Wednesday, September 9, 2020

Trouble with a Bradford Pear Tree

 Yesterday was a quiet and peaceful day, but when we got up this morning, there was a tree (branch) in our driveway!

The limb had just given way.

So, we used a pair of loppers and a chain saw to trim it all down and then cut it up.

This left a pile of branches and wood pieces that we will need to get rid of but it moved it off of the driveway.

We may need to do something to seal over the spot where it broke off, and the neighbor suggested we may need to take the next branch up from this off too, but for now ...

Digging up the back half of the front yard, Part 4

 Eventually, we got the basic trench all the way to the back of the yard, up against the wall that we built last year.

Now we turn and start digging along the wall to the other side of the tree stump.

And then we turn and dig towards the stump itself.

The top layer of dirt is what we brought in last year.  Below that is the mix of leaves and dirt that we dug up, and below that is the layer that the roots grow thru.  The roots have a relatively narrow layer of dirt to grow in, maybe 8 inches deep.  Below that is a layer of rock.  Crumbly rock, but rock. So if we dig into the 8 inches of dirt just above the underlying rock layer, we find the tree roots.

Removing the roots -- using an axe and a chainsaw as necessary -- gives us a thin layer of dirt to scrape off.

And shoveling that dirt out of the trench (and into the growing dirt pile by the street) exposes a layer of rock that we will need the jackhammer to break up and remove.

As we dug the dirt up and separated out the rocks, we added leaves and grass to increase the organic content of the dirt, trying to make it good soil instead of just plain dirt.  We got bags of leaves from the neighbors, but now have used all of those up.  We stored the leaves at the far end of the trench, but now it is fully exposed, and we see there is also a layer of rock to remove from the other end of the trench.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020



Chibi was one of Kathryn's cats, but developed cancer.  So she joins Inari and Jita and Pepper in Zone 2.

Zone 2 has filled out a lot since Inari and Jita were buried in 2014, but we continued along the kitchen/garage wall.  This put us into the Monkey Grass.

But Monkey Grass is resilient so we expect it will fill back in, over time.

Friday, August 7, 2020

Digging up the back half of the front yard, Part 3

 Digging up the rest of the front yard will be difficult.  There is no shade now that the tree has been cut down.  So we will need a sun shade.  Luckily, we have one left over from a beach trip about 20 years ago.

Then we can start digging.  First we need to find the sides of the area that we dug up before.  So we start digging in what we think is a corner of the part yet to be dug up, trying to find the edges.  We were badly off, but eventually we find what we think are the edges -- no big rocks in the dirt, the dirt is fairly soft to dig, and uniform in composition.

Now it's just day by day making this pit a bit larger.  Finding big rocks as we do and pulling them out.

Repeat and repeat.

Widening the hole.

Removing the rocks, and the dirt, and then digging further and deeper.

Monday, July 27, 2020

Window washing

Washed the windows today.  Or rather, finished washing the windows today.  It took two days to wash them, 17 the first day and 13 the second.

While the windows could all be washed from the inside, that would leave the screens as they are, so instead we washed them all from the outside first.  We used the Windex Outdoor.  Listed at Home Depot as "32 fl oz Blue Bottle Outdoor Sprayer", $7.98

We ended up buying two bottles.  The first bottle did the first 17 windows (four hours), then we had to go get another bottle to finish it off the remaining 13 windows (three hours), a week later.

We first sprayed each window down with just a jet of water as a pre-rinse.  Then we used the Windex Outdoor to spray it down with a "soap" solution.  We finished with another clear water rinse.  This was done outside, using a garden hose for water, so it went thru the screens to the outside of the windows.

Then, after all the windows were rinsed, washed, and rinsed on the outside, I went inside and (a) cleaned the inside of the window, using regular Windex, and then opened each window up to wash the outside, again using regular Windex.

I tried using a squeegee, but it left streaks, so mainly cleaned the outside and dried them with old rags, wash clothes and diapers.

Saturday, July 11, 2020

Irrigation system water usage

Our water bill is still very high.  For example, the most recent one was for 23,000 gallons, double the previous month, and 10X our normal winter usage.

So the question is, what is our current irrigation system water usage? We have asked this before, in July 2014, and October 2017.

  We ran each zone by hand, for the same time as what the schedule says, and our results are:

Zone Gallons Time
Zone 1 15 30  drip
Zone 2 100 30  drip
Zone 3 194 30  drip
Zone 4 624 30
Zone 5 32 30  drip
Zone 6 642 30
Zone 7 278 20
Zone 8 673 30
Zone 9 360 20
Zone 10
Zone 11
Total 2918

So figure about 3000 gallons per usage. And that will go up when we add back in Zone 10 and Zone 11 once we finish the front yard excavations.

Saturday, June 6, 2020

Digging up the back half of the front yard, Part 2

Digging out the front yard is hot, hard work.  I thought I might be able to make it a big easier by cutting the area up into a matrix of squares by trenching it left to right and front to back.  So I rented a trencher.  Again.  The cost was $207.89 for 4 hours from Home Depot.

I tried this back when I first started to dig up the front yard in April 2018.  As with that attempt, it takes hours to borrow the pickup to get a hitch so that I can pull the trailer that the trencher is on, and then to return everything.  This time I got somewhat more trenching done, but not more than probably an hour of actual work.  After making one trench, I got too close to it when trying to make a second, and the trencher "fell in" the trench -- one of the two treads got in the previous trench and lost traction.  I eventually got it out of that, but was so flustered that I drove the trencher -- backed it up actually -- into the pit that I had already partially excavated.  It took hours, literally hours, of work to get it out of the pit.

But before I started, the  yard was pretty uniform.

and after all that work, it is now pretty torn up.

So we will have to see how much, if any, help this has been.