The first thing to tackle was cleaning up all the leaves, garbage and other crap that had blown into the yard over the winter, in addition to cleaning up the mess from the roofers that were here a few weeks prior. Sadly, the roofers did not clean up after themselves like they said they would, I will make a long story short, but due to all the trouble we had with the roofing company and poor quality of work and customer service, I gave up on them and decided to clean up the debris myself. Next I cut in the edges of the flower bed in the back to tidy things up. I had attempted to do this last year, but once things get growing it's a much more difficult job, so this is the time to do it. I will be getting some brick or stone edging to keep things neat and tidy.
Another slightly smaller tree had to be removed, this one appears to have been a random tree that sprouted from a seed that landed in between some rocks between our shed and the neighbors fence. It was about ten feet tall and looked healthy as anything, so it was another unfortunate thing to have to remove it, but there was no way it could be left, and again, no way it could be removed and relocated, I couldn't even find the base of the trunk, never mind roots! In place of these trees I will be planting some bushes and other plants that are more suited to the yard. As much as I would like a big tree in the backyard, the yard itself is just a bit too small for any trees with the potential for major growth.
There are signs of life in the garden, and I am so glad to see that the hellish winter did not kill everything off (like I thought it would). Seriously, the winter was relentless. Usually if we get snow there is a time when things melt away a bit before we get another dump of snow, but not this year. Anytime the snow started to evaporate even slightly, we would get another dump of snow. With each new snow storm, the previous snow compacted and became rock hard ice, encasing and flattening everything. At this time all of the snow and ice is gone in the yard and some of the hardiest plants are coming back to life.
...and who would believe?! The giant dandelion that taunted me last summer in the rock garden is back (I suppose it never went away). I could never get it out, since it is rooted under one of the largest rocks. Here it is, already green and casting a shadow over my little rock-dwellers!