"Trim a little on the sides, please..."
They had grown and now were tangled into the oak tree limbs.
The fence was no longer visible. It was time to have A-Z Tree Service come by my house again.
Sonny Nguyen brought his small army of trained trimmers.
Just like 4 years ago when they cut back an overactive cedar tree - and three oaks - they were in and out in about an hour and a half.
What a team. How synchronized they are.
The men fed a steady stream of branches and limbs into its maw.
This time we needed a cherry-picker to make sure cut tree pieces did not crash down on my new car port.
"You didn't have that the last time we were here," Sonny said.
His estimate included a 'picker and the experience trimmer guy in the bucket with his chainsaw.
I did move my car out of the way just in case.
Heavy branches were not cut until he had them tied to a strong rope he had strung from above.
He knew the leverage it would take to swing it away from the shiny steel roof of my car cover.
These oak branches had been growing closer and closer to the side of the house.
Even a mild breeze could make them move and I did not want anything rubbing the house or the roof.
The tree will bloom out again but a roof or siding would cost quite a bit to replace.
And matching the repairs to blend in would be challenging.
Looks like I have years of breathing room now, all around the house.
As heavy lower limbs were removed, you could almost see the leaning oak tree shrug itself more upright.
Men and machines attacked the overgrowth.
Pulling and tugging.
Slashing with smaller chainsaws.
Branches being fed into the chipper. Thick limbs being cut down to manageable-sized logs.
Men with saw blades at the end of long poles were hacking away at the resisting vines and weeds that had intermingled with the planted shrubs.
The battle was being won as the chipper kept humming and multiple chainsaws roared.
Men on the ground maneuvered the heavy branches to others who cut and made them smaller.
Wheelbarrows were filled with loads of short, thick logs and trundled to the back of a truck to be hauled away.
The yard was beginning to take shape. Reclaiming it.
Earlier, using my new small electric chainsaw, I had cut down three clusters of smaller trees but the stumps still stuck up.
A stump grinder was included in the planning and its diamond-tipped blades chewed the roots down to below grade.
Would have taken me days and an aching back to dig those out.
Let the man with the specialized tool do the job.
The small tall trees I had removed had grown up into the electric and cable wires coming to my house. They had to go.
I made sure that my saw and I never got close to the dangerous wires.
Good to see the clear space around them as we come into a season* when high winds are not out of the question.
I had taken out other trees and bushes that were growing in front of the bedroom my mom had used.
She had said she liked them - despite the bees that swarmed each year when the white flowers bloomed.
Mom, who was in her 90s, said she didn't want anyone peeking into her window.
I think she would have been impressed with the job we did on the yard.
It was neat, more open and less danger of limbs falling and banging against the house.
(Click on the photos for more details.)
Sonny and his crew came to my job on Friday, the 4th of July.
He said they had finished one in Ravenel before mine and were on their way to another one or two.
He already had the cherry-picker handy and if stumps needed to be removed, he had that ready as well.
His convoy of trucks lumbered away after two men with leaf-blowers had tidied up the sawdust and leaves that littered the yard.
I'm sure the squirrels will be disappointed with the changes we made.
They especially love my pecan tree.
* Locally, we don't talk much about Hurricane Hugo which roared ashore in 1989.
It comes up every year when the "H" Season begins but nothing to match it has happened here since.
My folks rode out the storm in this house but lost 9 pine trees.
The photo shows a rather large fallen tree in 1989, being cut into manageable pieces to be hauled away.
Note the small palmetto tree to the left and the
young magnolia on the right.
That same section of the yard shows up today in my view of that corner from the front porch.
Both trees have come a long way in 25 years.