August 05, 2017

Yard Art

After the doings from last Sunday morning (see previous post), I went to Tractor Supply to get cat food. I always have to wonder around and see what they have and have lusted after some yard art 6' tall metal windmills in the dark bronze color that I favor. I even knew exactly where one would go. However, I was not willing to shell out what they wanted, so I have always just looked.

Well, last Sunday they had a sale and although the windmill I really wanted was only $10 off, another was $25 off. The only difference between them was the motif (I wanted the horse, the cheaper had choice of doves/rooster). Ah well, not like I was going to be looking at the tail of the windmill much anyway. So, after much internal debate, I grabbed a cart and the windmill made its way to my car.

After getting groceries and putting them away, I started putting together the windmill. And in short order, I had it in place.

Windmill full picture-trnd
Windmill full picture-trnd

Blades are turning slowly in this pic - not that you can tell.
Windmill full picture-trnd
Windmill full picture-trnd

Naturally, we have had perfectly still days for the last week. So still that 80 degrees feels much hotter. So, I'm guessing we won't have any wind until I have to take it down for the winter.

Oh, and at the base of it is a whole bunch of the iris from Cop Car that I planted Saturday afternoon (use your imagination since they are just rhizomes right now).

Posted by Bogie on August 5, 2017 at 05:28 PM in Yard Work | Permalink | Comments (4)

July 23, 2017

Timber

Thursday night I came home to this at the side of my house

Tree truck front

 

The willow is about 2" out of the shot - on the right hand side.


Tree truck front

Talented driver - I am proud to be able to get the Explorer in there :)

Tree truck front

Friday afternoon, the willow was but a memory.

Willow stump

 

That is a large shrub pot for size comparison.


Willow stump
Willow stump

 

Posted by Bogie on July 23, 2017 at 07:38 AM in Yard Work | Permalink | Comments (2)

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 (5)

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

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 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)

April 22, 2017

New Power Equipment

You might remember how my snow blower died in the middle of one of the biggest storms of this past winter - and how I was relegated to shoveling a wet, heavy 15-17" of snow. I was determined to take advantage of end of season sales, did research for weeks (I research everything to death), and on 4/11 found a deal I just couldn't pass up. Not only was the price right, but HD was offering free shipping too. SOLD!

Yesterday I got home just as the delivery guy was closing the garage door after depositing the pallet holding my prize. There is a slight bit of assembly to do - install the chute and the chute controller, but I have at least 6 months to do so. I am extremely happy with the heaviness of it - no plastic parts there. It is slightly bigger, a lot stronger, and can leap tall buildings, has a slightly larger chute rotation range, and should prove more capable chewing thru berms and heavy, wet snow than my broken snow blower.

Snow blower side shot
Snow blower side shot
Snow blower side shot

I will have a whole new set of controls to get used to, but if that is my biggest issue I will be a happy camper. It is a SnowTek, which is an off-branded Ariens, and it is rated as one of the heavier duty work-horses in its class (and the reviews rave about it). About the only way I could have gotten better was to go to much larger.

Snow blower controls

And, you probably don't remember that I broke my mower at the end of last summer. I have been perusing CL the last month or so to see if I could find a good used unit. Last Sunday night I came across the ideal - the same size cutting width, somewhat larger motor, the same brand and type as my old mower, 2 years old and slightly used - at about what it would cost to bring the old mower back to fighting shape. I emailed the seller within 3 hours of his posting the ad and asked if I could pick it up that night. I explained I couldn't pick it up during the week because of working days and nights.

Seems he has a soft spot for people with multiple jobs since he has done that for a lot of his adult life. So, he offered to hold it for me until Saturday morning despite the fact that a lot of people were interested (he actually under priced it as far as I was concerned). I picked it up at 8 this morning and am now the proud owner of this mulching, FWD, self-propelled, one pull starting beauty

New mower in truck
New mower in truck

In talking to the guy his MIL bought it 2 years ago, used it a couple of times then hired a lawn service, who used their own mowers. She then moved to Florida over the winter and asked him to either buy it from her or sell it for her in the spring. He had already gotten a new mower, so it was spring and time to sell. It certainly looks as if it has only been used a couple of times, and we started it before loading it in the Explorer, and it did indeed start in one pull (as it should). The controls are exactly like the old mower, so no new thing-a-ma-jigs to learn on this one.

I will get the old mower fixed since I am reasonably certain I know what is wrong, plus it needs a new blade and tune up. The old mower is a 5.75 instead of a 7.25 but fully capable of performing back up duty and mowing in the areas where roots and rocks stick up out of the ground - what, if my diagnosis is correct, caused the issue in the first place.

Posted by Bogie on April 22, 2017 at 07:15 PM in At Home, Yard Work | Permalink | Comments (3)