more jungle taming

Our front yard before the Jones crew descended upon it.IMG_1292After eight hours of sweat, we were left with this…. IMG_1274Time to take down those trees that were too big, too close to the neighbor’s house, too risky, etc, for us to take on ourselves.  When Harpo is determing if he can take a tree down, I know he’s not sure of himself when he says to me, “You’ve got good home insurance, right?” And that’s when I say, “I think we leave this one to the professionals.” We decided to hire a professional tree service to cut down the last six trees. Anyone who has hired a tree service knows this is not cheap. Anyone who knows Dean and I, we are cheap. You better believe we shopped for the best deal. For those who have never had to hire a tree service before, I offer these tips:

  • Consult bbb.org – In my opinion, BBB is the who’s who of quality companies. I don’t even consider a service provider if they do not have an A+ rating by the BBB;
  • Ask neighbors, friends, coworkers – We actually ended up using a company recommended by a friend*;
  • Get estimates – three to four estimates will give you a good idea of what the tree removal will cost;
  • Ask about stump grinding – When the tree is cut down you are left with the stump and the roots. If you are wanting to plant anything in that space you will need the stump removed. Stump grinding can be costly so ask the company to include that in the estimate so you have an idea as to what it will cost;
  • Make sure the company has adequate insurance – If a tree falls through the neighbor’s roof, you better be ready for some awkward non-neighborly interaction;
  • If you have a fireplace ask them to cut the tree in to manageable sized logs. They won’t necessarily slice/split the logs in to neat little sticks for you, but they will cut them to a size that you can roll or carry. Save the firewood for a year and let it thoroughly dry out before you burn it (wow I sound like my dad right now). Green (meaning it has not completely dried out) firewood does not burn well. It will smoke like crazy and then you will be annoyed because you can’t see or breathe. And then I will have to say I TOLD YOU SO (which I actually love to say, so yeah, go ahead and burn that firewood prematurely). Be patient and stack that firewood to the side for twelve long months and thank me later.
    • Also, people pay money for firewood. I’ve seen it at our local grocery store for $10/stack! So if you don’t have a fireplace and want to make a little profit, sell it for some cold hard cash. Or set it aside and call me and I will come load up my Chevy Impala family-sized sedan with all the firewood you’ve got.

These all may seem obvious (or overkill), but we had a lot of questions when we went through this process so I wanted to share. Though I’m fairly certain only my family is reading this blog right now and they are all saying, “Duh Kim, we taught you everything you know.” But maybe a new homeowner out there will find this useful. Especially if you do not have a “Harpo” to teach you these things!

*For those in the STL area, we hired County Tree Service and were very pleased with the price and work.

Though it was expensive (around $2800 for six trees and stump grinding), it was great to have the backyard opened up. Wonder if our neighbors are glad that we can make direct eye contact now. Ha – of course they are! Here are a few before/after pictures of the backyard (and our neighbor’s yard).

Back yard trees before….

IMG_1488Backyard after (and that precious cherry firewood that’s gonna smell so good when we burn it this winter!)IMG_1532

3 thoughts on “more jungle taming

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