a couple of weeks back, we decided to start our landscaping in earnest. the first step was to get the 7-foot tall weeds mowed down so we could see what we were dealing with. We rented a tractor from the local rental place to do the job quickly: (you can only see a bit of it sticking up, but there is also several thousand pounds of broken up concrete in the back of my truck that came from removing the back steps so we could build the deck). after getting the tractor unstuck from the ditch, the mowing went pretty quickly. so quickly that we decided to do a little more 'tractoring'. i cleared the area across the ravine (including cutting down some trees that had fallen during previous windstorms). in the backyard, i was able to scrape back the edges of the yard up to theedge of the ravine and it added quite a bit of room for the yard. in the farthest north corner, i was also able to clear quite a large area that had been previously overgrown with brush and thistles. now that the areas are cleared, now it is time to have some one (professional) come in and level everything out so we can get started putting in the grass, plantings, walls, walkways, etc.