Meet my friend the pole trimmer thingie. I highly advise anyone with a tree to get one of these. Makes pruning back branches a snap. Literally. That rope you see dangling attaches to a sharp set of pinchers and one good tug on the rope snaps off small branches as easy as you please. If even I could do it, you know it must be easy. I had to pass on the highest of branches as I wasn't brave enough to get up on a ladder while doing this. I also didn't use the saw blade on bigger branches. But even so, the tree looks much nicer now.
Other things I did included putting in pepper and zucchini plants. Which the rabbits found very quickly. *sigh*. They also found the new flowers I put in. So I picked up this spray stuff that I call the bunny blaster. In theory, Peter, Thumper and the gang don't like this stuff (it does stink) and will avoid the flowers. Not that I don't believe in their advertising, but I also made an attempt to block their more obvious exits and entrances. In this I had to get creative. A few large stones wedged between fence slats, a long metal thing (I have no idea what it was doing behind the shed) wedged into the fence behind the shed, and (I got creative, here) a metal grill from an old bar-b-que grill in front of the more ominous looking gap. Looks tacky and probably won't work. But at least I'm being proactive.
My butterfly bush bit the dust this year. They are supposed to be virtually maintenance free; not mine. Mine needed special attention every single year and last year it was just pitiful. This year, there was an initial attempt at new growth before it just gave up and died. Well, I did have a few good years out of it. I replaced it with a Persian lilac. You might get to see pictures if I don't kill it off. I also got the grass in the back yard cut (hint: lawn mowers start much easier when they have enough gas in them) and even weedwhacked the edges. It looks pretty good now. Except where Bambi's buddy went after the flowers. FYI, they are fond of scabiosa and osteospermum (which is not a seed with a bad back). Who knew? Okay, I'm moving on now.
I also got out the leaf blower and tried to clean up the old patio a bit. Oak leaves had piled up along the foundation and between the house and the shed. Curiously there are no oak trees on this side of the house. At all. It's all flowering cherry and pine. So where did all the oak leaves come from? I have no idea. It was pretty bad, though, and we've been having problems with ants so I figured getting the dead leaves away from the foundation was a good start. Following which I went along the wall and patio with my trusty bug blaster. We'll see.