There was no rest for the weary this weekend. Earlier this spring, we had seven trees taken down in my neighbor's yard. Six of them were hardwoods, so we had the tree service leave them and only take the pine. What they left was stacked fairly neatly along the retaining wall that runs between our yards. Compared to the mess that is our neighbor's yard, they really didn't make it look any worse or any better. We have been making an effort to tackle this pile of trees along with all of our other projects, but we had not made it a priority, mainly because our neighbor really didn't care when we did it and it seemed so overwhelming that knocking away at it piece by piece seemed the best strategy for us. Well, the city cares. Based on a call about another yard, a city employee was driving down our street and noticed the felled trees. He knocked on my neighbor's door and told him he needed to clean up his yard, especially the backyard, which was overrun with poison ivy. He also told him he needed to make some progress on the trees. Our neighbor then received a letter giving him 10 days to get the job done.
Not getting this project finished has really been bothering me. I don't like to leave things undone. So, I'm glad the city set a time limit for us; otherwise, we would have continued knocking away little bits of it and not making it the priority it should be. So, this weekend, we tackled the remaining trees and got them all cut up and moved to our wood pile. Our neighbor's yard looks much better as I knew it would, and I feel relief at having this project no longer hanging over my head.
When we started working yesterday, we knew we had probably a full day's work ahead of us. The trees has all been cut to length for splitting, but we knew we still had to load the truck several times, pull into our driveway, and wheelbarrow this wood to the wood pile. I had already filled and wheelbarrowed two truck loads of wood the day before while Nate was at work. Our neighbor had told us someone was coming to take care of the yard, and as we were beginning work, the yard guy and his son pulled up. He had been hired to take care of the front and back yards and been told to work around the wood. While we were loading wood, we overheard him talking to our neighbor about the poison ivy and Roundup. My heart skipped a beat. Nate went over and told him we had honeybees and that we really didn't want him using Roundup. Of course, we can't control what our neighbor does, and he would not back down on the use of Roundup. This started a conversation with the yard guy about our bees and our urban farm. They both took a tour of the place and offered to help us with the rest of the wood. They didn't ask for any payment for helping, but Nate helped with the yard and I sent them home with some jams and honey. After they finished, the man told me he sparingly used the Roundup and if he saw any type of flower in an area where he was spraying, he pinched it off just in case a bee might want to visit it. I know he was being paid to spray Roundup, but I certainly appreciate the extra care he took to minimize any damage that might result. He certainly wasn't obligated to us to take any special care.
At one point, when his son was looking at the chickens and rabbits, he said, "Y'all are old-fashioned." I smiled and said, "We are old-fashioned, and we like it that way." I could tell he said it in awe and not like we were strange. At one point, he also said our house and yard are his mother's dream. We have a very humble house by most standards, but that comment made me feel blessed in so many ways.
So, what to us looked to be a weekend worth of heavy labor ended up being laced with neighborly support and consideration. They live in the neighborhood next to ours and know our across-the-street neighbor, so in our world, they are neighbors. The best part is the project is DONE! CROSS IT OFF MY LIST!