Entries Tagged as 'Yard'

Big toys for big boys…

I did some major tree trimming this past weekend, and rented a “Nifty Lifty” lift to do the job.

First I “topped” a tree in the back corner of the yard that the top had died.  The tree itself was in pretty good shape, but for some reason (I’m guessing that the roots were being choked out by a lot of the vegetation that I’d cleared) the top 30 feet had died.  This was easy, plenty of open space around it, and fairly easy to get the lift into position.  And I did what appeared to be the easiest tree first to get used to operating the lift.

Second, I took out one tree near the front of the house that the top had died.  It would have been a very easy tree to take out, except that it was leaning precariously close to the house and almost over the power lines.  It had to be taken out a few small sections at a time until the tree was well below the roof line of the house.

Third, I trimmed a number of branches from another tree in the front of the house that were over-hanging the power lines.  These proved to be a little bit of a challenge because of the height and weight of the branches.  One of the branches was almost 6 inches in diameter, the other was about 4 inches in diameter and the larger branch needed about 25 feet trimmed, the smaller branch needed about 30 feet trimmed.  With the life extended to it’s full height, it was a little shaky, and definitely a slow process taking out the sections of the limbs.

Fourth, I trimmed a few limbs that were over the house from a tree in the side yard.  Except for one of the branches this proved to be straight forward (after the experience from the tree in the front yard hanging over the power lines this was a piece of cake).  However, the last limb was about 40 feet above the ground and extended well past the ridge of the house — there seemed to be no way to trim this without potentially damaging the roof since there was just no way to get to end of the branch to lighten it.  My brother-in-law came up with the idea of using a very long pole saw from the life to cut off small sections of the limb.  It was slow go, and a little uncomfortable working that far off the ground with a 18 foot pole saw; but it worked, and the limb came down section by section without damaging anything.

Of course, the work just started after getting the trees and branches down.  There was an unbelievable amount of small limbs and leaves to haul away, and there’s still lots of fire wood to cut and haul away.

Originally posted 2009-08-14 01:00:16.

Fresh Fruit

One of the advantages of  planting a series of fruit trees in my back yard when I first moved in is that I get to have fresh fruit.

I was amazed that some of the trees have produced since the first year.

I’ve already had peaches this year, some pears, blueberries, and some figs…

This morning I picked three pears, peeled and cored them, sliced them thinly, and cooked them with cinnamon, and served them with Greek yogurt.

Soon I’ll have more pears, pomegranates, more figs, and grapes (muscadines / scuppernongs).

All the plum blossoms fell victim to a heavy storm; so won’t have any of those this year.  The persimmon, may-haw, kiwi, and loquat are too young to produce… but maybe next year.

So far for fruit bearing I have

  • 6 varieties of pear
  • 6 varieties of blueberry
  • 4 varieties of fig
  • 2 varieties of peach
  • 2 varieties of plum
  • 2 varieties of pomegranate
  • 1 variety of may-haw
  • 1 variety of persimmon
  • 1 variety of loquat
  • 1 variety of kiwi (two – one male and one female)
  • 1 variety of banana (multiple trees)
  • 1 variety of lemon
  • 1 variety of orange

I also plant several varieties of chilies every year (in my flower bed with the hibiscus, canna lilies, Hawaiian ti), and I think next year I’m going to add

  • 1 variety of paw-paw (two trees for pollination)
  • 1 additional variety of persimmon
  • 1 additional variety of may-haw

My goal is to actually have home grown fruit ready to eat from late Spring to the end of Fall…

 

 

 

Originally posted 2012-07-21 12:00:38.

Green Online… JUST SAY NO

Below is a note I sent to Willis Orchard Co about an order I placed for some tropical plants.


On 19-Mar I placed an order for three Medjool Palms (1.5′-2′) and a Drawf Cavendish Banana Tree with and expected ship date around 1-Apr… yesterday (11-May) I received the FedEx packages containing those items.

Roughly a week after the expected ship date I began calling approximately once a week for an update on the shipping status — to which (other than the last call) I was always told that the product should be shipping within a couple days…

Needless to say, my impression of your “customer service” wasn’t very high; in fact it was so low that I acquired the forty-seven other fruit trees, shrubs, and ornamental trees I used to begin landscaping my yard from local sources…

I understand that your shipping delays were caused by your vendor; however, the failure to realistically appraise me of delays is solely a fault your company and customer service people must bare.

While the shipping delay alone was enough to make me shy away from doing additional business with your company; the condition of the plants I received certainly indicated to me that I shall not put your company high on a list to consider again.

The committed size of the plants is stated to be the overall height; while I’d would have hoped that would be the height from the top of the root ball to the highest vertical point on the plant, it’s obvious that you intend that measurement to be the distance from the top of the root ball to the furthest point on a (stretched) frond of the palms.

In my case that appears to be two just less than 18″ (one of those I’m being generous with the “just less”) and one that isn’t even 16″… further the one closest to 18″ and the one less than 16″ are based on measuring fronds that are brown at the ends (dead) — which most likely didn’t occur in a single day of shipping from Southern Georgia to Northwest Florida.

I can’t say I was the least bit surprised… and certainly I don’t think any of these three specimens would have come home with me had I visually inspected them before purchase (at the prices you charge).

Whether these represent the plants you would normally ship to a customer or simply you feel you’re a victim of the volume of your orders verses the inability of your supplies to fulfill their commitments I can’t say… all I can say is that I’m greatly disappointed.


In retrospect, I’d say ordering plants online should be put in the same category as ordering produce online — what you get might not live up to your standards, and what others are happy with says nothing about the quality.

Originally posted 2010-05-13 02:00:35.

Landscaping

Last year was spent mainly cleaning up the yard, this year I’m focused on trying to make some forward progress with landscaping.  It’s been a busy Spring planting season.

I started with a flower bed in the front of the house; 100 tulip bulbs (only about 70 came up).  I’d hoped to plant canna lilies to come up after the tulips, but finding bulbs here has proven to a challenge (the only Summer bulb that any of the nurseries around here carry are caladiums, and never considered I’d have to order something so common).

Then two Azaleas when in on the side of the house by the pourch.

Two areas (one in back and one in front) of the breezeway were done in concrete pavers.

Two cedar trees were moved out from under an oak tree in the back yard to the side of the back yard where they could grow.

A red Camila was put in the front by the mail box; a Japanese (Tulip) Magnolia was put in the front; a Gardenia was put in the side yard near the front of the garage.  Four Privet Ligustrums were put in the side yard to break it up, hide the A/C unit, but not interfere with sunlight through the bedroom windows.

Nine blue berry bushes were put along the rear fence.

Four compost bins were put in the back corner of the yard.

Four fig bushes (Brown Turkey) were put along the side fence in the back (between two oak trees).

Two plum (Blue Dawson & Golden), two peach(Florida King & Elberta), and two pear (Pineapple & Bartlett) trees were put in the back between the oak and the cedar trees.  A persimmon (Fuyu),  an Asian pear apple, a lime (Persian), two lemon (Meyer’s & Pink Variegated), a pomegranate (Russian 26), and an orange (Calamondin) tree were put in front of those.

Eighteen tomato plants (Heritage & Better Boy), eighteen pepper plants (Sweet Banana & Cayenne), and nine cucumber plants were put in the back in front of the figs.  I’ll probably expand my garden next year, but these plants will help condition the soil and provide me with much tastier alternatives than the grocery store (I almost always get my produce from the farmer’s market anyway — this should be less expensive and a nice diversion).

Three Medjool date palms and two Sago palms were put in the front corner; and one banana tree was put in the end of the flower bed.

That’s probably it for this year… certainly the yard has been greatly transformed by the addition of all this vegetation, and the care that’s gone into the few healthy tree that were here.

I still have much more to do, but I can’t be sure we’ll have adequate rain this year — so I can only plant as much as I can comfortably water.

Originally posted 2010-04-11 02:00:13.

Fall Harvest

I just finished up a little yard work — more than anything I needed to get some fresh air, the weather hasn’t been very conducive to early morning bicycling, and with the road construction on one of the semi-major roads between me and the trail I ride I haven’t been too motivated to risk my life to go out most week days (they are getting close to finishing up — though it’ll be mid-day rides for now).

Pruning some rose bushes and rooting the cuttings — hopefully next spring I have a few dozen more rose bushes to plant in my rose beds.

Trimming dead branches from the fruit trees and getting them in shape for the winter / spring.

Bagging up yard clipping for the green pickup on Tuesday — my recycle bins are too full to add more clipping right now, but they should have space if there’s another mowing this year.

And… picking the last five limes.  I’ve now had this tree for four years, the first winter it was in the back yard nearly killed it, so I moved it and an orange tree to the front (I’ve since planted two more orange trees in the front I grew from seed).  The orange tree produced literally hundreds of oranges the first summer, but only a handful since then.  The lime tree produced two limes last summer, this summer it produced over twenty (I lost count).  I probably could have left some of these limes on the tree a little longer, but the nights are getting cooler, and realistically the days are too short to really nurture much growth on a citrus tree… so I figured just put them inside where I’ll use them (they’re great when I bake boneless/skinless chicken in the convection oven).

Hard to say whether we’ll have a mild winter or a rough one this year, but as long as there’s a good amount of rain in the spring I expect my fruit trees to do well again (which makes the squirrels and birds very happy as well).