I had plans today. I was going to work on the dress-up magician’s tunic that my boy sweetly asked me to make. He had very specific parameters: green with purple stripes on the sleeves, knee-length, full sleeves, plain neck, gold belt with lots of pockets. And another in purple, please, no stripes. Well, my plan was to work on the tunics.

My husband had another plan. Tree removal. Several very tall poplars have been leaning ever closer to our house, the closest ones further destabilized by ancient grape vines. Okay, not ancient, just big. Big enough for my five foot tall 11-year-old to sit on, hammock-style. Well, both the poplars and the grape vines are gone. Felled is a better word, because they are very much still present. One day of felling trees = several weeks worth of cutting and hauling tree trunks and burning brush.

Happily (and possibly miraculously), no people, animals or structures were injured in the tree cutting. Neighbors came to help, either by climbing ladders, supervising or guessing which way that tree would fall if cut on this side. Some trees surprised us, falling the wrong way. There was some collateral damage when all the branches were sheared off one side of a red pine that we had meant to keep. Oh, well.

Nine trees cut, but many spared. Red maple, swamp white oak and hickory trees have a little more room. The house has a little more light and is no longer in harm’s way. Success.

A bonus : we found the first spring snake today, a 12-inch garter, the kind with yellow stripes. After a brief, failed attempt to “collect” snakes last year we are now strictly catch and release when it comes to reptiles. I am scared of snakes, but my kids love them, especially Oscar. This works well. If I see a slithery fella, I scream and my son comes to remove the offending snake to a safe area. They always come back though, and they love my mint patch. I walk through very, very cautiously. Just one more reason to be ever mindful.