Hairy landscaping requires a trim

Our story so far: Tyler recruits a hired man to help us renovate the 126-year-old Methodist church we intend to turn into our home.

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As if to illustrate His countenance upon us, the first few days we owned the church, the sun shined brightly. The weather was unseasonably warm for the end of November in Wisconsin, so we made hay while the sun shined. Well, brush. We made brush.

We’d had the opportunity to drive by the church a hundred times (or so) while we waited to close on it. Without the keys to get inside, we focused our attention on the exterior, and we came to detest the arborvitae (over)growing near the entryway. They needed more than a trim; an extraction was called for. A chainsaw (one of Tyler’s many saws) was put into service, and down came the overgrown bushes. Tyler’s new hired man Johnny and I scurried around like little ants, hauling the pieces of trunk and greenery to the backyard burn pile.

arborvitae before and after

Tyler then turned his attention to the row of bushes lining the sidewalk (and growing through our exterior staircase to the second floor). Even Tyler (yes, he also has a green thumb) couldn’t determine their species, but we knew we wanted to keep them for aesthetics and privacy, but, oh, they needed a trim.

bushes before and after

At the end of the row, Tyler revealed something he could identify: A lilac bush. Oh, I loved lilac bushes! So fragrant! I distinctly remember the lilac bushes in the alley of the home in which I grew up in Central Minnesota. One May afternoon when I was about 14, I grudgingly performed the chore of taking out the garbage and, to my delight, discovered the aromatic flowers crowding out the scent of potato peels in the garbage can. Being the trash man that day was a gift.

That bush was spared of trimming. Please let it bloom in the spring, I prayed.

When we were done, the brush pile was twenty feet wide and six feet high.

A few days later, Tyler called the fire department and alerted them to an imminent bonfire. The firemen gave him the equivalent of a shrug, and Tyler burned up two years worth growth in a few hours. Our first before-and-after project: Immensely satisfying.

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Tomorrow: Chapter 9 begins with a few revelations. Read it here.

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