is ready to go with me.  About three days a week I get an hour and a half of pleasant working out—usually early in the morning before the heat begins to broil everyone who pokes his or her nose out from under the shade.

What is this great program called? Mowing the lawn! Yes. With a push mower that isn’t self-propelled. Most yards wouldn’t offer this much in the way of a routine, but we live in a parsonage. It’s large and pleasant and has scads of surrounding grass. I divide all the little lawns into plots: front, side, back, back hill, side hill, and street front. They each take around fifty minutes—some more aerobic and others more like a relaxing stroll.

I know you think I’m being sarcastic…but I actually enjoy it. After last year, and the horrible drought, I promised I’d never complain about mowing again. We've had lots of rain this year...up until July, the grass grew insanely. Now, of course, real summer has kicked in--clouds, but no rain.
I have a feeling that my job is going to be slowing down for the rest of the summer.

Maybe I'll have to do something else--water walking at the pool, perhaps.