clearing brush and cutting down tree remains

Did I mention the time a storm took down the tree we had planned on removing in a couple months… JUST after we bought the house, and THE DAY AFTER my daughter was born? Leaving us with no power and no heat after a final april snow storm (thats maine for ya) with our newborn? Well, consider yourself told!

It was an incredibly awful thing to come home to a cold house, and debris from a downed tree in front of our yard. We were later told that firemen had to come out and they chopped up what they could of the tree to remove it from the road (when we got home it was in our front yard, pushed out of the way) and that there was sparking power lines in the road. our home and the ones just next to us had the power lines ripped completely off of our houses (expensive fix, let me tell you…) and the house across the street lost their cable services for a time but kept their power.

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ta da! April 14th, 2014. The last snow of the season, just after a big wind storm that took out the tree we already had plans to remove (since i suspected it was rotting inside-out. I was right…)

It left a large bit of tree “stump” behind. For this job, we called in my dad… hahah! He’s our handyman, who sadly doesn’t live nearby, so we try to only call him in when absolutely necessary. But since we don’t own a chainsaw and have no experienced with them, meanwhile my dad has taken down many trees, we figured this was a good one.

There isn’t much to this story – We cut it down as best we could, and our next task which we haven’t started yet, is either grinding down the remaining stump, or using stump removal chemicals. We will likely try chemicals since we simply do not have the funds to spend on stump removal… and this is one heck of a large one! But we’re in no rush.

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^ the man at work! In the end we had plenty of firewood for our fire pit- yeah!

 

This did inspire me to go ahead and start clearing the brush behind our house, though! I wanted to clear off the hill to give the feeling of a larger space, since the lot is smaller, and mostly unusable. I figured if i clear it out, I can build some tiered garden beds for vegetables and at least have it be functional. Its still a work in progress, but here are some pictures of the process so far!

 

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^This is a before photo from Zillow, taken the summer before we bought the house. As you can see, this hill is quite overgrown and covered in trees and brush. I took a look our first summer, and found much of it was hugely overgrown lilac bushes. I tackled those first, pruning them back significantly. When trimming back lilacs, you might not see flowers the following year unless you are selective and spread the process out over a couple years. In our case, I wasn’t concerned about getting flowers or not the next year, so I chopped them all back. As expected, I got very few flowers the next year, but they popped back!

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The results of the first trim ^ I let them dry out, and eventually burned them. I also removed some seriously overgrown hosta. Apparently a former owner used to have a large flower garden on the hill, but it had gotten overgrown and hidden. I wonder what gems are hiding here?

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here’s a picture of how it looked after i pruned some of the bushes back. This isn’t even as far back as I’d like to trim them, but I was exhausted! For a time we had that giant pile of branches while we waited and burned them. To the right you can see the granite ledge just by our house. That became my next project. Using the pile of stones left by the former landscaper owner, I started to create the tiered gardens I was hoping for.

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One of the first ones I made is above. Nothing special, I was using rocks I had found on the property – if I had it my way, I’d do the nice flat stones, or slate, like the front garden has… but alas, those cost money… and I’m lucky enough to have a property full of old gardening stuff, and many loose rocks!

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they’re nothing special currently, and I want a lot more depth! but its a start! I intend to make them deeper, and layer more on top of the ledge as well. I hope to make garden stairs going up the slightly less steep area that you can see to the left of my daughter in the first picture, that is currently a mess of brush.

To be continued this summer, so keep stopping in to see more 🙂

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