It started out nice and sunny today, with promised temperatures near 50. As usual, promises seem to have been broken. The clouds rolled in and it's chilly out there. Still, there's yardwork that needs doing, so I headed outside with chainsaw in hand.
I last did battle with the evil thicket a year ago. At the time I thought I'd be good for at least a couple of years, but last year seems to have been an exceptionally productive one, evil thicket-wise. Towards the end of the summer there were spots along the thicket that I could no longer walk along to mow the lawn because the canopy had gotten so low.*
* Autumn olives grow on sort of a diagonal between up and out, producing thick trunks that spread sideways rather than upwards. As the leaves grow, they get heavier, and hang lower... and lower...
So I really need to attack the worst offenders, and this year I decided to do it early, before any leaf growth had started. It's bad enough without leaves obscuring things. Besides the autumn olives there is some sort of vine running around out there that lashes many of the olives together, along with another vine with thorns like roses.** So I set to work trimming and cutting back the first bush in line.
** Those may be actually be some sort of wild rose. My old landlady has some similar looking rose vines draped over her pergola, and in various other places in the yard.
Now I do have a chainsaw for the thicker trunks, but a lot of the work involves using loppers to trim back the smaller branches so I can get at the main trunk, along with a folding camp saw for medium sized branches. So I'm lopping along, minding my own business, when I try to lop off a branch that's just a tad too thick. No biggie, I figure, I'll just cut it with the camp saw. The only problem is that the lopper is stuck, the blade embedded too deep into the branch to pull out easily. So I twist the handles a bit and it comes free with a snap. Whoot! Except then I notice that there's still a piece of metal stuck in the branch. I examined the loppers, and there was a crescent shaped piece of the blade missing. WTF?
These weren't Job Lot loppers. they were Fiskars, with good quality carbon steel blades. Now even the best carbon steel can be brittle (cf., Andúril), but really, broken by a branch? I suppose there's some sort of irony in an olive branch breaking a blade, but still.
Anyway, I did what I could with the saws, but there are just too many vines to deal with. I really need to get new a pair of loppers before I can do much more. Have I mentioned that a Lowe's opened on the base, in sight of where I work. Very convenient. So now I have a choice of both a Lowes and a Depot on my ride home at night.
Other than that, the crocuses popped in the bed alongside the house about ten days ago, and the daffodils and tulips have started poking leaves up, even over around the cherry tree, which was way late last year. At some point I need to start some tomatoes.