Hey, John, What Does the Front of Your House Look Like At the Moment?

It’s funny you should ask. It looks like this:

It looks that way because as part of the 2010 Spend Money On The House Initiative, we’re redoing the landscaping around the house, and before you can put the new stuff in, you have to take the old stuff out. So we’ve hired professionals to that, because if I did that, in about five minutes I’d be reduced to an overheated pudding of Back Thrown Out, mewling in a puddle of my own I-Should-Never-Have-Left-the-House-ness. I’ll let the pros handle it. Look, they even brought their own back hoe! Clever folks.

This will look much less de-foresty in a couple of days. Honest.

35 Comments on “Hey, John, What Does the Front of Your House Look Like At the Moment?”

  1. Oooh, I hope you put some aquilegia and Armeria maritima in when you are done, maybe you could plant a couple of lingonberries too.

    These plants need more love IMNSHO.

  2. an overheated pudding of Back Thrown Out, mewling in a puddle of my own I-Should-Never-Have-Left-the-House-ness

    When I bought my house 6 years ago, the yard had no landscaping at all. I had to get rid of weeds the size of small trees, try to flatten out the yard and lay the sod. I got help from all of my friends (who have all since moved away – my fault?) but this is exactly how I felt at the end of every day of the Summer of Sod. My wife and I have sworn that we will never do major work on our yard ourselves again. Good call hiring the pros.

  3. Hiring professionals with a back hoe is probably a much more effective landscaping strategy than combating nature armed with a trowel.

  4. I’ll bet if you slip them a $20 $50 they’ll let you drive the backhoe. You can pretend you’re a Transformer.

  5. You realize that the cats will now have to mark their territory all over again? They are going to be most upset…

  6. Backhoes are like the world’s best power tool. They are a huge amount of fun right up until the point when (not if… when) you tip it over and have to call the rental place/amused professional landscapers to come help set it upright again.

    What? No, I’m absolutely not speaking from personal experience, why would you even ask?

    Ah well, manual labor is more of an observational sport than a participatory one. It’s tough being the supervisor, really it is.

  7. Isn’t backbreaking labor in extreme heat the whole point of having kids, so that they can do it? That was my parents philosophy. They needed post holes dug, so they handed me a post hole shovel and sent me on my way. As a bonus they recruited any of my friends that came over to see me.

  8. Isn’t backbreaking labor in extreme heat the whole point of having kids, so that they can do it?

    I don’t think so. My dad clearly and repeatedly said that he had kids because our TV didn’t have a remote control.

  9. One of the big selling points of our condo was minimal yardwork. And even that was too much, so we hired a “gardener” to come by every Saturday for an hour or so, to do the upkeep. Every six months he trims our trees, to keep the HOAs off our back.

    It’s not that I’m lazy, it’s just that I have higher priorities on my ongoing “to-do” list — I swear!

  10. Backhoes are a wonderful tool. I had one for a couple years when the house was new and we were working on our landscaping. It’s been gone for a while now and I miss it. Everytime I pick up a shovel, a little tear comes…

  11. AP Dateline Rural Ohio: Newly installed SFWA President John Scalzi shows off the Serf Stimulus Package funded Extreme Moat Containment construction project at his presidential compound. Scalzi is quoted as saying, “You just wish it contained such mundane guardians as alligators and electric eels.”

    Dr. Phil

  12. 1. Backhoes — It’s all fun and games until you cut your buried cable and your modem goes dead.

    2. Before you let the landscapers plant one single twig, make sure that every square inch of land slopes away from your house.

    3. A drip watering system with a timer will make it a lot easier to keep your new plantings health through a midwest summer.

  13. Ah, but that moat may contain mega-flying-piranhas. They get up to speed in the water, then go for vertical leap.

    Think bad SyFy movie.

    Dr. Phil

  14. Dr. Phil@19: “mega-flying-piranhas”

    I think the moat will have sharks with frickin’ lasers on their heads. That’ll wipe the smile right off of that clown sweater. Besides, everyone knows that any creature with kitten DNA is easily distracted by lasers.

  15. You know most men would jump at the opportunity to use power equipment unsupervised.

  16. A one family stimulis package. Nice.
    MMMmmm, mini heavy equipment. Bwa hahaha! I know where the water and gas main are, honest.

  17. I bet those shrubs have been there forever, making the use of the backhoe essential. Taking out a shrub like that with a shovel is not fun, especially in the heat right now. Good luck. It’ll be great when you’re done.

  18. Along the lines of Raynre @17’s suggestion –

    Seeing the photo, I immediately thought of my friends in the suborbital reusable vertical take off and landing rocketry field, at Armadillo Aerospace and Masten Space Systems.

    There’s nothing like a thousand-plus pound thrust hovering rocket engine post-hole digger, stump remover, and high-volume shovel. They’ll turn concrete and steel landing pads into lava (very low altitude hovering has been restricted by both teams because patching the pads was such a pain).

    The current ones are extremely stable and precise (can climb up to several thousand feet along a vertical line, staying within inches of the theoretical line up and down) and resistant to upsets and control disturbances (see for example: http://media.armadilloaerospace.com/2009_04_25/2009_04_25_Methane_hover_tug-o-war_test.wmv )

    I heartily endorse this product and/or service for lawn and garden work!

  19. Yum, yum, new shrubs. Thank you Mr. homeowner.

    p.s. Does that bear-thing sleep inside at night?

  20. Are you sure it is landscaping and not preparing to tear your house down to build a freeway bypass? Cause that often leads to unfortunate adventures requiring a towel. Best to keep on handy until the backhoe is gone, just in case.

  21. One big advantage to living where you do is the cost of living. I live in Northern Virginia. It looks like you have atleast 2 acres. That with a decent house would probably run upwards of $2 million around here.

    It is sweat having that much land.

  22. Old shrubs being replaced = good thing. Lack of shade trees = sad thing. Is this in the replacement plans?

  23. per crayonbaby: “I bet those shrubs have been there forever.”

    Yes, but I’m with Greg and PeterM. Those poor shrubs were minding their own business, causing no harm and, in fact contributing to the cycle of life through photosynthesis. Suddenly, they are ripped from their beds by some hideously murderous mechanoid and then fed into a chipper, their lives ended on the whim of a power hungry biped, who thinks that a little influence in the literary world somehow gives him the power of life and death over those less mobile than himself.

    Worse, the new plants will settle in for a few years, thinking they are as lucky as a deciduous can get, only to suffer the same fate.

  24. Well, some people are happy with a lawn the size of a small European principality, and more power to ’em.

    I’d go for a couple of fruit trees, myself, on the sunny side of the house. Shade, with bonus fruit! And a garden large enough to justify my own backhoe, because everybody needs a backhoe.

    But it ain’t my yard. :D

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