Wednesday, April 27, 2005

Change of Scenery!

This picture above shows the house now that the overgrown arbor vitae that obscured half of the porch has been removed! See photo below for a similar view a week ago.

While I have focused on inside our house on these pages, the yard has a number of issues as well. As Helen's deterioration grew over the years her willingness to have anything done to maintain the outside of the property decreased as well. She took great joy in watching birds from her numerous feeders, and put out cracked corn for the deer (we are in the middle of relatively urban area, but are surrounded by ravine, railroad right of way, and near the University's golf course, so we have a large wildlife population. She also started feeding raccoons by putting out large pans of dog food at night. Coupling these actions with her unwillingness to trim any of the overgrown bushes or trees and you get the idea of what we face outside. There was an extremely large, extremely dead maple tree between the house and driveway that we had removed late last summer. Helen's yard man (mowing and shoveling) quoted me a price of $1100 to remove the tree. He then tried to get me to pay $1600 when the job was complete, saying he had broken two chain saws due to hitting nails in the tree (I had warned him about nails from bird houses)

I knew we needed to get started on cleaning up the outside, Lisa and I had already removed dead and overgrown bushes in the backyard, and dragged out miles of Virginia creeper. I'd also taken out half a dozen volunteer hackberry trees. But the big arbor vitae in front needed to come out before we roof in June. I wasn't optimistic about getting it done quickly or economically. Enter Mick from General Tree Service, he was recommended by a friend that had used him quite a bit. He came last Saturday afternoon, I showed him the front, asked about the huge half-dead mulberry in back, and the broken limbs in the walnut hanging over the garage. (These were my highest priority issues) He agreed these were the worst, and wrote on a pad for about 2 minutes and gave me a quote of $450 total. I almost fell over. He said they would be doing some work on Thursday a street over, and he'd come by then to do these as well. We then talked about the best place to watch the next day's criterium bike races downtown.

Imagine my greater surprise last night to come over after work to find the jobs already finished! Reasonable rates, a pleasant person, and works ahead of schedule! I am unbelievably happy!

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