Saturday, May 07, 2011

You’d Almost Think I Knew What I Was Doing

(I’ll most likely post the third and final installment of my recap of my trip to the UP tomorrow.)
As Wednesday is new comics day, and I was off on Wednesday, having taken the day off to recuperate from my travels after returning on Tuesday evening, I thought about going to the comic shop to pick up the two weeks’ worth of comics awaiting me there, but then I remembered that today was Free Comic Book Day, so I decided to wait.
When I got there this morning, I was glad to see that there was a huge turnout, but I wasn’t so thrilled about having to make my way through the crowd just to get my books.  The table on which the special free comics were located was too crowded for me to approach.  There wasn’t much there that I was interested in anyway – after all, the day is about hooking new readers, not catering to old fogeys like me – but I usually try to pick up some freebies for Scott’s kids.  (Sorry, Scott’s kids.)
The one freebie that I was interested had been put in with my stack anyway, as they know what I’m interested in.
(There were people – mostly the staff – dressed up.  I took pictures, but they’re too blurry to bother posting.)
After leaving the comic shop I stopped at Home Depot.  It was a nice day – which meant that Home Depot was nightmarish, since the thought process in NoVA seems to be “It’s a nice day; let’s go shopping!” – so I wanted to try to get some work done on my yard.
For a while now the shrub in my front yard has been dying and in need of removal, but my motivation to try to deal with it has been lacking.  Not so today.
After trimming the still-living hedges, I busted out the chainsaw and set to work.  Despite the tangled mass of branches, it didn’t take too long to get it reduced to a mere stump.  Of course, all of the battery packs I had charged over the winter seemed to have lost most of their charges, so trying to cut the stump down even further proved to be a challenge, as the chainsaw was rapidly losing power.
I wasn’t sure what I was going to do about the stump.  I thought about digging it up, but concluded that doing so would be too much work.  Instead, I decided to just hack away at it until it wasn’t too noticeable, and then I would either rent a stump grinder, or use this stuff I have that makes stumps really mushy and easy to rip apart (or burn, without causing a major conflagration).  It takes a month and a half to work, so I wanted to make it as small and unobtrusive as possible.  However, the fading charges of my battery packs were making that a challenge.
So I decided to try digging it up.  I was right about that being too much work.  Still, I’d severed most of the roots, and was able to get it to move around, at least a little.  It wasn’t enough to allow me to pry it loose, though, so I went back to work on cutting it down to a smaller size.
The biggest problem with that was the large remnant of one of the branches, which was proving to be more than my rapidly-fading chainsaw could handle.  I whacked at it with my ax for a while, but the thing was stubborn.  I’d cut a big wedge out of it, though, and tried to break through the remaining strands with the shovel.  I had no luck in severing it, but I found that when I pried at the branch with the shovel I nearly managed to pull the entire stump free from the ground.
To anyone observing me, I thought, it probably looked as though that was my intention all along.  “Huh,” the imaginary observer might have thought, “he was trying to carve himself a hold so that he could use the shovel to pry the thing up.  That guy knows what he’s doing.”
Sucker!  I totally fooled your hypothetical ass!  I had no idea what I was doing.
After finding the last root holding it in place and severing it with the ax, I pulled the stump free with one mighty heave.
I’m manly!
With that accomplished, I raked the dirt back in to fill the now-empty space, and set to work on hauling the shrub’s remains to an area where, hopefully, based on past experience, the County will come along and deal with them.  Then I mowed.  I made several passes over the grass-free area where the shrub had been with the mower to mulch the remnants and further smooth things out.  This managed to burn through the mower battery’s charge pretty quickly.
While the mower was recharging I spread out some of the grass patching seed stuff I’d picked up at Home Depot, and watered it.
Eventually the mower was charged enough for me to just barely squeeze enough juice out of it to finish mowing the entire yard.
When I’d been mowing earlier, I’d noticed a small frog (or toad; I’m not sure which) hopping around.  I kept trying to shoo it unto the neighbor’s yard so that it wouldn’t be in the area where I was mowing, but it refused to cooperate, and I wasn’t concerned enough for its safety to actually pick it up, so I resolved to just keep an eye out for it as I mowed.
Later, I noticed a bird roaming about the freshly-mowed lawn – they tend to do that after I mow, as apparently the mowing makes it easier for them to find food crawling around – and I thought, “You son of a bitch.  You’d better not be eating my frog after I went through so much trouble trying to avoid mulching it.”
Oh, I also got a haircut at some point today.  I was Mr. Productive, apparently.
There’s still a lot of work I need to do in my yard, including cutting down yet another shrub.  Life in the ‘burbs is a lot of work.

The remains of the branches.

What now, bitch?...seriously, what now?  I don't know what to
do with the thing. The County won't take it. Guess I'll have to try
chopping it up once I have a fully-charged battery pack.


Merlin T Wizard said...

No worries about the comics. It's not like the kids know what they're missing. Besides, I don't think they ever finished reading the ones I bought them when I got your birthday gift. Thanks for the thought, though.

Well done on the bush trimming, (yuk yuk!) I know from experience that those root systems are a PitA. I had neglected the yard so much in the past two years that I actually had saplings growing when I tackled it Friday. I tried to pull one out of the ground but found the roots so far spread that I couldn't do it through sheer strength. I never did get around to grabbing the shovel to dig it out, it's just sadly half-unearthed like a dying space worm hanging limply from its asteroid burrow.

Heimdall said...

like a dying space worm hanging limply from its asteroid burrow.