The wife has always been a City Mouse, born and raised in one of the Midwest’s larger metro areas.  Even though I grew up in a much, much smaller town, that label mostly applies to me as well.  Yeah, I attended square dances and some couples drove tractors to our Prom, but that wasn’t really my scene. My childhood was spent hunting ducks through an 8-bit video game system, not out in the blinds on a cold, blustery morning.

Further, I detest yard work.  Our suburban sidewalks at the last house got edged once a year whether they needed it or not – meaning our lawn always looked like an unkept 1970’s centerfold.  It certainly didn’t help that we were surrounded by retired folks who enjoyed mowing three times a week. Those people need to find a hobby.

So it came as a surprise to our friends and family when we started telling them we wanted to “Move to the Country”.

Quick Aside: Joanna hates it when I say we did that.  She refuses to move to “The Country”. Even though she’s probably right as we’re only four miles out of our little town, and ten minutes to the nearest Target, I still like to exasperate her. Please assist me when you have the chance.

Now that we’re in our new place, you’ll probably read a little about our adventures transforming this beautiful BeeGees-era decorated house into our home.  Jo will share campaigns from her war against gallons of pink paint and floral wallpaper, while I focus on some more manly endeavors… like following orders to move a hutch into and out of all five corners in our square dining room (yep, do the math on that one).

I can only imagine some of these updates will be hilarious since I personally have no idea what I’m doing… and I’ll be running a chainsaw while doing it.

Today, let’s take a quick peak into the woods around our house.  My woods.  Our woods. In The Country.

Nice, right? Someday I’ll give you the full tour, but the back 40 is certainly laid out well with a mix of different mature trees. It’s not overgrown and there are plenty of natural trails thanks to the roughly 1 billion deer living back there not paying rent.

However, one problem jumped out right away when we had our first visit with the realtor…

See all that Ivy in the trees?  Ugh.

Sure it looks pretty, especially as we’re sliding into winter and the rest of the trees are now bare.

But this stuff is nasty for a few reasons.  First, it can choke out your tree and kill it off.  The vines eat right through the bark.  We have two where this has already occurred and I need to bring them down.  Second, the weight of the invading vines and leaves put a tremendous strain on the tree’s root structure.  Add the weight of a lot of ice on top of shrieking winter winds and you have the potential for a very serious problem.

Sorry, but these babies have to go.  Let’s gather some tools. (I honestly thought long and hard about the chainsaw, but I guess my smarts took over so I wouldn’t damage the tree. A reciprocating saw probably would’ve been perfect, and I tried justifying to myself why I needed to go buy that additional power tool, but decided I wouldn’t have another foreseeable use for it).

Pretty simple job.  The problem is most people don’t know it needs to be done until it’s too late.

Find a convenient place at least a few inches off the ground and make two cuts into the vines.

Then knock that chunk out of there, starving the vine into submission. A hammer is helpful here as the vine has the latch strength of a 1 year old around your leg while cooking dinner.

After a good long while the vines slowly die off. You can then pull them down.

My only regret is I didn’t think to take the opportunity to wear my Cheetah loincloth and go swinging. 

Try doing that in your HOA.

Out here? In the woods?  My woods? In The Country?  Perfectly fine.

So that’s one outdoorsy task crossed off my huge (and growing) list.  Hopefully this little bit of work ensures Sweetey Petey will only hear the pitter-patter of Rudolph’s hooves above his head, and not a massive oak tree crashing through the roof.


Question of the Day: Do you have an HOA? What’s the stupidest rule they’ve enacted?


  1. What are “the blinds?” Sounds fun!

  2. Will Joanna run the edger for you while you’re off in the woods doing manly things? Just wondering…. I also heard that Jason Vorhees got his start by using a hand saw in the woods, then moved up to a chainsaw and started chasing teenagers through cabins down by the lake. Chainsaws and hockey masks are a dangerous combination.

  3. My neighbors have a flourishing side hill of that horrible ivy that’s invaded our yard and I have to regularly go out there and cut it back to the property line and it did that same thing to a tree, and I’ve almost got it completely gone. My hubs won’t let me use a chainsaw (visions of Lorena Bobbit) so I have to use a handsaw when he’s out to sea. Good read!

  4. Oh man. HOA. They are so evil. I have one with the condo I own back in Seattle. There is this whole long drawn out story about how they tried to force me to put carpet over my hardwood floors. COVER my beautiful hardwood floors (that were there when I bought the place) with CARPET. Can you believe that? Some nonsense about how I didn’t get permission to put in the hardwood floors. All of that happened about four weeks before my wedding and I was in the process of renting it. Nightmare. HATE. HOA’s.

    • You crazy anarchist kook! How dare you even think about NOT altering your own floors, inside your own home, without getting permission from the local blue-haired old lady dictators that have nothing better to do than measure the height of each blade of your grass and figure out new ways to control you!

      Man, no joke, I’m kinda fired up right now.

      I’d like to fly to Seattle and give those Statists a piece of my mind. Maybe while wearing a loin cloth.

      I’ve never lived in an HOA, and never will. Even still, I’m so glad we moved to The Country.

  5. My Maryland townhome didn’t have an HOA, but we do here…my biggest beef is how freakin $$$ it is. Over $300 a month. Ugh.

  6. Hey, “Husband”, you omitted an important detail on the ivy removal. (didn’t we discuss the concentrated herbicides on my last visit? )
    An environmental approach would be to drive a copper nail into the vine. This will kill the ivy, or at least should! Had a similar experience with wild grape vines. Oh, and I was a bit younger then, and I DID play Tarzan!

    Otherwise, we can discuss the herbicide next visit.

    The reciprocating saw…a life saver! You never know when you’ll need to cut a limb, piece of pipe, a bolt, or even something else!

    • Great tip on the copper nail! I should’ve included it. Truth be told I didn’t spray the vine stumps mainly because I was curious as to how they’d come back. Plus there aren’t *that* many of them that I can’t keep track, and I wanted to keep herbicides away from the trees.

      I sprayed the hell out of the nasty honeysuckle I chopped down though. 🙂

      • And if you had such great fun with the wild honeysuckle, I have 2 1/2 years’ growth…besides having the local fire department come out and do a controlled burn, I am sick of that stuff! I have spent a FORTUNE on herbicides! :). Crossbow being my favorite, at $60 per container.

      • What? We sprayed stuff? Say it ain’t so. Say it ain’t so!

  7. Pingback: Building a Seed Starter Rack