July 15, 2017

Projects are not in Short Supply

I've been looking at the new flower bed beside the driveway thinking it was missing something. I finally figured out what it was, the timbers had no definition and kind of melted into the rock mulch. Then I realized that the timbers to the other flower beds around the house were stained brown, so it was time to do the same with the new timbers. Some was stained last Friday evening (7/6/17) with the leftovers from the previous projects. I had to get more stain and then I finished it up today - I'm really pleased with the added depth and definition the dark color provides. Of course, then I had to re-stain the timbers to the flower beds I put in a couple of years ago so they would all match.

Stained timbers new flower bed
Stained timbers new flower bed
Stained timbers new flower bed

I power washed the back porch and ramp then sprayed it with a eucalyptus mixture to kill mold and algae. Then with some scrubbing and a rinse, it looks much better. No pics, but it was green and now is the natural wood color again.

I still had some pea gravel left at the base of the willow tree that I needed to move for when the tree is taken down. I decided that it needed to go on the side of the house closest - under where the pellet stove exhuasts run. Weeds have finally started getting a foothold in the sandy soil over there and combustible materials should not be below the exhausts as a safety precaution. So I weeded and hoed and raked in prep. I dug a footing for landscape timbers to hold in the weed barrier and stone. But before putting the timbers in, I realized that out of the 3 timbers I have left, only two match. Great! that is all I need. But, before I got them set up, I realized those two timbers don't match the timbers in the front portion of the house, so those are on hold. However, I did get the rest of the pea gravel on the weed barrier (not enough - naturally). I'll get back to that project sooner or later, my main goal was accomplished so I called it a night at 6:15.

Pea gravel under stove pipes
Pea gravel under stove pipes

Tomorrow I mow then get to pick from a list of things that need doing. I did power wash the back side of the house at the same time as I did the porch/ramp, so I should scrape the peeling paint and then get some new paint in. We'll see . . .

Posted by Bogie on July 15, 2017 at 09:01 PM in Yard Work | Permalink | Comments (3)

Good Deads Deserve a Rest Day

Last weekend just did the chores that needed to be done; mow, laundry, dump etc. I also mowed the neighbor's front yard as his wife has been sick so he hasn't had time to take care of the yard. The grass had gotten quite high (some 4-5' high) and I had a heck of a time getting it beat down to a reasonable level using 3 passes for most of it. I exercised the old mower and used up the tank of gas that has been sitting in it since I got it home from the repair shop. Toward the back I started getting into wet areas and the mower kept stalling so I called it good. There were some pretty flowers though, so the birds and insects should be happy with it. The yellow flower spike is Common Mullein and there seem to be several uses for every part of the plant. One plant was shoulder height and another just slightly shorter.

  Mowed neighbors yard
Mowed neighbors yard
Mowed neighbors yard

I also moved the one ton of pellets left in the yard to the other side of the tree in preparation for future work in that area. But Sunday, Sunday my accomplishments were going to the grocery store and doing a load of laundry. The rest of the time I read and napped - several times :D

 

 

 

Posted by Bogie on July 15, 2017 at 08:47 PM in Yard Work | Permalink | Comments (1)

July 01, 2017

Happy Anniversary Rita

It has been 1 year since Rita joined Fuzzy, Birdie and I; I picked her up on 4th of July weekend of 2016. She has fit in well. Although Fuzzy and she aren't best buds, there isn't any annimosity and they are polite and pleasant to each other. She is my desk and bed cat - making sure I can't see the computer screen and laying between my arm pit and hip at night. She has had new experience such as going outside, which it was evident she had never been allowed to do before. Heck, until November or so of last year, she didn't even get near the door and looked indifferently on as Fuzzy went in and out.

Rita on porch walking-trnd
Rita on porch walking-trnd
Rita on porch walking-trnd

As you can tell from the blurry pictures, when I am outside she is always twining around my legs and "talking" to me. When she is not next to me, she is looking for bugs to chase. She definitely has some Siamese in her or may even be purebred Oriental Cat. Doesn't matter to me, I've been enchanted by her and am happy I can give her a good home.

Posted by Bogie on July 1, 2017 at 06:20 PM in Our Animals | Permalink | Comments (0)

Neighborhood Work

The last couple of weeks there has been work going on in the lot behind my house. Up until now it has been just a paved parking lot for some apartment buildings that are catty-corner to my property. I could tell that they were taking out trees, digging up dirt and rocks, and putting in a foundation, but I was unsure what for.

I am pretty sure it is a garage and once they started building on it this past week, the work has gone quickly. On the 27th they got the outer shell wrapped in typar.

Garage foundation next door 6-27
Garage foundation next door 6-27

Thursday they installed the roof and Friday the roof was shingled. This morning (Saturday), they put up siding.

Garage next door-far
Garage next door-far

And honestly, it will keep car lights from shining into the back windows of my house, so I'm not displeased.

I actually am happy with the color they chose; not too bright nor an intrusive color, and it does fit in well with the trees. During the winter it will stick out, but it will give a bit of cheer on dark, snowy days.

Posted by Bogie on July 1, 2017 at 05:52 PM in Life in General | Permalink | Comments (0)

Mulching

Had a guy come over and look at the willow tree this morning, for taking it out. $1200 and he'll clean it all up. Another couple of hundred to grind the stump down, but we can do that later. Also talked to him about taking down a couple of small trees in front, by my shed so that will add another couple hundred. I'm good with the prices he gave me as I assumed around 3k for the willow alone as it's in a bad place; swamp on one side, house on the other, can't go backwards for the crabapple/gardens and he'll have to have a power guy to take down the line to the front plus watch for the big-azz plum tree that part of the willow is currently leaning on in the front. No crane will be used.

Turns out I worked with his wife for 6 years (she was married to someone else at the time), so we chatted for a while about people we both knew and worked with. They are 2-3 weeks out for taking down the willow, but that is okay as out of the 6 companies I contacted (most, several times), only 2 responded. One said they don't go to my town (20 miles away) when their website clearly states "all of Hillsborough county". Ah well, at least the guy I've got is kind of local - the two most local companies didn't even respond at all.

Then I got started on hauling pea gravel that I've had tarped up for the last couple of years and is left over from several gardening projects. The tarp full is under the willow tree, on the south side of the house. I shoveled it into the 4-wheel cart and hauled it over to the new garden on the other side of the house to use as mulch. Most of the pea stone was shoveled into place although the top portion I was able to dump and rake out.

Pea gravel from front

 The area bracketed by unstaked timbers and without gravel will be ready for plants when I get them. Also kind of thinking that those two timbers need to be permanent instead of temporary for holding down the fabric. And yes, there will be a small tree or large shrub (most likely) in the vicinity of the tree rings. Just gotta decide what I want there.

Pea gravel from side

Posted by Bogie on July 1, 2017 at 05:39 PM in Yard Work | Permalink | Comments (1)

June 24, 2017

What is up Must Come Down

Monday afternoon I got home from work to find the willow tree had dropped several large branches. Although these were tops, there were several large sections that my little 12" chainsaw didn't have a prayer of cutting up.

From back porch
From back porch
From back porch
From back porch

Picture from kitchen bay window
From back porch

After having no luck getting local tree services to call me back, even after leaving a couple of messages, I resorted to begging for help from the good folks on the pellet burner / wood burner forum I frequent. Several people offered help, but most were 2 hours away. I finally accepted the offer from a guy that lives an hour away, just across the MA/NH border. Friday I had a rare evening off and cut off the smaller limbs. I filled the truck so it was ready for a dump run and still had 2 more piles that were large enough to fill the truck once each.

  Clean up from front yard
Clean up from front yard
Clean up from front yard
Clean up from front yard
Clean up from front yard

I made three dump runs this morning. The guy from the forum came early this afternoon and had the logs cut up in no time and helped straighten out the fence panels so I can once again let the cats out of the house. I made 3 more trips to the dump, and all is back to normal.

  Fishingpol straightening fence
Fishingpol straightening fence

 This picture was taken before adding the wood chunks in the next two pictures Truck full of wood 4th trip
Truck full of wood 4th trip
Truck full of wood 4th trip

However, the wood was really dry for a willow, and we found a carpenter ant nest along with woodpecker holes from the birds getting a tasty treat. So, that means it is imperative for me to get that willow taken down this summer. Now, if I could just get someone to return my calls.

Oh yeah, the insurance adjuster was here Friday morning (I remoted into work while waiting for him), climbed up to the roof and found damage to a couple of the seams so I have to call a contractor to come fix that too. The adjuster gave me a name of a general contractor that is experienced with standing seam roofs, so I will try to get a hold of that company Monday.

Posted by Bogie on June 24, 2017 at 06:46 PM in Yard Work | Permalink | Comments (3)

June 17, 2017

Beautification Project

After seeing the results of the work I had done last week, I decided that the parking area needed to be more separate from the yard behind it.Yesterday I took a vacation day and put in landscape timbers to add definition and separation. Additionally, it will help keep the bare soil from running into the hard pack of the parking area. I bless the neighbor who gave me some timbers last year as I had enough to get the 3 rows of timbers put in without having to go get more. I also had rebar left from putting in the garden at the front of the house, but naturally was two shy of what I needed.

It started raining just after putting in the last timber so I took the opportunity to go to H*me Dep*t and got 25 sections of sod and as well as rebar (who knew that no local places that sell landscape timbers actually carry in stock the means to anchor said timbers securely?). I laid the sod when I got home, in the pouring rain. Yes I was very wet and muddy when I got done :D.

Lasndscape timbers and sod-closer
Lasndscape timbers and sod-closer

Today I got a late start as the cloudy, cool day just wasn't conducive to my being ambitious. Eventually I put down the book I was reading and went to Agway to grab a few plants then went out to play in the dirt.

Long shot:

First row of plants

L-R; Leucanthumum Snow Cap aka Shasta Daisy (also in next picture), false indigo, 2 hostas (the one in front is so far homeless), and creeping phlox in the background. Unseen behind the phlox are a couple of iris that I still had from a batch that Cop Car had sent a couple of years ago. The phlox has been in an overwintering bed for at least 2 years.


First row of plants

L-R; Hosta, two Veronicas, False Indigo, Leucanthumum. Way in the back are, so far unplanted, day lilies that have also been in an overwintering bed for a couple of years.


First row of plants

I also took extra soil and cut in around the pieces of sod, so now it looks like a patchwork quilt. But the edges should hold moisture to help it fill in between the sections.


First row of plants

If it wasn't threatening rain all weekend, and into Tuesday, I would have been moving pellets into the basement and garage. But I am happy with the progress of the yard, so am not complaining.

PS - Hey Cop Car if you still have irises that need a new home, I have room now :)

Posted by Bogie on June 17, 2017 at 08:44 PM in Yard Work | Permalink | Comments (6)

June 10, 2017

New Look for the driveway

I decided to widen the driveway a little as well as make it so I can back the truck to the shed during winter without having to snow blow an extra 20 feet of berm that the town's street plow leaves at the side of the road. This meant getting rid of the lilac tree and the forsythia. Additionally, I wanted the two stumps pulled, one on either side of the driveway, from the cedars I had cut down in 2014.

I hired a local guy who does hardscaping as an evening/weekend job. He started on Monday after I left for my night job and he worked in the never ending rain. This is what I came homer to (before and after pic shown)

Driveway head on - before
Driveway head on - before

Mound of dirt from rocks-stumps gone


He did not get to work on Tuesday as it was raining even harder, but he resumed the work removing the rocks that were jumbled at the side of the driveway. By Friday it had really taken shape and everything was done except bringing in hard pack to fill in between the retaining wall and asphalt, as well as a "parking pad".

Rough rock wall
Rough rock wall
Rough rock wall

Today he finished up so that the hardpack is down and he even brought in a load of loam to lay over the areas of disturbed dirt. I no longer have to pick which side of the truck I can access if I need to back up to the garage door (like this afternoon when I brought home some plywood). And now, the truck is on the parking pad so I can move the car out of the garage in the morning without shuffling vehicles.

Parking pad
Parking pad

Oh, and added bonus, after complaining thru their website about the propane tank STILL being there, they came and picked it up on Wednesday so the view from the back porch is much better. Today I spent some time digging a trench to remove the 25 feet of gas line from where the tank had been and the house. Then, of course, I filled the trench back in and used a tamper to solidify the ground.

Propane tank gone

So now, planting stuff in the area cleared during the driveway renovation is hopefully, coming soon.

Posted by Bogie on June 10, 2017 at 08:56 PM in House Work | Permalink | Comments (2)

June 03, 2017

Take a Good Look

Posting before pictures. Going to have some work done so it won't look like this much longer. The work that is to be done will leave it looking rather shocking, but I am going for better functionality so don't say I didn't warn you.

Driveway head on - before
Driveway head on - before

Posted by Bogie on June 3, 2017 at 09:25 PM in Yard Work | Permalink | Comments (3)

New Plants and Old Trees

So last weekend these two azaleas followed me home from Agway and they smelled so good that I kept them :)

To the left is Mandarin Lights and to the right is Gibralter. I planted them on Sunday in that spot just switched. They are under the willow tree but will get plenty of filtered afternoon light so should do well.

Manderin Lights and Gibralter Azaleas

I never got to see the crabapple in full bloom this year even though it promised to be spectacular. Just before the full show we had very high winds that blew all the petals off. So last weekend, the Black Cherry put on a nice show. The first two pictures were taken on Saturday and the next two were taken on Tuesday - a rare sunny day.

Black Cherry blooms
Black Cherry blooms
Black Cherry blooms
Black Cherry blooms

A-N-D, the poison ivy is back. Fortunately it looks like my vigilant spraying last year knocked most of it back and there are just a few plants showing their faces. Some in spots where it wasn't before and some in places that were heavily infested. These pictures were taken last weekend but I found two more plants today in the front yard where it was so bad.

In the first picture the dark green plant is poison ivy - in a new spot.

Poison ivy and other look alikes-sm
Poison ivy and other look alikes-sm

Still rainy, dark and cold most days with just a few hours of sun thrown in every 4-5 days just to tease us. The main floor pellet stove is firing on a regular basis in the early morning hours. There is standing water all along the edges of the property and some of my water loving plants are looking like they are ready to throw in the towel. So, all is normal here with little challenges on every front - but that is better than having huge challenges so I'll take it.

 

EDIT AT 9:15 - Saw tow lightning bugs - besides flowers, nothing says summer is coming like seeing those bugs at night!

Posted by Bogie on June 3, 2017 at 09:02 PM in Yard Work | Permalink | Comments (2)