Yard Work and the Story Behind This Picture...

Lately the turkeys around here can breathe a little bit easier, because Tom has a new nemesis he's been focused on (and no, it's not me):


Yes, that's right... tiny, itty, bitty, rocks.  Our back yard is full of them, and while they may look pretty, they don't play well with our lawn mower.  We've found that over time, especially after it rains, they migrate from where they're supposed to be, to all over our lawn. 

Since we had some free time last weekend, we decided to tackle these pebbles and clean up some weeds and brush at the same time.  Cliche new homeowner project? Yup, but it was still satisfying and almost fun.  And tiring. Definitely tiring.  

This is what we were dealing with before.  A pebble walkway leading to our deck, and a bunch more of them lining our rock wall.  In addition, there were a bunch of weeds/brush/plants hanging over the wall which made everything look generally messy.  

Tom started the day tackling the small stones, while I decided to clean up a bit of the plants that were hanging over the edge of the wall.  I figured I'd take the weed wacker to it, and be done quickly.  Until I realized that half the stuff growing had super thick steams that the weed wacker couldn't cut through, and there is some sort of invasive vine taking over our entire back yard... 

I quickly decided that this vine is the worst.  And loudly declared my intention to kill it completely.  It looks poison ivy-ish (although it is not), and has thorns all over it, making its removal extra hard.  It has wrapped its way around nearly every tree and plant near it, has snaked its way down into the yard, into the neighbors yard, and covers the ground everywhere you look.  Realizing I was outmatched, I quickly called in reinforcements.  Here's Tom tackling a large portion of it: 

That was actually part vine, part tree, but the vine had completely taken over the tree.  We spent forever snipping off pieces of vine, and pulling it out of there.  While Tom was tackling this part of it, I took my camera out for a few minutes to document our progress.  At one point I turned around and took a few selfies with Tom in the background.  While I was making funny faces, I didn't realize that Tom had turned around to be part of the picture.  He didn't realize he was still holding a large and threatening looking weapon.  The result is a hilariously unintentional picture that looks like Tom is ready to chop off my head.  

Here's one of the pictures I took mid-work.  You can see the pile of vines on the ground that we had pulled out at that point, and can see that the front section of the rock wall looks a bit cleaner than the far section does.  

After two days of hard, manual labor, we finally accomplished what we had set out to do - the rock wall looks cleaner, and the pebbles are gone near the deck.  There are still a ton more pebbles to deal with, and we need to decide on a replacement pathway to the deck (stepping stones? bricks? just grass?), but we're both happy with the results so far.  

It definitely made everything feel a bit more real - this is our home now, and hopefully we'll be lucky enough to spend the next 20+ years accomplishing weekend projects like this.