And he has the best wife.
It’s coming up on 4pm as I write this. We’ve actually started to cool down slightly. We’re now at 31C/88F, and the “feels like” is down to 34C/93F My daughter was keeping an eye on the temperatures, and she saw us at 32C/90F, and feeling like 38C/100F while we were still working outside.
Before they arrived, I did a bit of cleaning up of dead lilac, as the branches would be in the way as we mowed.
This corner of the storage house is usually hidden by the lilacs. It’s looking quite naked right now! Not a lot survived last year’s flooding, but there is plenty of new growth at the bottom, so it will recover soon enough.
This pile is just the lilac I cut away, none of the other trees trying to grow against the storage house. I did cut a few live branches. One was by accident. Other, much smaller, ones got cut because it was the only way to reach the dead ones they were next to.
When they arrived, I was surprised to see they brought two riding mowers. I didn’t know they even had two riding mowers! One has two blades on it, and that was the one I was expecting to see. It turns out they don’t use the smaller one much, but have it because it fits in between trees the bigger one can’t get through. They also brought a push mower and, as usual, my brother loaded the back of his truck with all sorts of tools and equipment. After many years coming out here, once a week, to help our late father with stuff, my brother learned he could not count on the tools and equipment he needed to still be on the farm. Even then, our vandal was “borrowing” things and not returning them. Of course, now, we’re about one step ahead of the stone ages, so he comes out loaded for bear!
Once the mowers were unloaded, I went to finish using the weed trimmer around the house, then switched to their push mower to do the tighter spaces while they worked on the inner and outer yards. Even their big mower, however, couldn’t do much in the area in front of the barn, where we had no been able to mow at all last year. That layer of thatch hidden under the fresh grass is just too thick. Enough was done, however, to leave me with a generous amount of dry clippings to use as mulch!
They were also able to mow the sides of the driveaway right to the fence lines, and continues the lane past the pump shack, all the way to the warehouse shed. Then my brother even mowed a path past some of the Korean Pine we planted in the outer yard, nearer the fire pit, all the way to the secondary gate.
I kept on using the push mower in the tighter spaces, and almost ran over this surprise.
I haven’t seen a Lady’s Slipper orchid in years! I certainly would never have expected to find one in the maple grove!
Once the push mowing was done, my brother got me to show him which 4 trees I wanted to have cut down, before showing me how to use the smaller riding mower. My SIL and I worked on the old garden area, which is really rough, while he worked on bringing down the trees.
That turned out to be a bigger deal than expected!
First, he brought out his gas powered weed trimmer – yes, he brought one of those, too! – to clear around the base of the dead trees a bit. Then he tried to first use his gas powered chainsaw. It hasn’t been used in a while, but it started.
Then it stopped, and would not start again!
He had a back up, of course. He brought out his battery powered chainsaw. With that, he was able to finish cutting down the first tree, then two more. The battery died while cutting down the 4th one. It was almost all the way through, so he went and got his extended pole chainsaw, which has only a 10 inch blade. It was enough to finish cutting the tree.
It didn’t fall.
The very tip of it was hung up on another dead tree.
By this time, my SIL and I had finished mowing. I had even manged to get a bit more done near the barn, but when even doing just a few inches at a time got to be too much for it and it died, I stopped. The rest is going to have to be done with the push mower.
It would have taken me days to get even half of all this done, without their help!
Of course, we did stop for breaks, hydration and food. Sitting in the shade with a breeze, it was actually quite nice out. The moment the wind stopped, or we stepped into the sun, though, it was like being in an oven!
After one of our breaks, we all went to see what was going on with the stuck tree. My brother ended up using a ladder to tie a rope as high as he could on it, and we tried to pull it loose. No go. We eventually brought out our electric chain saw, and he was able to free it up a bit more, and then we could finally get it moving.
Only for it to get stuck on another tree.
That was it, though. I have enough to start with.
It was while we were dealing with this when I started hearing a strange meowing sound from the lilac bush behind me. A bit of searching, and I found a familiar looking pair of ears above the deep grass.
Judgement was back!
I haven’t seen Judgement since the day before we got the email response from the vet, about how to bring him in without an appointment. After all this time, I was sure a coyote had got him.
He is not limping, either.
He seemed a bit standoffish at first, but eventually let me pet him. Then he followed me around for a while.
Before packing things up, my brother serious considered taking down the dead spruce tree closest to the house. That tree finally died just a couple of years ago. In the end, though, he didn’t dare take it down. There wasn’t much of a wind, but it would have been pushing against the direction the tree needed to fall. He considered having it fall the other way, but then it would have landed on top of a huge maple branch leaning over the north yard.
So that tree was left alone for now.
They still had one more surprise for me before they loaded the riding mowers onto the trailer and left.
They realized how ridiculous it would be for me to keep up on the lawn with just a push mower. Between the weather and all the other, higher priority jobs that need to be done, it would be near impossible for me to keep up just what was mowed today.
They left the smaller riding mower for us to use, and my brother took the Bolens they bought for us our first summer here, and will see if he can fix it.
The shop I’d taken it to basically told me it wasn’t worth the cost to fix it, because it would be expensive, but would not be a permanent fix. We have neither the equipment, nor the knowledge, to do it ourselves. Heck, we don’t even have a safe way to work under it.
So we now have a riding mower, about the same size as the old Bolens mower, to help keep up on the lawns!
Did I mention, my brother and his wife are the best?
They are totally the best.
Meanwhile, the storms the weather apps said we might have, did not come even close to materializing. We’re going to have to do some deep watering this evening!
As for me, I can’t barely keep my eyes open as I write this.
I think, however, I will go cut myself an aloe vera leaf and make good use of the gel before I give in to the heat!