$1 for 3 months
$1 for 3 months

Cutting my way through winter

The Examiner

If it weren’t for the grandkids, I’d seriously consider moving to a warmer climate. Being cooped up inside is almost more than I can handle.

I assigned myself several tasks to take my mind off of the fact it's winter, we’re in a pandemic and then, to top it off, I just turned 60.

Sandy Turner

Since I already planned what’s going in the garden, I needed something else to occupy my green thumb, which was about to resort to watering plastic plants, just for something to do. With several days of spring-like weather, I was tempted to put some plants in the ground, but I'm not that crazy to forget Mother Nature is capable of a 70-degree swing in temperature, in just 24 hours.

Several years ago I tackled the berm, which separates the street from the acreage. Everything from trees to unnamed bushes, the more than 300-foot bank had eventually grown to be 10- feet tall and it needed to be cleaned up. At first he said it would be too much work, and by now you’d think he’d know better. Nothing will get me going more than the words, "it can't be done," as I’ll do everything in my power to prove him wrong.

Since I’m not allowed to use the hub's power tools, he spent quality time cutting everything down to the ground while I followed along applying Tordon on the stumps so they’d never grow back. That next spring we planted over 300 ivy plants and after three summers worth of picking out the weeds, so the ivy could take over, the project is complete.

I knew he wouldn't even consider letting me loose with the chainsaw, and, since I want to keep all my limbs, it’s probably a good decision. When I told him I intended to tackle another project, I think he was just humoring me when he handed over the Sawzall and extra batteries. Before his rotator cuff surgery he had dropped three thorn trees, and the more I walked past the mess of limbs and thorns, the more irritated I became. (Maybe I took advantage of the fact he’s in pain and can’t move his arm, but a woman’s got to do what a woman’s got to do … right?)

Whenever there's a break in the weather, I've been cutting and dragging limbs to the burn pile. After four days of sawing, I limped back to the house, holding my back, with my arms and hands numb from using the Sawzall, and had only cleaned up one tree. It was the moment he'd been waiting for. As he eyeballed his Sawzall, with the second bent blade, he said, “It’s just too much for you to do alone.”

Just what I needed to fire me up. I plastered a smile on my face, straightened my crooked back, and said, “It will all be done before your right arm is allowed to move again.”

Not sure what will give out first – my back, the Sawzall or my pride. I should be happy as it’s going to be nice weather this week, but I was kind of hoping for snow.

Sandy Turner lives in Independence. Email her at