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 (0)

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)

August 21, 2016

Grass Is green - For Now

I mowed for the first time in two weeks yesterday. For this season that is unusual - I've been mowing every 3 weeks (whether it needs it or not). Mother Nature has been very stingy with the water this year and most of NH is under drought conditions, some areas of the state are up to 13" below normal. My area is only 7-8" under for the year. A lot of my front yard was brown for about a month, the shrubs and perennials I placed in wet and damp areas last summer were wilting (I have been watering them every couple of days for several weeks) and the swamp next door shows no water(neither does the drainage between that property and mine). Not only have we been under watered by MN, but we have been extremely hot for the upper Northeast and we've had over 20 days in the 90's (normal is something like 11).

But then I got lucky and got 4" of rain last weekend. True, all of it came in the span of about 4 hours, but we got moisture non-the-less. The weather service was calling for severe storms with lots of rain, so I made sure to water the "damp" and "wet" gardens that morning so that it would be prepped to let the precipitation thru.

The first severe weather started between 4 & 6. I really don't remember the time, I just know I was getting ready to get up on a metal step stool and use a metal scraper (just underneath a metal roof) to knock off ridges in the dried mud on the bathroom ceiling (taping and mudding, not dirt - LOL). When the thunder and lightning started, I figured I best not do that, so waited that cell out. When the deluge started, I put out a couple of 2" deep, strait-sided, flat-bottomed bowels to catch water so I could get a good idea how much rain I got.

By the time the cell moved thru and I checked the bowls they were over flowing, so I got over 2" in that round. I emptied the bowels so I could measure the next cell that was headed my way. Around 7:30, after getting the mud ridges knocked down (yes, the cell moved thru quickly), the second cell came thru

Storm 8-13-16

I was just mudding with a plastic spatula, so I didn't worry about working in the bathroom although when the Emergency Management System tone came over my phone it got my attention and I stopped to see what was going on. Just a text telling me about the possibility of flash flooding in my area. By the end of that cell, the bowls were just below full, so I figured another 2" (to make up for the overflowing the first time).

Bowels of rain water 2 inches each

Since more storms might roll in thru the night, I emptied the bowls again. But the next morning there was only about 1/4" in them.

The sad thing is that the swamp was so starved for water that it soaked it all in. I listened for runoff into the drainage (sounds like a burbling stream), but it was quiet. The farms in the state are suffering with no hay, stunted crops, and small fruits. Fish and Game also had bear warnings out since the wild berries have failed so the wildlife is looking for other sources of food.

Could be a lot worse - we haven't had any forest fires since spring and we aren't in the shape that Louisiana is in (or other areas like Mulvane, KS).

Posted by Bogie on August 21, 2016 at 06:49 AM in At Home, House Work, Yard Work | Permalink | Comments (2)

August 07, 2016

Blooming

I don't think that I've posted a picture of the Polar Joy tree rose that I got earlier in the summer. This is its second blooming. The first bloom was weak since it was still in its pot, but it is much happier in a large barrel planter.

Rose Tree

I do have to remove suckers from the trunk on a regular basis, and even a new shoot from the roots once, so it doesn't turn into a large bush, but other than that, it has been easy to care for.

Posted by Bogie on August 7, 2016 at 06:16 AM in Yard Work | Permalink | Comments (2)

July 17, 2016

Generousity

On July 4th, after mowing, I was puttering around in the yard. I planted a Sweet Autumn Clematis (paniculata) next to the willow tree and decided to just mulch over the area between the willow and the ornamental plum tree (I'm not sure of that, but I believe so). That area is the hill between the fill that the house sits on and the swamp next door, so it is a pain to mow. And, I'm thinking of placing small shrubs there, so that would be the first step anyway. I had bought the clematis at a local nursery 4-6 weeks prior and it had been patiently waiting in a pot. But as a vigorous climber (up to 30'), it needed room to stretch out.

Paniculata Clematis planted next to willow

The "trellis" is the old Aluminum grill from the old storm door that I replaced a couple of years ago. I have been kicking it around (literally - every time I mowed I had to move it out of my way), but had hung onto it for just such a duty.

While I was covering the area with landscape fabric and mulch I smelled smoke. I started looking around and then I noticed smoke rising from behind a house down the road. There had been fireworks from that way the night before, and the ground was really dry (we are 5-7" behind in rain) so I jumped in the truck to investigate. Fortunately I saw someone burning out a garden area, or weedy area or something; the fire was low and was being tended with a hose nearby.

In progressing down the street to an intersection so I could turn around, I saw a neighbor walking her dog (I only know her by her dog  and have only met her once), and stoped to chat for a second. I mentioned that I was investigating the smoke, but saw it wasn't anything to be concerned about. Turns out, that was her house and it was her brother helping her get the house and yard cleaned up to put the house on the market.

She asked if I wanted some landscape timbers - they were extras and knew I was doing yard work, so thought of me. Strangely enough, the day before I had been at H*me Depot for another reason, and looked at landscape timbers. However, what they had was crappy looking and not worth the price they were asking, so I didn't get any. I gladly accepted and she said she would deliver them later.

So, I went back to mulching and pretty soon I heard a 4-wheeler coming down the road. The neighbor was letting her nephew drive the 4-wheeler with a plastic pallet filled with timbers. They dropped them off while I joked it was funny that I was giving away a pile of wood while they were delivering wood.

Landscape timbers from neighbor

We thanked each other - I for her generosity and delivery, and she for me for getting them out of her yard while knowing they would go to good use, and they went back to her house to continue cleaning up.

Thank you neighbor!

Posted by Bogie on July 17, 2016 at 08:04 AM in Yard Work | Permalink | Comments (1)

Timber

July 4th weekend I got some outside work done that was sorely needed. Sapling had really taken over the back of the property. I was noticeably mowing less, and I don't have very much property anyway, so I decided a bunch of them need to go. Another reason for thinning out the trees is that there are 3 black cherries growing back there. Although very tall, they do not do well when crowded and getting too much shade from other trees.

I had started by using hand loppers to get what I could (done the last weekend of June). Even some of those saplings were impressive in size as they were up to 15 feet tall. but with a trunk size of 3" or less. But, when I went to start my CL chainsaw, the beast wouldn't go, so I couldn't finish the job. I ordered a refurb'ed battery powered chainsaw ( pulling a gas powered saw's cord is very difficult for me) and it arrived before July 4 weekend, so I was in business.

The saplings I took down wer up to 25 feet tall.. I'll just show the before (after cutting with loppers in June)  and after cutting with the chainsaw comparisons. First set is to the right as looking out the back door. (don't pay attention to the pile of limbs - I had already made 2 trips to the dump to get rid of the leavings so it is not indicative of anything)

Tree compare 1 - before
Tree compare 1 - before

A little to the left of the first pics - pretty much looking directly out the back door

Tree compare 2 - before
Tree compare 2 - before

To the left looking out the back door - note the white bird bath base sitting in the woods. When I moved in 3 years ago, it was clearly visible as it is in the "after" pic.

Tree compare 3 - before
Tree compare 3 - before

I didn't get any before/after comparisons in the yard past where the fence ends (there is another 30-40 feet, but you get the idea. All told, I took down 17 sapling from the back, and 3 very old lilacs that had been strangled by an Oriental Bittersweet in the front (just the chainsaw totals).

I limbed out all the saplings and took those to the brush pile at the dump. I cut up the trunks to 6-8' lengths and set them out with a sign for anyone that wanted to take them. I wasn't real hopeful as most of that was green wood (stated on the sign), but some was dead  - and you never know what someone may find useful.

Tuesday after 4th of July, I took a vacation day and used that to take everything to the dump. It took 3 loads

Truckload of tops 1
Truckload of tops 1
Truckload of tops 1

I was going to make the fourth load the trunk material I had set by the side of the road, but just as I got home from the third load, a lady was finishing up loading her truck with it.  I pulled up and told her of her great timing - this is the pile of wood that she scored.

Pile of wood turned

Although more saplings need to come down, I am happy with the progress I made.

 

Posted by Bogie on July 17, 2016 at 07:23 AM in Yard Work | Permalink | Comments (3)

June 11, 2016

Blooms are Coming

 A few things have managed to bloom even though we are having a cool, dry spring:

Iris

The iris is from Cop Car - planted last summer. I'm surprised it bloomed as conventional wisdom says not to expect blooms for 2-3 years after dividing. I had a couple of this color bloom, and several purple iris bloom (you can see some in the background behind the lupine in the picture below)


Iris

I don't think the rhodies out front ever have a bad year - no matter how bad they look after a winter!


Iris

A red squirrel was scolding me as I was reading under the crabapple tree.

Red Squirrel

This is an area that during early spring I had pulled everything I could; poison ivy, blackberries and oriental bittersweet were prevalent along with some "good" plants, but I didn't discriminate. The last 3 weekends I have sprayed for poison ivy and the invasive vines. Last weekend, after spraying and letting it dry for several hours, I covered it with heavy plastic, heavy gardener's fabric, then mulch. Hopefully the smothering will finish off the stuff in that area.

Poison ivy cover

I have to smother a 3-4' section alongside the back of that rock wall too. Then I will be religiously spraying in and around the rock wall and the huge stump all summer and into the fall (that is about a 3' diameter stump that poison ivy has thoroughly entrenched itself on the right).

I knew I had poison ivy coming out of the trees behind the house, and out of the swamp to the right of the house, but yesterday I found a good size patch just outside the fence on the left side of the property toward the back corner. I'm officially surrounded :(

Posted by Bogie on June 11, 2016 at 06:58 PM in Yard Work | Permalink | Comments (6)