It is spring clean-up time here at St. Anthony’s. Last spring, the residents were spending the COVID lockdown cleaning up the multitude of tree limbs that winter storms had snapped off of the pine trees in front. The clean-up efforts last year netted six very large brush piles that were chopped into mulch once JustBob returned in June.

Although this year’s mild winter caused very little damage, there is still plenty of work to do. The best time to work on outdoor projects is in spring before grass cutting becomes a weekly chore or in fall after the grass stops growing. Minimal snowfall and early warm weather made it possible to get to outdoor work sooner than many years, so why not take advantage of Mother Nature’s gracious gifts.

On Monday, a friend of St. Anthony’s was here clearing out some of the underbrush in the woods. The week before, the same clearing work was done on the west side of the back yard, between the cemetery and old basketball court. Clearing out the underbrush is necessary work and good stewardship of our woods: it removes invasive species like buckthorn; it reduces fire danger by removing potentially quick-burning fuel; it helps keep the trees healthy and strong; and it makes the woods more aesthetically pleasing. With 40 acres of grounds and much of it wooded, the project is far from completed, but every little bit helps.

Another project involved the removal of four rather large pine trees along the driveway and two smaller pine trees near the woods out front. The trees were all dead and needed to come down, preferably safely and at a time of our choosing. Last week step one was accomplished and the trees were safely cut down. On Wednesday, JustBob, Tracy and Terry P. started cutting off the limbs and cutting the trunks into large sections for milling. The cut limbs were piled together and will eventually be turned into mulch just as last year. The trunk sections were stacked together in the lower parking lot where they wait to be picked up and taken to the mill.

There is never any shortage of work to do, whether inside or outside, but the warm, dry days make it hard to keep JustBob and Tracy in the house. So while the work is hard, and the muscles are sore, it is not difficult to understand the attraction to working outside in nature, embraced by fresh air and sunshine.

For Mother Nature’s gracious gifts of dry days, warm temperatures, fresh air and sunshine that make outdoor work possible and more enjoyable, we say Deo Gratias!