Sunday, March 29, 2015

The First Backyard Pecan Tree

My overall plan is to shade the center of the backyard with a couple of trees.  From working out in the yard, it seemed clear that the East and West parts of the backyard, with plenty of shade from various trees, does fairly well, even in the heat of the summer.  As the sun moves from East in the morning to West in the evening, both ends of the yard get at least some direct sun, but not for the whole day.  The West part of the yard gets the morning sun, up until just after noon, when the large oak tree at the West end of the yard shades it.  The East part of the yard gets afternoon sun.

But the center of the yard seems to be direct sun all day.  So if we plant a couple of trees to the left and right of the center, it should, eventually, shade all of the yard, at least part of the day.  Since we want the sun in the winter, we want a deciduous tree, and for variety (we have mostly oaks), we decided on pecan trees.  If the pecan trees give off nuts, that's good too -- both for us and for the neighborhood squirrels.

Since the East half of the yard is done, it could take a tree.  To reserve space, we have put a volunteer oak tree where the pecan will go (and a stick where the other goes).  Since we don't have the West part of the yard done yet, nor the center, we can't put the second tree in yet.  But we can put in the first tree.

Today, we went to Berdoll Pecan Farm and Nursery and bought a tree.   We have been buying our pecans from them -- in bulk, cracked but not shelled -- and figure that they have good pecans, so they must have good trees.  We bought a medium size Pawnee tree. $49.99 (plus tax).  It is 53 inches tall.

We planted it in the spot reserved for it in the East part of the yard.  The instructions from Berdoll say to water it every day for the next 30 days, so every day in April.

The volunteer tree that was filling in for it was moved over to where the next tree should go.  It will probably be a couple of years before this gets dug up and we can put another pecan tree in it's place.

The information sheet from Berdoll suggests that it will be 4 to 6 years before we get any nuts from this tree.  So around 2020.

Update:  It appears, in May 2018, that we will have nuts on the tree this year.

Update: There were a dozen or more very nice looking plump pecans developing on the tree, but suddenly one early September morning, they were all gone.  Just disappeared.  Nothing on the ground; nothing left on the tree. (5 Sept 2018).

Saturday, March 14, 2015

New door knobs

The guest bedroom has been having continuing problems of the doorknob falling off.  The current door knobs were put in when the house was built, and just screw on a flange on the door.  Over time, they can back themselves off and then fall to the floor.  I've tried putting them back on and tightening them as much as possible, but weeks or months later they fall off again.  Not all door knobs, just a few.  Like the guest bedroom.

These doorknobs might be hard to use, if you had arthritic hands, so the idea is to replace them with levers, to make it easier for older people (like us) to open and close them.  We started that already with the coat closet, and now we want to continue that replacement on this bedroom door.

First, we purposefully remove the door knob.

And then all it's associated hardware, to get down to just a door, with a hole in the door.  Then we put the new hardware on.  It takes about 30 minutes.

We are again using Kwikset Tustin Satin Nickel  (720 TNL 15) Signature Series.  This time it's a "Bath and Bed" model, instead of a "Hall and Closet", so that it can be locked, in need be.

And then a couple days later, we replaced the utility room pantry door knob, again using a "Hall and Closet" model, since we don't need to lock the pantry.

And, finally, after the success of these two doors, we decided to go ahead and change out all the others.  We needed 7 more "Bath and Bed" types and 2 more "Closet" types.  Instead of buying these at Home Depot, for $29.92 and $25.87 (plus sales tax) for each, I found a place on the web that would sell them for $19.54 and $18.30 each (with no shipping or sales tax).  This cuts the cost from over $200 to about $135.   We finished switching them all out on 20 March 2015.