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Yep, still talking about yard work this week. So far, I covered maintaining certain things (like the mulch and gutters) and clearing out the branches that were blocking the view of the house from the street (thanks to a new pole saw). But it’s not over yet!

Yeah, buddy.

Does anyone else feel like letting out a grunt?

No? Just me then. (#fistbump, Colleen)

In case you weren’t sure, this was one of the items on my birthday wish list.

That chainsaw was heavy. But it was the most reasonable way of clearing out the bushes on the side of the house. And now I REALLY want a chainsaw of my own (hey, a workout is a workout). One of the bushes was full of prickers and injured my hands whenever I tried weeding this area (go ahead, giggle at me using “bushes” and “prickers” in the same sentence). The others were simply crazy overgrown and gangly. I knew from observing the one that was chopped down last year that these guys will all grow back. So until they are petite little bushes again, I am 100% okay with low-maintenance stubs while I configure the rest of the bed.

I didn’t get a chance to share before (because of all the overgrowth), but I also planted some creeping phlox in there at the beginning of spring. Which Dad mistook for weeds and mowed right over this weekend. So no pictures, unfortunately. But hopefully their roots are enough established and they’ll thrive in this area – relatively weed free. You might also be able to tell from that pic, but scalloped brick separates the normal grass from whatever the heck was supposed to be growing next to the house. The main problem? The brick was (likely) placed there by a blind man. Or someone who thinks straight lines are complicated. So I have to dig it out if I want to keep my eye from twitching. But just like most outdoor projects (in my world, at least), that’s for another day.

Just a couple of tips about the chainsaw:

  • The right projects for this kind of tool are for when you just want to get rid of something. If you’re just chopping a few small limbs, a reciprocating saw with a heavy duty serrated blade or hedge clippers are a better choice.
  • Hold it so that the weight of the chainsaw is against whatever it is you’re cutting. Keeps your arms from getting too tired, and keeps the saw a little more stable against what you’re cutting too.
  • The handle wraps around two sides. This is so that you don’t have to twist your arms too much to hold it.
  • Again, I should have been wearing ear & eye protection. Sorry for not leading by example.
  •  This should be obvious, but just in case it needs to be covered: cut away from yourself. Just like it’s not a good idea to open a box with a knife blade pointing upward, you should stay ever-conscious of the direction it can fly in if things go awry.

After my arms were too tired to continue using a chainsaw safely, Tony took over again and chopped down the shrubs in the front yard, too. Some of them are beautiful, green and waxy – just overgrown. So we chopped them each down below the windows so that when they grow back, they’re much more manageable. Some of them are a different species and appeared to be dealing with some type of plant disease (they kind of looked like what might happen to a four-year old who is allowed to cut her own hair). So those got the chop completely down to the ground.

And can you believe it? We’re still not over yet with all of the outdoor updates. There’s one more, along with a fun little picture of what chopping down everything within reach looks like when it is collected into a pile.

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  1. Only ear and eye protection? You should have been wearing jeans and possibly knee protection too!
    Heck, wear a whole armor! LOL
    My brother got his knee cut really bad using a chainsaw because it bucked hitting a knot in a tree.
    Do I sound like a mom?

    1. Good point! It wasn’t too bad in this case, but jeans are a good idea too. It was HOT outside though, so I might not have even tried it if it meant having to change into jeans.

  2. Better woman than I!! I’ve wanted to chainsaw a couple things in my backyard but don’t trust my upper body strength enough not to injure myself! LOL :) Great post!

  3. if you don’t want the shrubs to grow back, drill several wide holes in the stump and fill them with salt (or a VERY salty water solution). if that doesn’t work, you can buy a non-toxic stump killer that can be applied in the same fashion. eventually the stumps will rot away and you can plant something new. good luck!

  4. Agreeing with the above post about safety gear…I learned to chainsaw at work, so maybe it was a little overprotective of an environment, but I’ve seen responsible people hit their chaps (chainsaw chaps bind the chain). I like reading your blog, don’t put yourself out of action by hitting an artery.