Note: The short version of this post is go hire
Those of you who know us well know that our back yard has become the stuff of ever-growing legend over the past 18 months. Here's the story on that.
Martin Luther King Day 2011 was particularly warm. We'd had this tree that needed to come down in the back yard for a while, and someone came over to take care of it.
Well, he didn't exactly take care of it. He left wood all over the yard, and left 20 feet of trunk standing, and promised to come back and finish the job in the summer (yeah, right). If I remembered who the guy was, I'd tell you, so you don't make the same mistake we did.
This tree, by the way, was a 60-foot maple, probably 120 years old or more. It wasn't little.
Last spring, we had a barbecue. We invited people to come eat and take some wood to burn. One guy had a chainsaw in his truck; another guy had some tow straps in his. We took down the trunk.
I bought a chainsaw. Ben and I cut up and stacked everything we could. We did pretty well, but dropped enough chains and got uncomfortable enough with what we were doing that we decided we had to hire someone to take care of the rest of it.
We hired Lee's Tree Service in March to do the last 20 feet of trunk, which was firmly in the ground and about 3 feet in diameter.
It turns out it wasn't just us. Bernie Lee and his employee dropped three chains while cutting it up – there were nails and bullets and all kinds of stuff in the trunk from before the neighborhood was built around the tree.
Between Bernie and us, we got the wood out of the yard. There was still sawdust all over the place; I filled a bucket so that we could throw handfuls of maple dust on the charcoal. Yum. I raked up a couple of piles of sawdust, but there was still that and bark and such all over the place.
We got enough of that up that we were finally able to wheel the lawn mower out a couple of weeks ago. Yes, you read that timeline correctly. This was the first time we were able to get the mower out in nearly two years. The grass and weeds were thigh-high in some places. Moving some of the stuff around, we displaced frogs and who knows what other wildlife. We started seeing wild strawberries beginning to grow here and there.
JB started the mower up, knocked down a couple of feet of grass, and the mower stalled. Start, stop, start stop, and an hour later, we had a patch of grass. This went on for a week; she'd spend an hour starting and stopping, and we started to see some open space. Not much, but some.
I went out and got a reel mower. It made moving around a bit easier, but it wood flatten some patches of grass. A couple of hours out there and I roughly doubled the size of the patch. That still left about 70% of the yard covered in crap, and we'd done five hours' worth of work.
I looked at JB and spoke a truth I don't think either of us wanted to admit: We were going to have to pay somebody to help us out here. I don't know much about the lawn service industry, but I figure that most lawn services make money from either big landscaping jobs or an on-going mowing and plowing contract. I thought it would be difficult to get someone to come out for one job.
I got an email back on Monday morning from Craig at Yardsmith. He told me he'd be able to take a look at the property that day. I told him we wouldn't be home, but I gave him some general instructions for what we wanted.
He came back with a quote, and it was so far below my expectation that I honestly thought he checked out the wrong property. I didn't ask if he was sure; instead I pretty much just emailed back, "Awesome! When can you get here?"
He emailed Tuesday morning and said, "My guys can be there tomorrow."
I got home and moved a stack of wood that would have been in their way (yeah, we still have plenty – if you need some, just let me know; we'll burn a lot of it, but still), and emailed off some instructions, letting them know that I'd be at work but JB would be home.
I got home after a softball game, and brought Rufus out back to pee (the dog, not me; I'm still allowed to use the toilet) and check out the work. They did an awesome job. They even bagged and took all the crap they cut down. We could have bought them lunch on top of what we paid them and still not hit our weekly grocery bill. Go hire them right now for whatever you need. Here's their