The other side of the fence

When my dear wife Karen was pulling weeds and sprucing the spot we call our backyard butterfly garden behind the Little Bitty in the Syracuse city neighborhood of Eastwood, Good Neighbor Tim saw her from his side of the fence.

She was struggling with the stuff coming over from the dead spot behind.

He offered advice and a couple of pair of loppers to make her job easier.

And when he saw me later, he told me his plan to help. I had to take the thick growth down or it would eventually knock over my fence. He was sure of it. He had the tools and would join me.

I signed off on it all except the Roundup part. Karen already had voiced her fear that rainfall would carry the weed-killer under and disturb the root system of her cherished good stuff, the butterfly bushes and other great plant life that fill that gated triangle.

My loppers and water for the job.

My loppers and water for the job.

The next morning I pulled out my own large looper and walked through Tim and his wonderful wife Lorraine’s backyard to the dreaded jungle. He popped out their side door, sprinted to their garage, and grabbed his small, medium and huge loppers, too.

Hover over a gallery photo to find a description. Click on an image for an enlarged slide show.

I worked my way in clipping, using all the tools. I handed the branches back out to Tim. Lorraine came out and started piling. Karen joined us for bagging in their driveway.

The loppers were no match for the thickest tree, which Tim identified as a thorny Poplar. He retrieved a long-handled, angled saw, and I took that baby down.

Poplar, done.

Poplar, done.

The poplar trunk was several inches thick. I know I hadn’t been behind this fence since we’d replaced it when Ellie B was a pup. She’s 5 years old now.

When we were done, Tim asked if I was going to blog about our shared adventure. Of course, I said, thanking them profusely for their help. I lamented how I had not thought of taking a before photo.

To the waste station you will go.

To the waste station you will go.

Quick thinking led me to an After After photo of the bags we’d stuffed with the green branches I’d cut down behind that fence, the young trees that Tim could see from his yard that made him worry they’d knock down our barrier.

We took more of Tim and Lorraine’s advice, and piled the bags into the back of Karen’s Mazda to take to the County waste station ourselves because pick-up day was three weeks away.

Tim and Lorraine on their side of the fence.

Tim and Lorraine on their side of the fence.

But before that, I snapped one more shot. I needed a photo of Great Neighbors Tim and Lorraine with their lovely garden. Yes, a view from their pretty side of the fence.

What may you have lopped lately? What other words can you offer that sound exactly right for the jobs they do? What lies beyond your fences?

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17 thoughts on “The other side of the fence

  1. Cool post Mark and an interesting double fence set up. That would be a challenge to maintain. It is excellent that you have a good neighbor. They look so happy and cheerful.
    Well, I’m what you call a lopper hopper. Bwahaha! it has been some years since I had a yard to maintain Mark. The last yard I had had to maintain had two main plant foci. The first was a 10 foot cedar hedge that ran along our East property line from the curb back to a fence between the two houses. The second was a huge old maple tree that lived in the center of the front yard.For some years I didn’t touch either and the hedge grew fluffy and the tree branches got lower and lower, inhibiting our enjoyment of the front yard. So,my wife and I discussed it and I got the go-ahead to invest in a substantial hedge trimmer. After visiting Home Depot, I began to trim. The hedge was first and with its height I had to jump up and down swinging the trimmer to reach the higher branches – I should have gotten a ladder. When I was done I realized that I had created a giant wave. I had not used a string or any other method to make sure I stayed straight. Oh, well, we now had an art piece in the front yard. 🙂 Then I started on the tree. The lower limbs were easy but again I had to hop up and down to get the higher branches. My wife was watching out the window and she opened the door and asked what I was doing. I replied that I was trimming the tree. Of course she wondered if all the hopping up and down was necessary. She suggested a ladder – that would li,ely have been an improvement. ha!

    But we got ‘er all done! just call me the hopping lopper.

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  2. lopper is exactly the right name for that tool. seems like i’m always chopping, digging or pulling little things around my yard, though i’ve yet to lop. never say never….p.s. your neighbors look really nice )

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    • The lopper is one of my favorite pieces of yard equipment, Beth. It can take down a forest! Well, a skinny forest. 🙂 Chopping, digging and pulling are less fun than lopping. And my neighbors are really nice. I’m quite lucky.

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    • Loppers are lovely, I agree, CM! I threw some detritus over to the OTHER neighbors’ side of the chain-link fence, too, because they refuse to maintain their trees and plants.

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      • Ha! That’s exactly what I did with the lopped off branches. I figure they came from her overgrowth and her side of the fence, and I promised at one point to always throw back anything that landed in my yard (when I was still speaking to her), so over the fence those branches went. Not that she would even notice any lopped off branches among the overgrowth.

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