Thursday, May 17, 2007

Brush & Bulky Overload

When we moved into our house a little over three years ago, neither Diane nor I knew a thing about landscaping or lawn care. Sure, growing up in the Midwest, I spent a major portion of my summers mowing lawns, but I had no idea of how to keep them green and weed-free. So the past three years have been a hit and miss crash course in yard care, and my new philosophy has become "when in doubt, hack". By the looks of the foliage growing on our property, the previous owners of our home also engaged in this hit and miss course, and we are now suffering the consequences. Several of our trees and bushes were severely overgrown and no amount of hacking could scale them down to an acceptable size and still look good.

Most of our suspect foliage resides in the front yard. Two of our three "miniature" oleanders tower over me. They're huge. And our fruit tree is something of a hybrid gone very, very, wrong. It consists of two separate trees that share a base. One tree is an orange tree, the other, a gnarly mutant tree that produces what looks like tumor infested lemons. The tumor-lemon tree juts up through the middle of the orange tree and stretches up to the sky like an extended middle finger, mocking me. "Whatcha gonna do? Cut me down?" And I swear the fan palms inhabiting the northeast corner of the yard must have rabbit DNA running through their xylem and phloem because they produce fronds faster than I can cut 'em down. There is simply too much going on.

Suffice it to say that Diane and I pretty much hate the landscaping in our front yard and have been looking for an opportunity for change. Enter Brush & Bulky pickup. Twice a year, the city of Tucson arranges to pick up any brush or bulky items, up to ten cubic feet, that you set out on your curb. We're usually not ready for Brush & Bulky, but this year, fed up with our brush, we're MAKING the time to get rid our property of unwanted foliage. Only there was one problem. When we took inventory of everything we'd like to get rid of, it totaled probably closer to thirty cubic feet. We asked Diane's folks if we could use their ten cubic feet of Brush & Bulky pickup and they agreed. ROCK ON!

First, Diane's Dad and I cut down two dwarf fruit trees in the back yard, loaded them up and dropped 'em off on my in-laws curb. SEE YA! That was Sunday. On Monday, I decided I would turn my attention to that finger-flipping mutant fruit tree out front. I figured special occasions called for special tools, so I stopped by Home Depot and picked out a tree pruner. Best purchase I ever made. Monday night, I took my new tree pruner out for a test drive and was not disappointed. That thing cut through those mutant branches like a hot knife through butter. Oooaah, oooaah, ooaah! I was going to enjoy dismembering finger-flipping mutant fruit tree limb by limb.

Tuesday morning, after taking Kailey to school, I grabbed the tree pruner and a bow saw and took the mutant fruit tree down. It didn't go down without a fight, though. Each of its limbs were stocked with sharp, spiky thorns that tried to gouge out my eyes upon their descent to the ground. But I was too quick for them. Every once in a while, the ones on the ground swiped my legs as I moved in for a better kill position around the tree. Eventually the mutant fruit tree was reduced to a series of piles around the front yard, leaving only the healthy, odd-shaped orange tree behind. I loaded the remains of the finger-flipper into the back of the van and transported it to my in-laws curb. SIONARA SUCKER!

In the coming days, I
will arm myself with my trusty tree pruner and turn my wrath upon the three pot-bellied "miniature" oleanders. They will join their finger-flipping mutant fruit tree brethren on the curb for the Brush & Bulky folk. Then we begin the daunting task of figuring out just what in the world we're going to plant in their place.

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