Halfmoon's journal

Where are you and where are you going?
Farm_or
Posts: 412
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2016 8:57 am
Contact:

Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by Farm_or »

Best wishes for these difficult times.

Great story! As usual...

I'm another Stihl guy. When I lived in suburbia, I had to drive two hours to find a little firewood.

I started out with a mccolluch that would only run long enough to get half a load. Lost my temper on the second trip and threw the saw off a cliff. It was sobering reality as I painstakingly climbed down the cliff to retrieve the POS. Stihl ever since!

halfmoon
Posts: 712
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2016 10:19 pm

Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by halfmoon »

Thanks, Farm_or! It's good to hear from you. I was thinking that you'd been absent from the forum, and then I remembered that I was the absent one.

Yes, it's Stihl only for DH. He has 4 Stihl chainsaws and 2 brushcutters. He keeps buying smaller saws because his old ones are too hard to start and lift now. Then he uses the little ones as workhorses and complains when they break down. :roll: He maintains his equipment well, but he's not easy on it at all.

Notice that all the power equipment belongs to DH in my mind (and his). I've mentioned that I'm too accident-prone to be trusted with things that can take off a finger or a leg in the blink of an eye. That's aside from the fact that DH has removed the safety features from most of our power equipment because they annoy him. He's modified the riding mower, for example, so it will still run AND CUT even if he's not in the seat so he can get off and push when it's stuck on a steep hill. Kind of like a man-eating Roomba with no boundaries (the mower, not DH...though there are similarities). :lol:

halfmoon
Posts: 712
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2016 10:19 pm

Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by halfmoon »

I thought I'd take a moment away from the past to share some of what makes me happy right now, when there's a lot that's not so bright. Fall has always been my favorite time of year, even though it's tinged with that primal fear of cold, dark months to come. There's something about fall that energizes my blood: the crisp, cool tinge in the air; the explosion of leaf color; firing up the woodstove; wearing a warm flannel shirt; canning and collecting and preparing for winter.

So, without further ado, we enter THE PRESENT DAY. Bragging will ensue, along with a ridiculous number of tree photos.

FOR THE LOVE OF TREES:

DH loves to plant and grow and nurture things, but his favorites are trees. Over the course of 37 years, we've planted thousands of trees encompassing maybe 60 different varieties on our Western Washington property. There was a fairly high attrition rate from underbush competition, deer, mountain beavers and moles, but a lot of them thrived. We take huge joy in walking through the forest we brought to life.

This is our biggest planted tree. It's a Sequoia, planted as a little tyke about 35 years ago. The hat is for scale. The rocks piled around it are waiting to be a wall when we get around to it. Meanwhile, they protect it from stray vehicles because our driveway winds around it. DH says that someday we'll have to move the driveway.

Image

Across the driveway is another Sequoia, planted at the same time. This one grew higher but not as wide. In the background is what we call the Arboretum, because we're pretentious that way. ;)

Image

Here's another view of the Arboretum. This used to be a big field with 2 fir trees in it. We planted every tree in this photo...and the photos above. And the photos below. :D

Image

Walking further into the photo, you come to the back of the arboretum and a path into the woods. There are a lot of younger trees planted here admidst the original alder.

Image

This is looking across the pond toward the arboretum from a different side. The tall conifer in the middle is another Sequoia, and the gold one is a sugar maple. The dead-looking bushes in front are honeysuckle already in bed for the winter. Bees and flycatchers love them.

Image

Here's a closeup of the above Sequoia with another hat for scale. I can't get over how quickly these trees grow under the right conditions.

Image

Leaves of the sugar maple on the ground. Growing up in the east, I developed a love for brightly-colored fall leaves. We planted a lot of maples so I could have that color here. Alder just don't shine so much in the fall.

Image

This is a huge English walnut tree trying to swallow a juniper. We planted them both, so the juniper's distress is all on us; we just somehow didn't anticipate how big the walnut would become. We've planted hundreds of English and black walnuts, so we'll never lack for protein in the zombie apocalypse (after we eat the squirrels, of course). :P The black walnut trees are prettier and the nuts taste fantastic, but they're a real chore to process. The English walnuts provide much more food for the effort. We've also planted hazelnuts, heartnuts, chesnuts and butternuts. The juniper berries are good in sauerkraut.

Image

Here's a butternut we planted. We call it the Squirrel Tree (in reality, they're all squirrel trees) because we built a house and feeder to install in it. A friend had 3 baby squirrels she'd rescued and bottle fed, and she released them into this tree this past summer.

Image

Our mini Aussie spends a lot of time looking up into the Squirrel Tree and others, waiting for a squirrel to fall in his mouth. It actually happened once (in another tree) when 2 squirrels were fighting in the branches far above, and it made a lasting impression.

Image

Here are grapevines with a hazelnut thicket in the background. The concrete "wall" used to be the spillway across our pond. When we replaced it with pipes through the dam, the Cat driver who did the work just dropped it off to the side. It was too heavy for our tractor to lift, so there it lay for a few years. Finally, we dug a deep trench the length of the concrete, dragged it next the trench and tipped it in so it buried itself by about half the width and stood more or less upright. Then we built an open-topped greenhouse around the other 3 sides with some old windows we had and planted grapes. I love weird, repurposed stuff like this, especially if it involves beautiful green vines. Add in the production of something edible (drinkable), and that's my idea of perfect. :D

Image

Finally, we have The Island. Here's a (partial) photo of the pond in winter. The little messy hump at the head of it is The Island, which is surrounded by water (hence the name). We planted a dogwood and a rhodendron on it years ago and then allowed the salmonberries and canary grass to take over. The tree and bush both died, and we were sad. :cry: DH came up with the idea this summer of cleaning it all off and planting bamboo. He's always wanted timber bamboo (the huge, invasive kind), but I resisted because...invasive. DH pointed out that the island being flooded for 9 months of the year would inhibit its colonization, and so we planted bamboo. Then we needed Pandas but settled for a Buddha. Then we needed a stone wall to raise the island level a bit so Buddha and bamboo wouldn't get their feet wet. Then we needed some ornamental grasses. I really like how it turned out, and it'll look even better when the pond rises again. That should happen very soon, and of course I'll post an updated photo.

Image

Image

I'm not sure what the ducks will think of it, because they like to swim around the island and hide behind it with their babies.

EMJ
Posts: 359
Joined: Sat Nov 20, 2010 6:37 pm

Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by EMJ »

Great trees! It must be so satisfying to see them grow.
There's a lot to be said for long-term commitment to a project.

halfmoon
Posts: 712
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2016 10:19 pm

Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by halfmoon »

It is very satisfying, EMJ! Trees are sort of the icons of our nature-worship. :D

halfmoon
Posts: 712
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2016 10:19 pm

Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by halfmoon »

I forgot this photo. The yellow-leaved arbor consists of 2 hardy Kiwi that produce small, delicious, fuzz-free fruit for garden grazing. We take no credit for the rainbow.

Image

saving-10-years
Posts: 555
Joined: Thu Oct 31, 2013 9:37 am
Location: Warwickshire, UK

Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by saving-10-years »

And bees. Lovely picture.

Fish
Posts: 555
Joined: Sun Jun 12, 2016 9:09 am

Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by Fish »

I am finally able to catch my breath after seeing the 60 foot tower. It's impressive you moved those massive logs like matchsticks. :o That's a lot of work just to mount your solar panels! Also, I notice an antenna in the picture... I suppose that it was only natural since you already had the tower.

Those are some nice photos of the present! And the arboretum that's a very beautiful environment you have made for yourselves. I'm in my mid-30s and I'm only starting to realize the wisdom in planting trees. The original owner of my house planted fruit trees some 20 years ago that we continue to enjoy today. Apples and figs. We should have the foresight to leave something nice for future generations.

Great to have you back halfmoon! I missed you. Look forward to the continuation of your story, and best wishes to you and DH.

ffj
Posts: 2261
Joined: Thu Aug 26, 2010 3:16 am

Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by ffj »

Great pictures and I love the trees. If it's a tree you've planted yourself, it becomes much more special. That redwood is crazy impressive.

Riggerjack
Posts: 2986
Joined: Thu Jul 14, 2011 3:09 am

Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by Riggerjack »

Nice Sequoias! 8-)

Oh, wait. That's not a euphemism, they really are actually nice Sequoias. Old habits die hard, I guess.

We planted red cedar, because the are flexible, with a solid root structure. That and I really like how they look. How do the Sequoia stand up to wind? Also, how do you keep the underbrush down, are you mowing under the arboretum?

I wanted to mention how much calmer and in control your husband looks than I did in a beekeepers hat.viewtopic.php?f=6&t=8097

halfmoon
Posts: 712
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2016 10:19 pm

Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by halfmoon »

saving-10-years wrote:
Wed Oct 25, 2017 5:31 pm
And bees. Lovely picture.
Thank you! Maybe honey is the gold at the end of the rainbow? It certainly smells and looks wonderful, though we leave it for the bees...and feed them sugar on top of it. ;) Not very ERE, but satisfying.

halfmoon
Posts: 712
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2016 10:19 pm

Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by halfmoon »

Fish, I have to not-so-humbly admit that I also find the tower impressive! :D It was ostensibly built for our solar panels, but DH also just really, really wanted a tower. When we moved back over to W WA and installed a new solar system, his first suggestion was: "We should build a tower!" I replied: "Sorry; one per customer."

The antenna was for an extended-range cordless phone, which we installed a few years in. It worked some of the time. The antenna spoke (when it so chose) to one a couple of air miles down in the valley. The valley antenna was hard-wired to a landline cordless phone base that had been juiced up by someone who knew about such things, powered by a storage battery and solar panel. Our tower antenna was hard-wired to the handset in the house. When it rained, we would sometimes get a connection. Usually no connection when the sun shone and the air was dry.

Thanks for the arboretum appreciation and the good wishes. Planting trees is one of the easiest ways you can make a difference in the world and your own environment, IMHO. Habitat improvement, air quality improvement, heat abatement and sheer loveliness. Looking at trees gives me peace.

halfmoon
Posts: 712
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2016 10:19 pm

Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by halfmoon »

ffj, I completely agree that a tree you planted yourself is more special. I'll admit to hugging them sometimes when no one is looking.

halfmoon
Posts: 712
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2016 10:19 pm

Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by halfmoon »

Riggerjack, I had never heard the phrase "Nice Sequoias!" Sheltered life.

The Sequoias probably hold up better to wind than any of our trees because they have such wide bases in relation to the rest of the trunk. I'm sure there's a technical term for that.

We've planted plenty of red cedar; they're beautiful trees. Also Alaskan yellow cedar and incense cedar. My favorite cedar, though, is Port Orford because of the full, soft-looking branches. A friend dug up a whole flat of tiny Port Orford cedar seedlings from his yard and brought them to DH for transplanting. We transferred each one to a small pot so they could grow bigger before having to compete in the woods. When we were finished, DH counted the trees; there were 99. He said, "Call that asshole and tell him he shorted me one tree."

We sporadically mow under the arboretum (maybe once or twice a year), but it's getting to the point where the shade and needles/leaves inhibit most growth. We neglected it pretty much for the last couple of years, but DH's son came in this fall and did a huge amount of cleanup for us on this and other parts of the property. It's been a joy to see it look this way.

I love your wasp story. :lol: DH is very calm around the bees. I also call him the Wasp Whisperer, because he used to go up on the roof to clean our chimney and explain to the wasps nesting there that he wouldn't hurt them if they didn't hurt him. They never stung him.

halfmoon
Posts: 712
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2016 10:19 pm

Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by halfmoon »

I'm planning another installment of our illustrious history, but first I have to break in (again) with the current day. THE POND IS FULL! :D It was such a dry, sunny summer (not complaining) that our poor little Buddha was sitting on a mesa instead of an island. Now I finally have photos of Buddha Island, so of course I must share/brag.

Here's the long view. Buddha is the tiny speck in the back, flanked by two young bamboo seedlings. Absolutely no color enhancement; it really is that green here in November.

Image

Closeup:

Image

There's a hooded merganser floating behind the back side of the island. He declined to be photographed.

Farm_or
Posts: 412
Joined: Thu Nov 10, 2016 8:57 am
Contact:

Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by Farm_or »

Thanks for sharing. Looks like a green oasis piece of paradise

George the original one
Posts: 5369
Joined: Wed Jul 28, 2010 3:28 am
Location: Wettest corner of Orygun

Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by George the original one »

If I posted a picture of our water feature today, there'd be a salmon carcass in it...

halfmoon
Posts: 712
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2016 10:19 pm

Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by halfmoon »

Farm_or wrote:
Sat Nov 18, 2017 7:39 am
Thanks for sharing. Looks like a green oasis piece of paradise
It's certainly an oasis in our eyes. People are odd, though...or maybe it's just us. :shock: We loved this property and its lush green climate for most of the first 12 years we lived here, and then we slowly began to dislike the damp, overgrown ambience. Eastern WA looked so open and clean and blessedly dry. Dry = dusty, but that realization came later.

When we moved back here to Western WA, it was strictly temporary. As soon as we could fix up and sell this house, we were getting out of the jungle. Then time passed, and we began to appreciate the beauty again. Trees we'd planted were getting big, our fruit and walnut orchards were producing, and the summer weather even improved (thank you, global warming). Now we're more in love with our paradise than ever before. Eastern WA is still beautiful, but this is much more supportive of life.

And easier. With internet. ;)

halfmoon
Posts: 712
Joined: Mon Nov 07, 2016 10:19 pm

Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by halfmoon »

George the original one wrote:
Sat Nov 18, 2017 3:34 pm
If I posted a picture of our water feature today, there'd be a salmon carcass in it...
Do tell. Is that because your water feature is a river? Lucky you, if so!

George the original one
Posts: 5369
Joined: Wed Jul 28, 2010 3:28 am
Location: Wettest corner of Orygun

Re: Halfmoon's journal

Post by George the original one »

halfmoon wrote:
Sat Nov 18, 2017 5:10 pm
Do tell. Is that because your water feature is a river? Lucky you, if so!
Necanicum River, which is a glorified creek. Here's a picture from last February:
Image

Post Reply