November 11, 2017

As Promised - Autumn Pictures

Pictures of the Burning Bush. Sadly, we had a huge windstorm and heavy rains so I never got a picture of it in it's full glory, but it was still pretty. I realize that BB is an invasive plant, but around here there are many old plantings of it (even the state planted it along the town bypass put in 10+ years ago), and shade keeps it mostly in check, so I don't feel badly about letting this bush live. The first picture was taken the end of October, the second on 11/4/17.

Burning bush 1trnd

To the right of the burning bush is the October Glory maple I planted a couple of months ago. When I saw it turning yellow, although a prettier and more enduring color than the silver maples, I thought I was going to have to replace it with another Autumn Blaze.

Burning bush 1trnd

However, the leaves endured and then started to change even more. Luckily, the wind and rain didn't even phase the little tree and the leaves stayed put so I could enjoy them. This is the last maple with any leaves on it at all. Pictures from today.

October Glory tree 11-11-17
October Glory tree 11-11-17

Today started off as the coldest of the year at 18* (Last Monday I rode the bike to work and it was 58* at 4 AM!). The sun was strong though and it quickly jumped up to 30 then topped out at 35*. Warm enough and dry enough to finally mow the leaves for the last time. I also pulled the last few lily stalks that had stubbornly stayed firmly attached to the bulb.

Although my shoulder nerve issue hasn't been resolved, it has been mitigated to a degree and I no longer have a completely numb thumb. I do still have tingles run from my shoulder blade up, around and down my arm when I stretch it, but it is better than it was. Only time and rest will allow my body to heal up. I'm disappointed I didn't get the last of the planned landscaping done, nor did I get anything done on the house, but I have reserved the arm/shoulder pain for what I have to get done, not what I want/wish to get done. Thank goodness I like to read:)

Posted by Bogie on November 11, 2017 at 04:49 PM in Yard Work | Permalink | Comments (2)

October 28, 2017

Pretty Leaves

A week ago Friday evening (yes, I'm going in revers chronological order) I mowed the yard for the last time. However, I also used the mower to mulch all the leaves, for the second, but not last, time.

Lawn and leaves mowed 10-21-17

Saturday I noticed that a silver maple still had some leaves. The silver maples normally go from pale yellow to brown in about 24 hours, but when the stick around they aren't to horrible to look at.

Silver Maple

They did put out a prodigeous amount of helicopters this fall. Considering that the nearest tree to the ramp is 35-40 feet away, there is a minor amount on the ramp. And, to think, last fall I was wondering at my identifying them as some sort of maple might be incorrect since there were absolutely no helicopters produced.

Silver Maple

However, the new maples, although puny and having few leaves, far outshone the silver. These two are from the Autumn Blaze I planted just above where the willow used to be.

Autumn Blaze maple leaf 10-15-17
Autumn Blaze maple leaf 10-15-17

This next pic is from the Burgundy Belle maple that I planted on the other side of the house (The October Glory is apparently waiting for November - considering the warm fall we've had, I don't blame it)

Autumn Blaze maple leaf 10-15-17

And I have one lone sunflower, under the bird feeder, that is desperately trying to set some seed before the frost kills it (not likely as this was a very late flower) This picture was taken on 10-15, but it hasn't made much progress. We've had a couple of frosts, which haven't helped its cause.

Sunflower 10-15-17

I'm finding that I also have a burning bush shrub so will have fiery red leaves over in the shade garden. I vaguely remember last year I did identify it, but it only had a couple of limbs and was really struggling in the heavy shade. It has taken off since I removed the willow (and earlier in the year I removed a wild invasive rose that is coming from the swamp, which helped to). I'll take a picture when it gets into its full glory, so you'll just have to wait.

Posted by Bogie on October 28, 2017 at 05:12 PM in Yard Work | Permalink | Comments (1)

September 04, 2017

A Lot of Short Projects

Even though the pellet stoves have been off since late in May, last Sunday I finally got around to cleaning the pellet stoves and their exhausts. In my defense, I have never had a last burn in May, so I kept waiting for that really cold snap in June (I've seriously burned as late as June 28). Then I ended up with having a massive amount of planned, and unplanned outdoor projects that HAD to get done, so the stove cleaning was not at the top of my list. The downstairs stove was relatively clean as it was apparent that I had cleaned it shortly before its last burn in the spring. However, since I shut of the big stove several weeks before I shut down the main floor stove, the other stove was pretty dirty so I spent a lot of time on the P43.

And, the cleaning was none too soon as on 8/31 the house was at 66* when I got home from work (the high outside had been 65* - and low that night was supposed to be in the low 40's). The main floor stove was also on most of the day on Friday, and again yesterday as the days have yo-yo'ed between summer and fall temperatures.


While I was cleaning out the stove exhausts with both a lint eater, then the LBT (Leaf Blower Trick), I noticed that the exterior paint on that side of the house was suffering. Since I was planning on painting the new porch overhang a second time, I power washed the siding so it would be ready for this weekend.

Saturday I painted and caulked the lower side of the house (the brown portion is still fine, just painted the cream portion), as well as all the way to, and around the front door. I painted the overhang last, and somehow forgot the caulking that needed to be done, so that part is still waiting for me.

Friday I had gone to a different H*me Dep*t than what I normally patronize and found a couple of trees (I was only looking for one - LOL). So, Saturday I got one of the trees planted - an Autumn Blaze Maple that should have orangish red leaves in the fall. This second mapleis an Acer Freemanii as opposed to Acer Rubrum that the October Glory is.

Acer Rubrums are in the general family of Red Maples, also known as "swamp maples". Red maples love wet areas so the October Glory is really happy in the lower portion that I planted it in and there is noticeable growth since I planted it two weeks ago.

The Acer Freemanii is a cross between Red Maples and (get this as an irony) Silver Maples, with the best characteristics of both. They have really nice color from the red maple side and faster growth from the silver maple side). They are very adaptable to soil conditions but are not good for wet areas, so it is perfect for where I planted it - just in front of the Willow stump.I was fortunate that the general area I wanted to plant the Autumn Blaze in was free of any huge willow roots. Previously I had stomped around to see if it might be possible (you can hear where the roots are if you stomp hard with a booted foot). The first picture is from the pen, the second from the living room window, and the third is of the growth of the October Glory (you may not be able to see the lighter green leaves at the tips of 3 of the branches - those are the new growth).

  Autumn Blaze Maple from fence
Autumn Blaze Maple from fence
Autumn Blaze Maple from fence


On poison ivy patrol I pulled some young shoots that had grown in the shrubs by the fence over on the other side of the house. Oh, and while I was painting, I found a vining poison ivy that had hidden itself in plain sight - in a rose beside the front door (which I never use, which is why I hadn't noticed before).

  Poison ivy in rose
Poison ivy in rose

And finally, the neighbor had gotten his truck moved so I mowed that area real quick since it was to rain on Sunday.

And that was my Saturday :)

Sunday was HOG meeting, reconcile checkbook (which hadn't been done since April), and some other indoor general projects. The remnants of Harvey were much kinder to us than to those in Texas, leaving 1.5" of badly needed rain.

Posted by Bogie on September 4, 2017 at 07:27 AM in At Home, House Work, Yard Work | Permalink | Comments (4)

August 27, 2017

Roof Repair and Other Work

As I had stated in an earlier post, the roof was finished last Saturday but I didn't get to take pictures until after the post. So, here they are.

The left side of the roof is where the repairs took place. Approximately half that side was damaged toward the edge.. You can also see the overhang.

Roof repair side

In this picture you can see the overhang much better and tell that it is a little wider than the porch part. I should have no issues with snow sliding off the roof and hemming in the storm door.

Roof repair side

From underneath. I painted it soft yellow yesterday so that it would match the siding and be protected from moisture.

Roof repair side

Since they were working on that side of the house, I had to find a new project to work on. I had several shrubs in my holding garden, along with some flag iris (siberian iris - whatever you want to call them), and I thought they would make a great addition to my sitting area.

From front to back; Flag iris, Variegated Weigala, two Ninebarks (I've lost their tags - they could be Coppertina, Centerglow, or one of each :) )

Ninebark-variagate wiegala and iris shrubs

The next day I went to Home Dep*t to pick up other things, whcih I didn't find there, but I did find other things to bring home. Mums were in, and I had been looking at the planters by the back door thinking how sad the summer flowers looked, so I figured I would bring some home. I got them planted the same day.

Mums in planters

The other prize I brought home was an October Glory maple, which also got planted that day. I placed it below the stump from the willow (a couple of feet lower), so it will take quite a few years before it can provide any shade to the house. However, unlike the silver maples in the back, which only turn a pale yellow and then directly to brown, this will provide some nice fall color. The first picture was taken from the yard, the second from the living room window so I can compare year-to-year growth.

October Glory maple tree from yard
October Glory maple tree from yard

I did manage to get some more pea gravel while I was at HD, so other than staining the landscape timbers, the fireproof area under the pellet stove and dryers exhausts is complete. Yes, I realize I made different patters. No, it wasn't intentional but these pavers were drops from cutom cutting for a pathway, so I had to work with the sizes/shapes I got (that's my story and I'm sticking to it ;D )

Pavers under pellet stove exhuast
Pavers under pellet stove exhuast

Posted by Bogie on August 27, 2017 at 05:29 AM in House Work, Yard Work | Permalink | Comments (2)

August 20, 2017


Back in July, while preparing for the taking down of the willow, I started a project that I left incomplete because time and materials restrictions (very end of linked post). I knew I had to get back to it before fall, and last Sunday I started back up on it.

The project isn't complete but the intent was to get it far enough along that nothing was in the way of the roofers, and all divots from the tree service truck parking at the side of the house could be filled in. I didn't take any pictures since the project wasn't complete - and I expected to finsh yesterday. At least I accomplished my mission, which was a good thing as Tuesday afternoon I got a text that the roofers had dropped off equipment and would be starting on the job on Wednesday.

So I ran out to take a picture of what I had done :)

Below pellet stove pipes before roof

It's hard to see, but there are largish patio pavers below the lower stove exhaust and the exhaust for the dryer. That is a CL find I'm rather proud of - free, along with a bunch of other pavers and retaining wall block!

Long story short, they started the roof on Wednesday, and they finished last night, so I haven't had a chance to finish up that section yet.

Posted by Bogie on August 20, 2017 at 05:39 AM in Yard Work | Permalink | Comments (3)

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 (5)

July 23, 2017


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


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)