Archives June 9, 2019

Landscaping at the Verona House

As with every spring, there was a lot of yard work to do at the Verona house to get it ready for spring and summer. I had to replant grass seed in certain areas, replant annual flowers, plant bushes and arbor vida, fertilize the yard, mow, put bark in the planters, and prune the trees. I started out with a trip to the Home Depot that completely filled the Super Duty and let me take advantage of its hauling capabilities…

I got to work, and was able to use the Ranger, which I had recently tuned up, to haul bark and bushes to where they needed to go.

All of the areas that needed bark looked great after it was added:

All the shrubs and arbor vida were planted:

The planters on the front porch looked great with orange and yellow begonias and decorative grass:

And after fertilizing, reseeding, and mowing, the lawn looked great too, as did all of the paths and walkways around the land after pruning was completed. After a busy weekend of work, everything was done!

Outhouse and Boulder Removal

After removing the trees from the hill at the lake house, the last two things that needed to be done prior to stair reconstruction were to remove the old outhouse and remove two large boulders that had fallen onto the stairs over the past two winters. The outhouse was kind of a funny conversation piece, but at the end of the day it was decaying and blocked part of the view of the lake from certain parts of the backyard. Removing it was pretty trivial, I simply chainsawed the posts and pulled the entire building over, and use a combination of the chainsaw and a reciprocating saw to break it into pieces and load it in the truck.

Once it was gone, the backyard looked even better!

Next up was the boulders:

In theory, this should have been easy: stay above the boulders on the stairs and use a shovel as leverage to dislodge and roll the boulders down the hill, and let gravity do the work to take them into the lake. However, a moment of stupidity on my part made this much more involved. I didn’t have an easy way to get at the smaller of the two boulders, which was blocking the big one. So, without considering the danger fully, I climbed over in front of the boulder and worked to dislodge it. Things seemed fine, but as I moved it, the shifting weight of the boulder cracked the step that it was balancing on, and it started to fall towards me. I had to dive out of the way, and managed to mostly avoid the boulder, although I got hit pretty good on my right foot and fell onto some other rocks at the bottom of the stairs that tore up my legs pretty good. Diagnosis (after visiting urgent care): broken third metatarsal in my foot.

It was definitely a lesson to remember to always think about the potential consequences when working on projects, and especially when working with large and dangerous things like boulders or trees. I stayed off of the foot for awhile, and after it started feeling better I returned to the scene and finished off the last boulder:

Tree Removal Complete

Over the past several weeks, I’ve removed roughly 25 trees from the hill leading down to the lake from the lake house. It’s massively improved the view of the water from the house, and has also opened up the walk down to the lake, making it less claustrophobic and buggy. I bought a Ryobi electric chainsaw for the job; the current generation of battery chainsaws has massively improved and offers similar power to gas chainsaws. The saw I purchased did a great job and I’d highly recommend it.

After marking the trees I wanted to take down, I just started sawing away…

It was hot, sweaty work since I had to wear protective clothing and a helmet, but I kept at it.

Gradually, I was able to clear all of the trees along the stairways down to the water.

Finally, I bought an electric pole saw to complete some branch trimming on the trees closer to the house, to thin out their lower branches a little bit.

The resulting view is incredible!