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What a difference $250 makes...

The gardener came by while I was at work.

I was just blown away at the difference. You don't realize just how bad things get until they're completely cleared away.

Nearly TWENTY cans and bags of yard waste along the side of the house. Thank God for curbside recycling!

Where the clover had grown the deepest, there are now large bare patches. I sprayed the entire lawn with a bottle of liquid "weed & feed" to encourage the grass and discourage the clover. I may see about buying a small bag of grass seed and trying to resow the area to give things a jump start.

When I got home, there were crows all over the back yard. That means the gardener must have stirred up the bugs, so I also sprayed some insecticide over the lawn and on the badly neglected orange tree. (The trees bear more fruit than I can use, so it's either given to the neighbors or it rots. Unfortunately, no neighbors have asked for any fruit, probably because they were as scared of the yard as I was, and I didn't have the gardener to go through and clean up the fallen fruit)